There is a wire, ear-corn crib in our pasture that I drive by at least a dozen times a week. Today I noticed that is was empty, and has been empty for the last 25 years. The old ear-corn crib is not the only empty bin on our farm. Three useable bins (the old wire ear-corn bin is a permanent bird roost) on our farm are unused as harvest 2012 is complete.
The unused space would have held the 30% loss in corn yield, and the 15% loss in soybean yield due to the drought. An unused bin is not all bad since I hope to refurbish/update one of the bins this winter.
The drought is not over. Our cover crop of spring wheat and turnips was planted in September. Yes, I planted spring wheat in September. The seed came from an overloaded rail car and was planted for grazing in late fall.
The natural water source has not been replenished by fall rains to supply enough water for the cows to graze the wheat I have planted. So in a few days, I will set up a water tank and haul water from town so we can utilize the wheat seedlings.
The lime we have stockpiled will get spread on the fields next week, and the area where the lime was piled should be an excellent place to set up a water tank. Spreading lime to adjust the pH of soil has a very high rate of return. The local rock quarry cannot supply enough lime to meet demand during the fall. Our lime has been piled since early September when we harvested corn silage.
I am amazed at how well wheat grows in this area. Wheat does not yield very well but it grows great. The green stripes in my corn stalks are volunteer wheat lost out of the back of my combine in July 2011. The wheat survived two herbicide applications in late 2011 when soybeans were grown. The wheat also survived grazing last winter. In 2012, the volunteer wheat survived another herbicide application, competing with a corn crop four times as tall as wheat, and it survived a drought!