Watertown, SD, planting went quickly
WATERTOWN, S.D. -- Turning 50 this month, Michael Barrett says things so far are looking good in his corner of Agweek country, where he tends his corn and soybean crops and operates a hay grinding business.
WATERTOWN, S.D. - Turning 50 this month, Michael Barrett says things so far are looking good in his corner of Agweek country, where he tends his corn and soybean crops and operates a hay grinding business.
"We had a nice spring, it was drier than normal early. We got an early start with a little cold weather and moisture delays but everything went in fast," Barrett says. They started planting April 25-27 and went for 15 days straight.
"No rain delays other than a small shower for an hour or two," he says. "That's unusual. We're adequate for moisture - not abundant - but it looks good right now."
The corn is all emerged and most of the soybeans have popped through.
"It came up nice and green but turned a little yellow with the cold, wet weather," Barrett says. "I think lack of sunlight is a factor. We're not able to stay green if we don't have sunlight."
The majority of Barrett's farming is within five miles of home. His locale last year was on the edge of moisture problems, with a dry June and July, but with crop-saving rains, the crop turned out well - corn averaging 170 bushels per acre and soybeans at 45 bushels.
"For this neighborhood, that's pretty good," though commodity prices could improve anytime, he says.
Late May and early June are the weeks for maintaining minimum-maintenance roads and applying post-emergence corn herbicide.
"Weed pressure isn't real high just now. They're coming. They'll be there," Barrett says, adding, "We'll be going steady through July - spraying continuously."
Most of his hay grinding customers were just getting the cattle out the last week of May as they completed their planting. "The grass was a little dry earlier and after the rain now it's really coming," Barrett says. Most of the producers had a good calving season, he says, mostly free of mud and cold weather.
Barrett acknowledges that crop budgets are difficult, but he can't let that get him down.
"We're hoping for a bountiful crop again because we need the volume to make up for the price being low," Barrett says. "Eternal optimism: that's all you can do when you're farming."