This is a good fall for getting summer jobs wrapped up around the farm which is a comfort because other than that small consolation it’s turning out to be one of the worst falls Nebraska farmers have ever seen.
Usually as of Oct. 3, most soybean fields have been harvested and the crop is all safely out of the field in sitting in the bin or at the elevator.
If you drove around the country this fall on Oct. 3, you would have seen field upon field of soybeans that a combine hadn’t even touched.
The reason is the same reason you’ll hear for about every woe Nebraskans have suffered in 2019 — too much rain. Just when the crops dried enough and the soil was not muddy, we got a little shower, just enough to require a couple of sunny days to dry things out again.
The guys have had extra time this year to get bins ready, mow around buildings and wash machinery. They keep busy doing odd jobs as they gaze out over golden fields of corn and soybeans that can’t be harvested. It can be a bit stressful.
Then University of Nebraska crop experts add to the harvest stress build up by releasing a statement saying the corn stalks this year are especially weak having been planted late and not having the best growing conditions.
Weak stalks are a concern because the stalk holds up the ear and if you have a terrific wind event or, worse, snow, the stalk won’t be able to support the ear and it falls to the ground.
A combine can scoop up a lot of ears that are low to the ground but not all of them, and so there’s a lot of wasted crops on the ground never to be recovered. The more days that go by without the crops getting harvested, the more chance there is of having some bad weather and lessening crop yields. More stress.
Fortunately, the weather this week is warm and windy, and farmers all over the state are scrambling to get as much crop out of the field as they can.
In talking to ranchers who have been hovering over their hayfields, the rain has been the bane of their existence this year too. You can’t put up hay that’s sitting in 2 feet of water.
So it all started this March when many roads and bridges were washed out. Farmers barely got crops planted this spring because of all the rain.
Due to more torrential rains, many crops have been flooded and lots of those damaged bridges and roads have still not been repaired. 2020 is only a few months off, which is a really good thing because there are a lot of Nebraskans who are ready to say farewell to the trying 2019.