This week, the National Corn Growers Association kicked off its seventh 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.
As the season begins, Field Notes met a new farmer, Kyle Kirby, who farms in the southwestern part of Missouri. Kirby farms with his father, his brother and a nephew growing corn, soybeans, wheat and cattle.
“We started rolling, putting on anhydrous and doing our tillage passes, in the first part of February,” he explained. “We had great weather for that work. The days were warm, and we hardly had any rain until March 26 or 27. We did begin to plant corn on March 20, the first day acceptable as far as crop insurance goes.
“We were very dry though. We strip tilled here, and the strips were very dry. We were hoping for some rain. So, we planted 250 acres and thought that we would wait. Now, we have had three or four days in a row of rain to replenish our soil moisture. We are just waiting for a dry spell to get back into the fields.”
While he may have gotten a little light rain overnight than he would have liked, the weather has been nearly ideal in his part of the country.
Find out more by clicking here to listen to the full interview.
While planting may just be getting underway in Missouri, it has already finished for Texas farmer Chad Wetzel. A graduate of NCGA and DuPont New Leaders Program, Wetzel farms about 7,000 acres with his father roughly 40 miles north of the Dallas area, close to the Oklahoma border.
“We are all dryland with no irrigation where we farm,” he explained. “Here, we are 100 percent done planting. We finished corn planting two weeks ago and soybeans last week. Conditions were good, so we could plant in a timely manner.
“We traditionally start planting corn on March 1. If the conditions are good enough though, we will plant at the end of February in this area. In general, Texas farmers around us start as early as possible in the hopes that we get our crops to pollination before the Texas summer heat kicks in.”
To listen to the full interview, 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.
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.