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.
This week, Field Notes caught up with Jim Raben, who farms in southern Illinois. While progress is moving quickly as possible, he has also had to contend with a wet spring.
“At the present time, we are wet,” said Raben. “We got nearly two inches of rain last Sunday. It rained off and on yesterday, and it is raining as we speak.
“That said, my county is probably nearly 75 percent planted in terms of corn acres. I finished planting corn, but I didn’t plant as many corn acres this year.”
To find out more about how Raben, and many other farmers, shift acres to plant different crops at times, click here.
Dan Erickson, who farms in Minnesota, has seen far slower planting progress at this point.
“In my area, there has been little to no planting going on right now,” he explained. “Some people have been putting down nitrogen, and I know of only a couple guys who planted a few corn acres.
“There isn’t a lot of planting going on with rain coming every few days. The ground temperatures aren’t quite warm enough anyway. We definitely need some warmer, drier weather before we can make progress on planting.”
For more on how Erickson thinks about Earth Day every day, click here.
Finally, Field Notes spoke with Texas farmer Chad Wetzel who, due to the location of his farm, completed planting in early March.
“Most of our corn is probably in the V5 to V6 growth stage,” he said. “We have finished our trips to side dress with nitrogen and about three-quarters of the way through our post-emergence herbicide application.”
To find out more about how the corn crop looks on Wetzel’s farm, 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.