Temperatures hit a humid, 98 degrees this week and you know what that means: it’s baling season. I don’t know why, but invariably, it’s miserably hot whenever it’s time to bale. While my daughter and I bunker down in the nice, air conditioned house during the sultry afternoons, many farmers — my father-in-law and husband included — are in the heat, cutting and baling hay.
Although the temperatures feel right, the baling season is a little early this year. The mild winter and wet, warm spring made for an early first cutting and, with continued moisture, we anticipate more cuttings throughout the summer than previous years. Our alfalfa was ready in early June and now the ditches are lush with headed-out, mature grass. Baling is hard, dangerous work; farmers earn every bale they make.
As with baling, the growing season also started earlier than normal this year. “Adequate to excessive rainfall in many areas of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa during May, along with warmer than normal temperatures, have provided optimal growing conditions for crop development,” said Kent Thiesse, farm management analyst and vice president of MinnStar Bank. “Most corn in the region will exceed ‘shoulder-high’ by July Fourth, with some corn tasseling and pollinating by that date, which is well ahead of normal, and far ahead of corn development a year ago.”
As long as we continue to get some moisture along with the high temps, this is corn-growing weather. While nothing beats staying cool on these hot summer days, it’s nice to know we’re in for a good crop.