We definitely have had our share of rain and cool temperatures this spring. As I drive around the countryside crop development is approximately two weeks behind. Everything in this area looks pretty good but as you get west of 35 there is nothing but potholes of water and the crops look like they are being starved of nutrients.
As a sustainable farmer we practice many different methods that we adapt to with different weather conditions. We do a lot of side dressing during the course of the year which pays off in wet years because you are spoon feeding the plant and the fertilizer doesn’t get a chance to leach out. Yes that means we are going thru our fields more times applying fertilizer but it is worth the effort!
Many farmers nowadays apply the majority of the fertilizer before they plant the crop and then they wonder why their crops look so weak when it comes time to fertilize. Yes, they do put stabilizers in the fertilizer but I have yet to see that much benefit from them when it is this wet. With all the drain tile that is laid in the fields we get too much runoff in the soil, and then they wonder why the nitrate levels in the ground are so high and our lakes and streams are filled with algae. Oh by the way, this message goes out to all homeowners as well! Groundwater pollution can be curbed by every single person whether it be by a farmer or a homeowner.
Wet ground with high humidity also brings on more disease pressure. This being said, more fungicides have to be applied but on the flip side less pesticides are being applied because the rainfall tends to wash off more of the egg masses that are laid on the crop; therefore the insect never has a chance to develop and survive. We have plenty of beneficial insects that are flying around this time of year and those little critters are able to keep up with the feeding to also help keep the bug pressure down.
Every year is different and this year is no different. In order to bring people safe, delicious products we modify, change and adapt the best way we know how. Enjoy summer and rest assured we the FARMERS will make sure you have enough to EAT!