Weather Forecast

Close

opinion

Snow covered fields south of Lakota, N.D. (Mark Huso/Special to Agweek)

Will March Madness become May Madness?

It's March, and rather than the snow starting to recede, there seems to be continuous chances of snow in the forecast.

But what a difference a day makes. On the first day above freezing in over 60 days and it felt like a fantastic heat wave. The snow was melting and the streets in Lakota, N.D., are slushy and it shows the power of the sun (and lack thereof) is truly all the difference.

I'm hopeful the last half of March will start to raise optimism and the thaw can begin as we look for April to turn up the pace toward the planting date even more.

Doing my job today was different. With the sun bright and warmer temperatures, the farmers I sat down with had the same smile on their face that I did. The smile that says spring is on the way and let's get back to work.

My area certainly has more snow than previous years. As I look back a year ago on my phone, the fields were 50 percent soil surface and the season appears much closer than it does in 2019. With chances of more snow coming, March Madness will no longer be a basketball narrative and that madness would likely push our planting start date into May. Farmers today seem to be ready for anything though and while Mother Nature will decide the day, farmers and their teams will be prepared for the start.

Having those farmers prepared is much of the madness that Huso Crop Consulting is currently busy with. My team member and I can often be found now in front of a computer. Either at one of our farmers' shops or kitchen tables, or in my own corner office we are preparing.

Cropping plans are becoming more firm. Fertilizer recommendations and chemical plans are being decided and put into place. Scouting protocols and books will be designed for our summer staff.

Then soon we, like the farmers will start getting our equipment ready as it warms up. Farmers have been busy hauling grain recently as they were certainly delayed during most of January and February with tough weather conditions. Once hauling gets caught up, many of them will be busy getting their equipment prepared for the upcoming planting season.

Two questions often received this time of year are, "What's everyone going to plant?" and "When are we going to get into the field?" I often reply with, "Well they're going to plant something" and "As soon as we're able."

Commodity prices still aren't fun to look at and fertilizer prices don't appear to be softening so that makes creating a crop plan a little less enjoyable as there are certainly changes that can happen in the next six weeks.

Farmers with crop rotations that are successfully established won't deviate much from that traditional, profitable, and in a tense year maybe "comfortable" is the best way to describe some plans. In an area of the state where many crops are grown we may see even more madness and diversity in 2019, but will likely have to wait until the tractors hit the field. Talk to you again in April.

randomness