Farm Industry News Blog

Crops off to good start while dry weather persists

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The crops are off to a good start despite the dry weather.

Chopping rye that is 6½ ft. tall is the project for tomorrow. Growing the rye was fun because it gave us a green crop to look at all winter since we had no snow. By early March, the rye was green as the Imperial Place gardens in July. Today, it is as tall as I am until we mow it. Tomorrow it will be in our silo fermenting into silage and by Monday a soybean crop will have been planted into the rye stubble. 

Three people have noticed our rye crop and the benefit of lowering soil erosion by having a crop on the land year-round. These three farmers are considering planting rye on their farms next year. (Note: Kent growing rye as a cover crop is not a new idea. Rye used as forage was a common practice 50+ years ago. Kent just dusted off on old idea many had forgot about.)

Insects and how to control them seem to be on farmers’ minds lately even though no insects are currently causing problems. Many farmers have been getting sugar from my feed sugar inventory in anticipation of a heavy infestation of crop-eating bugs in 2012. Spraying sugar onto growing crops kills/repels many insect species (the science of how and why it works is not well understood). The cost of spraying sugar is 10 cents an acre and the application can be made when applying herbicides. 

I have sprayed sugar on my soybeans for three years. I cannot prove that the sugar application boosts yields, but some trials in Indiana show a 1.7 bu./acre increase, which is not noticeable at harvest.

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The Farm Industry News Blog features commentary from Willie Vogt, Jodie Wehrspann, Kathy Huting, Lynn Grooms, Daryl Bridenbaugh and Jeff Ryan.

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