News: Ground Work
Farm: Kevin grows soybeans and corn on his farm in Valley Springs, South Dakota. He and his wife, Jannell, have six children. Kevin has been on the South Dakota Soybean Council for eleven years and both the ASA and USSEC boards for two years.
I have experienced an abundance of rain at my farm this week, and I’m currently waiting to get back out in my fields. I hope to finish planting corn in the next couple of weeks so I can start planting soybeans by mid-May.
With the amount of rain we have received here in South Dakota, I will be happy to get back in the fields and finish planting corn so I can move on to soybeans. The great thing about the technology we have these days is with GPS systems, farmers can plant both day and night. So, as soon as it quits raining I will be able to get into the fields and put some acres under the planter. That’s one of the great efficiencies we have in the U.S. With big equipment, along with the willingness to go after it and get things done, farmers can get a lot more accomplished in a short period of time.
I want our international customers of soy to know that these weather delays may look potentially serious to the marketplace, but in reality, U.S. soybean farmers will be ready to finish planting as soon as weather permits. We are looking forward to providing them another great harvest of U.S. soybeans. We know that our export markets are critical markets and we are working hard to improve our transportation process more and more all of the time, and we are happy about that.
Farm: Dwain and his wife, Melba, own Ford Farms and M&D Seed Company in Kinmundy, Illinois, where they produce and market soybeans, corn and wheat. Their family includes son, Shannon; his wife, Misty; son, Ryan; his wife, Carrie; and four grandchildren.
Some locations are planting corn right now and fertilizer is being applied. The soybean grounds are being sprayed, too, and will soon be ready for planting. I heard from one farmer in Southern Illinois who might plant beans this week, but that depends on the weather, which is our main challenge right now.
With rain and cold temperatures in the forecast, we’re not planting yet. Cold weather slows the growing time for germination and growth of the seed. Another challenge is that some of the fields that weren’t sprayed for weeds last fall are beginning to look fairly weedy, so farmers in my area are trying to get those fields sprayed. We’ve also applied nitrogen on our wheat and will soon be doing disease control application, but right now our main concentration is getting corn and soybeans planted.
This year’s soybean seed supply looks good, and if planting moves forward as anticipated, we should have a quality soybean crop, dependent on weather in the future months. U.S. soybean farmers are very sustainable and extremely conscious in the way they grow their crop, using the least amount of chemicals and fertilizer applications necessary. We want to ensure our international customers are provided with the highest quality and safest soybeans available on the market.
I look forward to traveling to Brazil in June with USSEC Chairman Randy Mann to look at the country’s infrastructure. Back in 1991, I did my graduate thesis in Brazil studying soybean production and the infrastructure.
Farm: John grows soybeans and corn and raises 10,000 hogs on his farm south of Keota. He and his wife of 41 years, Deanna, have two daughters and one son.
We started planting corn on Tuesday, and the ground was very mellow and unsettled. My goal for this week was to get one farm planted before the rain came. I was really surprised that we didn’t have as much rain as we had been having. After a cold spring with ground temps that didn’t allow us to get in the field until later than usual, I think the most important decision I made this week was to start planting. I’m glad that the rain held off long enough for us to do that.
We thought about sustainability and made management decisions that make our farm a little greener. We’re using GMO seed, and that decreases our use of chemicals and reduces trips across the fields, which both decrease our carbon footprint. I want my international customers to know that their product is being sustainably planted so they’ll have food for themselves and grain to feed their livestock.
Farm: Richard farms 400 acres of soybeans annually with his wife, Donna, and nephew, Christopher. In addition, he produces 400 acres of corn, 250 acres of wheat, 100 acres of barley, 200 acres of vegetables, 250 acres of hay and raises 150 head of beef cattle. Richard is treasurer of the ASA.
Rain on Tuesday forced us inside to catch up on some much-needed equipment maintenance. We always have the typical challenges of equipment breakdowns – no matter how good of a job you do of going over it; you’re always going to have some type of a breakdown.
