Long time no see, friends! We’ve had a wild, albeit unusual, month – especially when it pertains to the weather. Popping in to give you a look into what our life has consisted of the last several weeks with spring planting!
April was an unusually cold and wet month for us here in south central Minnesota. Due to the amount of rainfall we received, the start of spring planting continued to be pushed back. In the first couple weeks of May, we had additional rainfall and severe weather. (I spent an hour in our bathtub one evening while I was home by myself due to a tornado warning and the fact that we don’t have a basement in our house… Don’t need to experience that ever again!) Luckily we did not experience any damage from tornados, hail, or strong winds. But, 3+ inches of rain takes awhile to dry out in the fields.
Fast forward to the middle of May, we were able to start planting! While conditions were not perfectly ideal, we felt that we needed to get going. We’ve experienced a few rain delays here and there but are roughly 85-90% done planting corn. It is much later than we would like to be planting corn, but we have to take what Mother Nature gives us, so this is what we’re dealing with this year. The later farmers plant corn in May, particularly in our area of the country, the higher risk we face of decreased yields (essentially yields are how much crop a plant produces that we can harvest) because it creates a shorter growing season.
We are hoping to possibly finish planting corn before Memorial Day, so praying that the ground is dry enough after our brief rain yesterday that Jacob and Ben can get after it tomorrow! Once we finish corn, we will move into planting soybeans. Soybeans can be planted a bit later in May, and even into the first part of June, as they have a shorter maturity range.
In addition to planting corn, we have been able to spray some of our cover crop down as well as apply pre-emerge to the corn that we have planted. Luckily our sprayer can carry on wet ground more easily compared to the planter because it is a lighter machine. When spraying our cover crop down, we terminate the cover by killing it. This allows for the nitrogen in the cover to go back into the ground for the corn seedlings to uptake when starting to germinate. By killing the cover, it allows the cash crop (corn and soybeans) to have more access to nutrients and water in the soil that the cover would otherwise have utilized. Terminated cover crops also serve as a weed suppressant, meaning we don’t have to spray weeds dead throughout the growing season!
Applying pre-emergent herbicides to planted corn also helps deliver long lasting, residual weed control. This takes place on our conventionally tilled ground that is utilized in our crop share partnership with another local farmer. Profitable crop production starts with good weed control, so having an excellent spring “burndown” (or spraying) program provides effective weed control to assist with planting and decrease the weed seedbank throughout the growing season. Think of it like spraying your lawn for dandelions or other annoying weeds – you don’t want them as much as we don’t want them growing in our crop fields! 🙂
Since the guys have been busy planting and spraying, they require extra nutrients and fuel to keep going during those long days. Thus, farm wife field deliveries are back in business for planting! I haven’t gotten the chance to take supper to the field every single night, as we’ve had some weather and equipment delays that bring our farmers home for supper instead. But below are a few of the meals I have made and delivered over the last week! I’ve linked any corresponding recipes in the descriptions for easy access.
Grilled bacon + cheddar brats started off last weekend – served with baked beans, coleslaw, chips, and a of couple cookies for good measure. Next was a classic of Tator Tot Hotdish! I served this with crescent rolls, strawberries, and a slice of double chocolate cheesecake (it was from a box. No shame here!)
When meal planning earlier in the week, I realized I had some pre-made taco meat in the freezer and leftover walking taco bags from Costco. I had all of the other fixings for tacos in the fridge, so walking tacos it was! I just made a super simple side of Spanish rice and threw in an applesauce cup for something sweet. These were a hit with Jacob and Ben, and I made a note to use these during fall harvest too – so easy!
Lastly, tonight I made a Country Egg Bake with sausage. I served this with another round of fresh fruit, and quickly mixed together these Chocolate Chip Scones over my lunch break while working from home today and called it good! I’m excited to have egg bake and scones now for breakfast the next few days. 😉
During spring planting, everything is a little bit slower paced compared to fall harvest. In this season, I usually only get to feed 2-3 people – my husband, Jacob, my brother-in-law, Ben, and our crop sharing partner, Jay. In the fall, I feed anywhere from 6-8 people depending on how many guys we have trucking grain. The fall is also busy and there are people at multiple sites that I deliver to, but either way I love it! Feeding the farmers who feed the world is a pretty important job to me.
Wishing everyone a blessed Memorial Day weekend. We are grateful to live in the land of the free, because of the brave.
Rooted in ag and led by faith,