In July, most of Lily Bergman's crops were playing catch-up, but at least they all got in the ground
Given the challenges of the 2022 growing and planting season, overall, the crops look better than Lily Bergman had expected they would.
Editor's note: Ann Bailey will be checking up with Lily Bergman throughout the growing season as part of our Follow a Farmer series.
OSLO, Minn. – At the end of the first week in July, most of Lily Bergman’s grain and row crops looked more typical of late June.
“Everything still looks a little bit behind, given the date on the calendar,” Bergman said July 8. “Usually, we'd see a lot more growth.”
The exception to that is the sugarbeets, which seemed to be catching up. In addition to sugarbeets, Bergman raises soybeans, pinto beans and wheat on the acreage she rents east and south of Oslo.
“We have quite a few fields that are covering the row, which this time of year, you kind of hope for,'' she said. “But the edible beans and soybeans and wheat look more accurate to the planting date than the season."
Bergman, like most farmers across the northern Plains, got a late start planting this year because of cold, wet field conditions. She finished seeding – the first time – June 7. Then, later in the month, gusty winds blew out some of her pinto beans and sugarbeets acres and rain drowned out others.
“We replanted one field of pinto beans,” she said. She also reseeded some sugarbeet acres, though not as many as other farmers in the Oslo area, she noted.
Given the challenges of this planting and growing season, overall, the crops look better than Bergman had expected they would. The soybeans, pinto beans and wheat are a couple of weeks behind in maturity than they would be in a more typical planting season, but the plants are healthy and the fields are weed-free.
“It seems like, as soon as we’re finished planting, we’re spraying, all the way until we’re harvesting beets,” Bergman said. This year, she and her father, James Bergman, started spraying their crops the second week of June.
In early July, she was on the second round of spraying her 500 acres of pinto beans, pulling the H&S sprayer, which covers 132 feet each trip down the field, with a John Deere track tractor. July 8, Bergman was at her farmstead at about 8:45 a.m., refilling the sprayer after emptying it on the field she had started two hours earlier.
It took her about 30 minutes to refill the sprayer, and then she headed out of the farmstead and down the road about a quarter of a mile, where she pulled into an approach, drove into the pinto beans field and lowered the booms on the headland. After making a pass there, Bergman headed to the south side of the field and started spraying.
Bergman typically starts spraying early in the morning, before the wind hits the 12 mph threshold that makes herbicide drifting a concern. Once it gets too windy, she stops and moves to another farm job, such as cultivating, returning to spraying after supper, when the air is calm, and continues until the sun goes down.
She and her dad were about finished cultivating their first round of row crops by the end of the first week of July, and then planned to start the second round. After that, and on rainy days, they planned to finish work on getting spring planting equipment ready to put away and get their combines, trucks and sugarbeet harvester ready for the upcoming season.
All things considered, Bergman is pleased with the way the crops look heading toward harvest and that her planting plans came to fruition.
“We got every acre planted, which is something we weren’t sure it was going to happen,” she said.