A Busy Spring & Wild Summer

Posted: May 2, 2024

This spring has been a challenging one for getting the crops in. We were able to get our very first oat crop planted the first week of April. It was a bit on the damp side but the oats and the red clover cover crop both seem to have germinated well. The warm weather has moved both the oats and wheat along with our early season wheat starting to head out around mid-May.

On the flip side, the frequent rain has made it rather difficult to get the corn crop planted. We were able to work for about a day or two at a time, and even with a high-speed planter it has been slow.

We also had to start our first pass of tillage for our transitional soybean crop while planting corn, since the warm, wet weather really gave the weeds a good start. We will be able to wait to plant our soybeans until we get a second flush of weeds and then be able to take them out with another tillage pass.

Hopefully we can get the last quarter of our corn crop in by the end of May, and then get beans planted right around the first of June.

As crazy busy as this spring has been, our summer looks like it will be just as wild. We will have to take a couple rotary hoe passes in the soybeans after we plant them for weed control, followed by multiple row crop cultivator passes.

We also have a lot of mowing to do in the summer. Our road ditches get mowed as well as all the filter strips that we put in this summer along our field borders and around houses. There is a lot more time spent in a tractor cab when farming organically!

This will be our first year harvesting a crop during the summer, with our wheat ready to harvest in early July and oats ready in late July. Our crew is looking forward to learning how to harvest those crops and it’ll be nice having a third of our crop out of the field before fall!

We have had a busy planting season. Our oat crop (seen in the grain drill above) will be ready to harvest late July.

After the small grains are harvested, we will let the clover grow until just before it flowers, then mow it off. The clover is an important part of both our weed control strategy as well as providing some nitrogen for the following corn crop.

During this time, we also will have some natural fertilizer (manure and compost) spread on top of the clover and then it will be tilled into the soil. This should provide a good start for next year’s corn crop.

We planted a 48-hybrid corn plot this year, including hybrids that we can plant next year for our organic corn.

So, we will spend some time this summer scouting that plot and taking notes on each hybrid so that we can start making decisions for next year.

We are really looking forward to all the new things we get to learn and try as we go through the rest of this spring and into the summer.

Josh Faivre is a third-generation farmer who grows corn and soybeans on his family’s farm in rural DeKalb. He is also a seed dealer.