These Times Try Farmers' Souls

Nor' east Thinkin'

Spring sprang with a roar . . . roaring water, that is

Published on: April 29, 2011

You may be reading this out of pure boredom, waiting until Mother Nature finally gives you a break in her spring monsoon. Much more than usual is riding on the outcome of this year's crops.

You can almost taste the sweetness of selling corn at $7-plus – unimaginable even 8 months ago. But each day of field work delay from here to mid-May will slowly begin taking away from returns on those last-planted acres.

If you're a milk or beef producer, you're in an even tighter time squeeze. You're faced with getting your corn silage crop in the ground before yield penalties begin to mount. And with spring's deluge, first-cutting alfalfa, plus ryelage and barlage are growing and maturing like weeds. They, too, demand to be harvested during the early days of corn planting.

Come May 1, pressure decisions rise. Do you first plant corn worth more than its weight in gold or catch the fast-closing silage quality window for "chop chop" that makes "milk milk"?

The reasoning behind your decision may need to be different than your neighbor's. Just keep in mind that corn planting has a little wider window to work with, and that maximum forage feed quality is what keeps your cows in business.

In closing, I have two fast-growing concerns: It's no secret that weeds are already having a "hay day". This is not a season for cutting rates on pesticides. We told you why on page 11 of April's issue. And, this spring is likely to be a real test of your pesticide's rain-fast guarantee and performance.

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