View From the Cab

Sweatshirt Weather in Iowa But Warmer Temps in Oklahoma

Richard Oswald
By  Richard Oswald , DTN Special Correspondent
Zack Rendel of Miami, Oklahoma, (left) and Brent and Lisa Judisch of Cedar Falls, Iowa, are this year's featured DTN View From the Cab farmers. (Courtesy photo of Zack Rendel; DTN photo of Brent and Lisa Judisch by Pamela Smith)

LANGDON, Mo. (DTN) -- DTN View From the Cab farmers Brent and Lisa Judisch of Cedar Falls, Iowa, live in a really cool place. It was especially so last week. "Boy, we're really cool right now. We went to Sturgis Falls weekend in Cedar Falls. It was sweatshirt weather. Usually everyone is looking for shade. This time everybody was looking for a sunny spot," Brent told DTN late Sunday. "Everyone comes to town for Sturgis Falls. They have four different venues with bands and a parade, a carnival and talent shows."

Last week started out business as usual on Monday and Tuesday. Brent did some spot spraying with a three-point mounted spray rig on the back of a 4020 John Deere while his dad Duane Judisch and partner Harold Burington sprayed fence rows with a handheld wand. Then the weather began to change. Wednesday it rained a half inch. Thursday it rained a full inch. That is when a front passed through the area, dropping daytime highs Friday and Saturday to 70 degrees. Nighttime lows were in the mid-50s. "Today it never got out of the 60s. Actually, the cool weather is kind of good. Corn was growing so fast we might have had a green snap problem. This will slow it down," Brent said.

Brent was able to postemerge spray soybean fields on Saturday, but Sunday was too windy. "Today the wind blew 18 to 20 miles per hour. It was too cool to spray anyway. I'll have 400 acres to spray yet Monday and Tuesday. Today I went out and mowed the road ditches and got those all done," he explained.

Soybean plant development is behind normal this year. Two early-planted fields done in mid-April look great, 10 inches tall with row middles shaded. Later-planted, minimum-till fields worked last fall aren't growing well. Brent told DTN he can't remember a time when his soybeans were so short in late June. He hasn't replanted any of his fields, but neighbors have rented his small four-row replant planter and his air drill to redo some of their own. "The air seeder doesn't destroy what's out there. You can drive at an angle to the rows without hurting much. Beans put in here around Mothers Day have really thin stands. You can go any direction from here and that's kind of the way it is. I would say 1,000 acres of beans got replanted here last week," he said.

There are no problems with corn though. "I would rate our corn very good but way behind. We planted from April 13 to May 25. It's gonna be a pretty-spread-out pollination period." That is true of everything but the fields that were struck by hail. "We have 500 acres with leaf damage. We probably have 110 acres with 40% broken off (by hail). Another 100 acres has 10% to 20% broken off. We had a lot of beans damaged, but you can't tell it because they're so small," he said.

Brent told DTN that hail adjustors are still waiting for plants to recover before assessing the damage.

This year's storm is only the second time Brent and Lisa's crops have been hailed on. A 90-year old neighbor told them this was his first hail storm. In spite of the hail, rainfall across the area has been good with a total 5 inches falling in the last 14 days. Soil tilth is good, root penetration has been excellent and drainage tiles are still running, indicating plenty of moisture from the crop.

This is the kind of pristine Midwestern farm country once immortalized by the movie Field of Dreams, about a heavenly baseball diamond nestled in a green Iowa corn field. In fact, the real thing isn't far away.

"It's just an hour east of us on Highway 20," Brent said.

View From the Cab farmer Zack Rendel of Miami, Oklahoma, was taking time out from vertical tilling when DTN caught up with him late Monday. "I'm actually stuck in the middle of a field waiting for the big tractor to come pull me out. We rutted this wheat field up pretty good. It's all dry except ruts in the terrace channels. The wheels on the VT act like a big anchor (when they fall into a combine rut)," he explained.

It's been a wet spring around Miami where Zack and his family are plowing ahead in an attempt to finish this year's soybean planting. "We have about a 1,000 acres left. We missed a little bit of rain Friday night. We've been going slow. Now that we're on no-till it's going faster," he said.

Zack spent part of Monday and Tuesday removing a plugged exhaust filter on one of the Rendel family's truck tractors. "The filter plugged up and shut it down. I took it to the dealer to clean it. Now I'm waiting for a mechanic to come and clear the (error) codes (out of the computer). Electronics can be a real headache," he said.

Zack serves on the local county fair board. Friday he helped with the Jackpot Swine and Sheep show. Fieldwork took up the rest of the week.

Zack told DTN that soybean planting resumed on Wednesday, with double-crop beans following wheat or canola underway since Sunday. Earlier plans were for Zack to use a tandem pair of 15-foot grain drills to speed up planting. "We decided to hold off and use the big tractor to work ground up with the field cultivator," he said.

Early-planted soybeans are about 4 to 6 inches tall. "They're still kind of short. I've noticed this year they're not growing as quickly as they normally do. Some of our first-planted beans got dinged up by a hard rain (on top of a pre-applied herbicide that was splashed onto plants). They have PPO damage. It sort of blackens and curls up the leaves. They should grow out of it," Zack explained.

Temperatures last week were in the 90s. A frontal passage on Saturday dropped the high to 78. Eighties forecast for this week should help milo "push out heads." Earliest corn has pollinated and ears are blistered. Latest planted fields are tasseling now. 60 acres of a 100-acre field of conventional corn was damaged by glyphosate drift from an aerial applicator working in a neighboring field. Scattered survivors from leftover genetically modified seed corn in the planter left no doubt about the cause. "Every place there was a Roundup Ready corn stalk it looked real good with dead plants all around it," Zack said. "Brent went out and replanted it. We're going to find out how June 20 corn does. There are some guys around here in Kansas who did double-crop corn. As long as you can get past August and September you can do OK," he added.

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Richard Oswald