Now is a Great Time to Walk your Fields

This time of the year on the farm is always busy with planting, managing crops, getting supplies, moving tractors from field to field, troubleshooting problems, fixing equipment…..the list goes on and on.  So you certainly get the picture.  Last night a fast moving storm crossed the state, creating havoc on some farms and unfortunately, taking the lives of some of our citizens.  Let’s not get so busy that we don’t pause and remember the preciousness of life and appreciate the value of our families and friends.  And, remember those who lost someone through last night’s tornadoes.

The storm brought some much needed rain across the state which has helped our corn crop and provided some good moisture for those who have land ready for peanuts and cotton.  I encourage you to take the time to stop your truck and walk all your corn fields and look closely.  Check your spacing, plant emergence, stage of growth.  Ask yourself these question, “Am I a happy with the results so far?.  “Could I have done better?.  “Why are these plants much smaller than the rest?”  Pull it up and look at it. Go deeper with your questions. “Was the seed deeper or shallower than the others?”  “Has an insect fed on it?” “Did my starter fertilizer pump quit?” “Am I satisfied with my spray program?”  Or, “Do I have a lot of weeds emerging?’  You can only become a “student of the crop” if you get out and STUDY it.  Find your problems now!  Don’t let them linger if you can do something about it.  Some you can’t.  Here is a recent quote from Dr. Bob Kemerait, UGA plant pathologist: “Now is the perfect time with young corn to look for AND IDENTIFY stunted problems associated with NEMATODES! “   If your crop is growing and nematodes are a problem, its too late.  If you see uneven growth in your fields, check the roots of good plants vs poor plants and look for root pruning from nematodes.  He encourages all corn growers to recognize the problem now so that it can be solved NEXT year.  If you are uncertain, call your local county extension agent for help in identifying the signs of root pruning or any other problems that you might find.

One last thought… If you have a crop growing in some fields and you’re waiting to get another crop in the field and rain has held you up, take the time to go walk over those fields that have something growing.  It may add some time of reflection, of a job well done and the potential for a new year.  Take a deep breath and release the stress of urgency.  If you see some problems that can be solved, then make a note and get it done.  You caught it in time.  Continue walking and remember, you are walking.  You see new life around you. Smile and give thanks.

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