(Posted Fri. Apr 17th, 2015)
The National Corn Growers Association now offers its fifth season of Field Notes, a series that takes readers behind the farm gate to follow the year in the life of American farm families. While these growers come from diverse geographic areas and run unique operations, they share a common love for U.S. agriculture and the basic values that underpin life in farming communities.
Field Notes caught up with Texas farmer Jay Beckhusen, who is located about an hour from Austin. While he was concerned with the short planting window for corn a few weeks ago, he saw unexpected progress prior to the April 15 deadline for corn plantings to be covered by crop insurance in his area.
“After visiting with my neighbors, I think that the corn crop was about 95 percent planted before the deadline,” said Beckhusen. “With the warm temperatures we recently had, the corn emerged from the ground in six or seven days, which is amazing. Even though we planted much later than normal, the crop maturity is not that far behind where it would normally be.”
Reflecting on how farmers got so much done in such a short time, Beckhusen found answers both in the time-honored farming value of hard work and the willingness to embrace new technology.
“Using modern, larger equipment and putting in long hours let us get the crop in so quickly,” he explained. “Thankfully, when it quit raining, we could get into the fields quickly. The warm nights helped the corn emerge so quickly too.”
While the warm nights helped the crop emerge quickly, it also brought on weed pressure and increased the possibility for crop-damaging fungus.
To listen to the full interview, including an explanation of how farmers deal with these issues, click here.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks as Field Notes follows the growers who have opened their farms, families and communities up this year and meet the true faces of modern American agriculture.