Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weather Worries

This past week has seen record breaking heat for us. I am not going to lie, watching the weather is the most frustrating part of farming and ranching. It is the one thing that we have absolutely no control over and it is the one thing that affects our livelihood more than all other factors. My wise old Father continually tells me that worrying about the weather won't do anything but give me ulcers.

I know he is right, but that doesn't keep me from watching as many different weather forecasts as possible and stewing over each rain chance. Even then it is not always about rain. Right now we are in a period of extreme heat, this comes right as the corn is tasseling. Heat hurts the pollination of the corn and therefore reduces our yields. Even the irrigated corn is hurting because, no amount of water can cool off the plant.

New technology is on the horizon that will help eliminate this problem or at least lessen its effects. This will allow for a steadier income for us, as farmers, and a more stable food supply for everyone else. That is why it is hard for me to understand why non-ag people oppose new ag technology. But that is a topic for another blog.

As farmers, we watch as cool temperatures stunt our crops and too much rain drown them out in the spring. My fellow farmers watch as rivers rise and flood their land. Then we stand by helplessly as drought and heat take their toll or wind and hail level the crops all together. Sure we have crop insurance, but in many cases it only covers our fixed costs and those fixed costs do not include our living expenses.

So am I wanting your sympathy. No, this is the career path I chose and I knew the unpredictable weather was part of the deal. Rather I share this with you so that you understand that no matter how good we are at planting and caring for the crop, or how shrewd we are at marketing the crop there is much that is out of our control.

I also share this with you because even with all of the heart break of losing a crop to drought or flood, to heat or hail, I wouldn't want to live any other way. I take pride in the land I live on and the crop I grow. Even with one eye on the horizon and one on the radar screen and my fingers crossed hoping for rain and cooler temps. I am still a proud producer of the food we all need.


  1. I feel your pain, but mine isn't with food crops. We've been baking in 100 degree temps and less than an inch of rain since Memorial Day. The grass in pastures has come to a standstill and have even fed a few bales of hay and protein supplements. It's rought. We baled a field this week that should make 15-20 rolls, only to make 3. But hay is gonna be so short, every bit may be needed. Guess we'll have to hold out and see what's in store. Chin up!
    Ryan Goodman

  2. I've been busy and have missed your blog lately - as usual you do a great job.

    We were behind by 6 weeks planting corn this year, but it seems God has made up the difference and it is looking fairly good considering its late start.

    We've been having too much rain here. We had a 70 acre feild we had to chop back into the feild because it was underwater after mown. So it seems as farmers we are tossed to and fro by how the wind blows or the rain falls, but like you we choose it and the blessings far out weigh the problems.

    Thanks for helping to show everyone what it takes to feed the world.