(Posted Thu. Jul 10th, 2014)
The National Corn Growers Association now offers its fourth 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.
Today, Field Notes caught up with Texas farmer Jay Beckhusen, who farms about an hour from Austin. At the end of June, Beckhusen had hoped to begin harvest around this week. Given recent weather, his plans have been delayed. While his plans have changed, his outlook remains positive.
“At the end of June, we had a rain event that was pretty unusual for this area,” said Beckhusen. “It was great to get all of the water, but it did delay corn harvest another two weeks. As of today, we haven’t hit 100 degrees, which is also unusual for us. It is wonderful for the crops, because it hasn’t been too hot.”
The impact of the weather can be seen in the fields. While harvest may come later this year, Beckhusen expects it will be bountiful.
“Yields look outstanding,” he said. “The cold weather that we had early in the spring might have hurt some yields a bit, but I think that we are going to have some very excellent yields for our area. It is strange that, because of the weather, the stalks are drying down before the ears. It may take longer for those ears to dry, but it will equate to excellent yields and good bushel weights in the end.”
Despite his high yield expectations, Beckhusen does have concerns over the price all of that corn will bring.
“Our biggest concern right now is that the price has dropped pretty steadily,” he explained. “Right now, the local elevators are paying $3.50 to $3.75 per bushel, give or take. That is not a good sign. When corn gets below $4, it starts to hurt. We are going to need these strong yields to break even.”
To listen to the full interview with Beckhusen, 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.