The 'wait and see' period of summer
Summer months are busy, but there still are many moments of waiting in between tasks.
Summer months in agriculture continue to be remarkably busy days in the growing season. However, there also moments of “Wait and See” throughout this time period.
Outside of farming and due to COVID-19, waiting is becoming quite common. We are all waiting to see how schools and universities handle getting kids back to school. Fans are waiting for sports seasons to start again to provide entertainment and distraction from the day to day. Others are simply waiting to get back to work and find the normalcy that is dearly missed.
Those in agriculture understand waiting and find the patience necessary to do the job the right way. In our region we have reached the middle of the growing season. Wheat and barley harvest is around the corner coming up in August but we have to wait and get there. Fungicide applications are being performed on these crops, and as farmers and agronomists both walk out in headed out cereal fields we begin to look at expectations of yield. Estimates are just that, and we wait until the combine starts and tells us the amount that is going to market.
Edible beans and soybeans have likely been finished up with weed control passes, and now farmers are waiting to make the next fungicide application. For edible beans, most farms anticipate a fungicide recommendation as that is a fair indication the crop looks nice and worth protecting as the plants head into the reproductive stage.
Corn farmers are done waiting. In 2019 farmers waited and hoped continuously for warmer weather and we simply didn’t get the growing degree units necessary to complete a corn crop. Although the acres are down now in 2020, the region’s corn fields look great. Most fields were waist high or better before July 4 and looks to be some beneficial growing conditions ahead.
Now is also the time of year when weed resistance issues are noticed. This will be another form of waiting. When weeds survive the herbicide applications sometimes we will let the weed go to seed for collection and sent to a laboratory that will perform resistance testing on different products. Testing takes time, so the agronomist and farmer patiently wait.
“Do we have to spray for aphids yet?” is a question often asked this time of year. Common response is wait and see. Insects have been a steady problem for our area. Grasshoppers, cutworms, thrips, and now armyworms are all problems that have been met with application needs to protect our crops. Soybean aphid is likely next on the radar in the coming weeks and hopefully while we wait we find out another application pass isn’t necessary.
Then, there is the excited part of waiting. When parents get home from a long day of work and the kids have smiles on their faces anxiously waiting to see Mom and Dad. Hopefully, many of you are excitedly waiting for an upcoming fun family weekend before we start to see the combines in the field taking off the first fields of wheat and barley. Enjoy the time!
Mark Huso of Huso Crop Consulting from Lakota, N.D., works with farmers in six North Dakota counties in the production of cereals, canola, corn, edible bean, soybean and sunflowers. He can be reached on Twitter @husocrop or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.