soybean field

Richard Wilkins, Greenwood, Delaware


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 Wilkins — During the past week and over the holiday, we put up silage hay for the cattle. We also finished planting single-crop soybeans and put herbicide treatment on the corn. We used fungicide and insecticide as a preventative for wheat scab. The population of cereal leaf beetles in our wheat had reached the economic threshold, so we had to apply insecticide to prevent the beetles from becoming a problem. Aphid populations were also at the threshold on our peas, so we had to apply insecticide to that crop, too. I’ve had to be quite the multi-tasker.
Our challenges lately have been weather-related. We’ve had two storm systems that came through since my last update. Fortunately for us, they didn’t cause any damage to our farms and fields, but some of our friends had a tornado touch down on their farm, which caused some damage. Another farmer friend had a pivot irrigation system that blew over. Now, we’re stuck in a weather front that’s keeping us from getting hay dried down. It’s unseasonably cool, too. We’re going to plant string beans as soon as the weather cooperates.
The best management decisions we made this week are certainly all of the ones regarding the application of crop protectant materials after our field inspections showed that the pests and conditions were conducive to development of potential problems. This careful monitoring of the fields and waiting until the population counts reached the economic threshold necessary for crop protectant application is one way we incorporate sustainability. Plus, we used the least-intrusive materials that would handle the problem.
For the remainder of this week and into next week, we plan to get string beans planted and the remainder of the first cutting of hay harvested. We also need to get the combine ready for barley harvest.