• Tom Bechman

    Ready, Set, Wait…to Plant!

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on March 25, 2013

    They say you can wait a day and the weather in Indiana will change. It's certainly a no brainer that if you wait a whole year the weather will change. Bill Johnson, a weed specialist at Purdue University, says Lafayette had four 80 degree days in March, 2012. There's barely been a half dozen days above 50, if that high, this year. No two years are the same. But that led one Newton County farmer to say recently that 'abnormal is now normal'. In other words, you never know…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Weathermen Need To Go Back to School

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 29, 2012

    Beginning Oct. 20, weathermen began to talk about how the next week would feature Indian summer, a phenomenon that typically occurs in October, and signals the last good stretch of weather before fall and reality take over. There's just one problem. The typical definition of Indian Summer, according to Jim Newman, retired ag climatologist at Purdue University, is a series of days that feature blue skies, a few wispy clouds perhaps, and unseasonable warm temperatures. We got the warm…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Use Lessons From 2012 As You Shoot For Top Yields in 2013

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 22, 2012

    It's unlikely anyone will go into 2013 basing what they do on exactly what happened in 2012. That would be defying the odds. There's a chance that 2013 could be like 2012, but it's about one in 25 or maybe one in 50 or even one in 75. It could happen next year, and it may not happen for another 75 years. What seems like the better strategy to us is to take lessons learned form 2012, add them to lessons learned from every other year that you have raised crops, and proceed down the same path you…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Environment Held All the Aces in Indiana This Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on October 8, 2012

    The more I talk to Hoosiers in different parts of the state, the more it's obvious that whether you had good corn, poor corn or no corn at all basically came down to when it rained, how much it rained and what soil types you had in the field. When you planted and which maturity you planted, both corn and soybeans, made some difference, but the overshadowing factors were rainfall or lack of it, coupled with the soil type supporting the crop. Here are the observations of one farmer. I've heard…

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  • Tom Bechman

    The Drought of '12 Makes Winners and Losers

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on September 3, 2012

    Maybe you got the rains everyone dreamed about and few people received. Perhaps your corn will yield 175 bushels per acre. If you didn't forward contract any of it, you're obviously a winner this year. You have corn, but a large portion of the farmers in the country have less corn than they like. Maybe you still have old corn in the bin. Obviously if you sell it now, and it wasn't already sold on contract, you're a winner. Or maybe you use it to fill a contract that you made for the new crop…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Hoosiers Will Plant A Crop Again Next Year

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on August 20, 2012

    I get the impression there are many people who would like to wave their magic wand over this year's crops and have them disappear. Not everyone, mind you. Some people who caught just the right rains at just the right time will have excellent yields- but they're the exception this time, not the rule. The crop won't disappear, but the day after the combine runs through it, or the day after you mow or disk it down if it's truly worthless, that's the same day you start looking toward next year. If…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Look For Kids To Bring Humor Into a Dismal Day

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 30, 2012

    Farmers at a meeting where the normal county average yield is nearly 150 bushels per acre were asked by the moderator what they thought the county average corn yield would be in 2012. It only took them about a minute to come up with 40 bushels per acre. And no one was itching to disagree or shove it any higher. Ouch! That hurts! Whether it really is that poor or not remains to be seen. The fact that it is sinking in now is that this is a bad year and that crop insurance is all that may pull…

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  • Tom Bechman

    Welcome To The Indiana Dessert

    Hoosier Perspectives

     by Tom Bechman
     on July 9, 2012

    I've just returned from a meeting featuring the vast majority of Purdue University's campus specialists and well over half the Extension ag educators in the state. Jim Mintert, assistant Extension Director, called meeting to make sure everyone was on the same page as far as how bad the drought was in various parts of the state, and what messages Purdue could be telling people that might help them make more informed decisions in bad situations. So while I wouldn't say the day was uplifting, it…

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