Monday, January 20, 2014

Farmer Fred Award March 2013 Runner-Up: Winter Wheat-Little Optimism

Spring did not come easy in 2013. Early on we understood that there was a problem with some of the Winter Wheat crop. In March we did not understand how extensive it would be.
The March 2013 Farmer Fred Award Runner-Up is presented to:
Winter Wheat-Little Optimism
originally published March 13, 2013
This time of year becomes a tedious wait for Spring. We have planned our season, contracted supplies, and prepared as much as we can. Although there is always work to be done in GriggsDakota, we start to think about the season ahead and try to anticipate. That brought to mind the Winter Wheat.
We planted Winter Wheat last Fall. The soil was very dry, after our Summer of little rainfall.  
The wheat emerged and it looked pretty good when growth began as we had just enough moisture for sprouting to occur. 
The field of wheat never really took off, as our moisture on the surface dwindled and the cold weather set in.
Through the Winter, the snow cover has been spotty and thin. 
Much of the significant snow has fallen South of us. 
In our area, the drought lingered through the Winter. 
 Let me be honest. We don't believe that accumulated snow will significantly fight the drought in our climate. Our Winters are extremely cold. There isn't much opportunity for moisture to seep into the frozen ground.
Under this blanket of snow is dormant Winter Wheat. When the snow melts, most of the water will run off the fields and into sloughs, streams and rivers. The sloughs are empty and there is room for water on the land. The snow melt will not, in our area, significantly replenish subsoil moisture. 
The Winter Wheat will get a drink of water, a breath of fresh air, and begin to emerge as a 2013 crop.
 Farmer Fred will be watching very closely as the Winter Wheat resurrects in the weeks ahead. We would like the wheat fields to look like the photo above, which was our Winter Wheat Crop in May of 2012.
It is unlikely our dusty Fall and cold Winter with little snow will result in a lush stand of Winter Wheat in GriggsDakota for the 2013 crop season.
So we are developing Plan B for the Winter Wheat fields. Options include replanting with Spring Wheat or starting over with another crop. 
Nature always holds the Trump card as we travel down the farming trail in GriggsDakota.

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