Weather has dictated fieldwork with a heavy hand this spring. Timing and luck have made the difference between what these two photos demonstrate. These two fields are three miles apart and while one emerges, the other is forced to race against another round of rain showers headed for the Midwest.
USDA reports 5% of the national corn crop has emerged which is a good start, but the five-year average emergence rate for this date is 28%. That means a lot of seed still needs to sprout, and some are still wrestling with soil conditions, trying to decide to plant corn or apply anhydrous.
A round of snow three weeks ago really threw a wrench into Midwest crop progress, and has left some tillers and white buffaloes -- anhydrous tanks -- on stand-down.
A local grower I spoke to today said he opted for a 103 day variety this year rather than his usual 109 day, and is glad he made the switch. "Hopefully, by next weekend we'll be ok. I got my anhydrous down the other day and I'm not worried if it rains a little," he said.
The range of crop progress is wide in farm country, leaving some farmers with difficult choices to make. But the general attitude among all of the fellas I've talked to is very positive and the soil recharging rains are more important here than the date on the calendar. Time will slip away at some point, but there is a lot of dust in the air this morning, as storm clouds build in the western sky.