(Posted Fri. Jul 27th, 2012)
July 27: The National Corn Growers Association continues the second 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.
This week, Field Notes caught up with Don Rutledge, who farms in Colorado. Facing dry, hot conditions, Don talks about how irrigation is saving his corn crop.
“We have been very lucky to have cool nights, so we haven’t seen any scorching in the fields,” Rutledge explained. “The irrigation has had a chance to soak in and help the plants catch up as the temperature has dipped back into the sixties most nights even though it has gotten up above 100 most days.”
When asked about the importance of irrigation in many parts of the Western Corn Belt, Rutledge clearly explains how irrigation plays a vital role in producing a stable, abundant supply of corn.
“Our area consists mainly of dry land and, without irrigation, we wouldn’t have any crops this year,” he said. “In a really good year, this type of land might yield 60 to 70 bushels per acre without irrigation. In an average year, the yield drops closer to 35 bushels per acre. With irrigation, so long as there is no hail, we can nearly guarantee a crop of 180 to 220 bushels per acre.”
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.