One management decision we’ve made this week is to interseed a perennial grass mixture for hay into a field that had been planted with a winter forage crop. (To “interseed” means to plant a different type of seed into an already planted field.) We didn’t have a very good stand in that field after this harsh winter. That field originally would have been intended for just a single-cut harvest of hay, but now by interseeding the perennial mix into it, that field will be in grass hay for the next 3-4 years.
We’ve put in our planting of peas since we grow vegetable crops in addition to the green crops, and now we’re spreading fertilizer, which is poultry manure, and getting it incorporated into the soil. Our goals for the week would be to get the corn planter ready and to get close to having all of our poultry litter spread and incorporated.
The utilization of poultry manure litter as our primary source of fertilizer is a very sustainable farming practice because we’re using an organic source of nutrients that binds itself more closely to soil particles for a slow release of nitrogen, which helps to improve our water quality and adds organic matter to the soil.
As I look ahead to planting, I want to tell our international customers that we are certainly doing the best we can to make the plans and preparations to produce another bountiful harvest of soybeans for them.
Farm: Annie grows corn, soybeans, wheat and rye and raises beef cattle with her brother, two sons and niece in Aliceville, Alabama. They practice extensive use of cover crops to improve the overall soil health. She and her husband, Ed, have five children, Rachel, Seth, Jesse, Mary and Martha, and five grandchildren. This is Annie’s third year as a USB director.
Due to the amount of rain we have received this week, unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be able to do anything in the fields. We have planted around a quarter of our corn so far, but we had hoped to have it all planted in March. We should have started planting our soybeans by now, but we are not close to doing that yet since the ground is just not dry enough. Every four or five days, it rains again. Each time, it dries out quickly, but then we get hit by lots more rain. This planting season is beginning a lot like last year.
I want international customers of U.S. soy to know that, to have optimum yield, we will have to get planted soon. The current weather pattern could affect the yield of soybeans grown in the Southeast. We will have to get our corn planted first, and then shift to beans after that.
Farm: John grows corn and soybeans and raises 10,000 hogs on his farm south of Keota. He and his wife of 41 years, Deanna, have two daughters and one son.
John Heisdorffer, ASA director from southeast Iowa has had a busy week. After finishing anhydrous early in the week, he is now spreading manure and hoping for rain and warmer temperatures. John is thinking he’ll start planting in about ten days if ground temperatures increase.
In southeast Iowa, we are having a dry spring. I’ve hauled livestock nutrients for many years, and this year’s dry weather has produced some of the best conditions for nutrient application, a sustainable practice. At the same time, we do need some rain and warmer weather. Cold temperatures are a big challenge for us now because even though we probably have enough moisture in the ground to plant, the ground is way too cold for anything to germinate.
Despite the dry spell we are experiencing, I want our international soy customers to know that it’s typically August rains that make the beans. We had a good August last year, and will hope for another good summer this year.
Photo caption: (Photo attached) Ready to Work! This spring has brought ideal conditions for nutrient application at John Heisdorffer’s Keota, Iowa, farm. Heisdorffer has applied anhydrous and nutrients this week as he waits for Mother Nature to cooperate so he can start planting.
Farm: Jimmy raises soybeans, corn and wheat in Hernando, Mississippi. He and his wife, Dinah, have two children, Emily and Russ. This is Jimmy’s sixth year as a USB director and his second year as the Communications Target Area Coordinator. In addition, Jimmy is a director on the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, a member of the USSEC board and a Farm Bureau member. He has a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University.
April 7, 2014—This week we spoke with Jimmy Sneed, USB director from northern Mississippi. After a busy week last week, he is now patiently waiting for the rain to stop so he can start his planting for the year. Jimmy hopes to start planting soybeans by late April.
We have received an abundance of rain in the last few days here in Mississippi and more is forecasted for this week. Right now, our challenge is being patient as we wait for a couple of dry days so we can get into the fields and start planting. We use no-till practices, so as soon as we have some dryer weather we will also be applying burn-down applications in the soybean fields in preparation for planting.
As we gear up for the 2014 growing season, I want international buyers of U.S. soy to know that U.S. soybean farmers are doing their best to provide them with a reliable source of quality soybeans in the most sustainable way possible.