The Beat Goes On Despite the Weather

Hoosier Perspectives

Combines, fertilizer spreaders still at work.

Published on: January 11, 2010

Robert Frost penned a poem that remains in my memory yet today. It's one of the few things I remember from high school, academics-wise, at least, and most likely the only poem. The story line goes like this- a woodcutter accidentally cuts himself at work in the forest. He bleeds out and dies. It's a big deal for him, obviously. But for everyone else, except his family and friends, life goes on, just as before.


OK, now you know why I don't write poetry. But there is relevance. Many of you finished the worst harvest season in 35 years sometimes between Thanksgiving weekend and New Year's weekend. It was a nightmare but it's over, except you may be way behind on your other work, including nailing down purchases of inputs and getting winter shop projects underway.


But if you've still got corn in the field, the nightmare continues. It's still a big deal to you. A trip through farm country in Indiana and Illinois a few days ago convinced me that more of you are still battling that monster than many think. The farther north I traveled, the more fields of corn I saw. A friend says he saw five fields still out in a 15-mile stretch of state highway in north-central Indiana last week, and one of them was soybeans! Actually, I saw a field of beans too, although they were doublecrop soybeans.


From DeKalb in Illinois east on Illinois 38 and then east on Illinois 64 to St. Charles, Illinois, fields of corn become more numerous. And that's unusual- DeKalb farmers pride themselves on getting crops in early and out early. It just didn't happen last year, or this year, of whichever year they will remember last season's harvest as finally ending.


One of our Farm Progress market specialists, Bryce Knorr, told a nationwide TV audience this past weekend that there may be as much as half a billion bushels of corn still in the field nationwide. Fran O'Leary, editor of Wisconsin Agriculturalist, says fields of corn still standing are much more noticeable in Wisconsin.


Corn harvest isn't the only thing still happening in the fields. Back home in Indiana, Dan Arnholt was assisting his son, Clint, spread gypsum for farmers last week, despite snow and lousy conditions. Dan had the best job, though. He helped refill Clint's spreader. In the meantime, he could do whatever, including read, sitting inside a warm truck cab.


He even read a column from the January issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer, or at least that's what he says. He read it right there in the field, waiting for his son to come around to be filled up again.


Hey, we don't care when or where you read the magazine or check us out on line, just as long as you do it! Sooner or later last year's lingering nightmare will be over for everyone. Then everyone will have more time to read.


Unless, of course, it's time to plant the next day after the last person finishes harvest or other fall chores. The calendar doesn't stop for anyone, no matter what Mother Nature dishes out. Let's hope for a better conclusion to a frustrating year than that scenario.