Mother Nature v. Midwest farmers
By Megan Gronau
This year, thanks to Mother Nature, it was very different than the last when it comes to crop season; it seems she took side against the farmers here in the Midwest. The spring brought hope for a normal year with decent weather. Then it rained, rained some more, and continued to rain for days and days. Farmers prayed for the bare minimum, being a two day sunny and windy period to dry everything up in order to plant. But this didn’t seem to help even the small crop farmers, who relied on this yield to keep their farm afloat. A lot of people don’t realize how much farmers rely on their crop yields when it comes to the winter. Less yield means less crops, which means feeding livestock becomes more expensive because an outside food supply is needed.
“The schedules are pushed back this year, compared to previous years,” says 20 year old Will Decker of Balltown, IA, who is continuing his family’s farming legacy. Planting and harvesting seasons have not been the same because most farmers were not able to get in the fields to begin planting until mid to late May. They started as soon as they could begin, but farmers didn’t finish planting until the second or third weekend in June. The ideal planting season begins in late April and is continuous until the planting is done, which usually takes roughly a week or two. The weather has a major impact on how the crops are being harvested as well, and as of right now most fields are still full. With recent cold temperatures and snow fall, it could be a while until all of it is out of the ground.
“We usually chop all our corn and because it was wet this year we couldn’t chop ours when it was ready, so it got dryer than we wanted,” says Amanda and Eric Gaul of Farley, IA. “To us this isn’t ideal because now we will have to add other ingredients in order for it to be suitably enough for the cows to eat. The nutrients in the silage won’t be as good as they would have been if we chopped it when it was ready.”
With the growing season being shortened this year due to more condensation, some farmers are having to stretch out their supplies rather than having a cushion to fall back on like the other years. The corn also has more moisture in it compared to a normal growing season, which calls for an extra drying step before being sold or stored.
Will this year’s wet season affect future yields? Todd Gronau of Durango, IA says no, “because each year is different. Just like how the weather changes year to year and season to season, so does the planting and harvesting season. We try to keep it as normal as possible, but that doesn’t always happen when it is wet and cool weather, which are not ideal growing conditions. Next year could be a normal growing season again. ”
With crop yields varying across the Midwest, we can expect to see a price increase of certain store-bought products since there is an unnatural limited supply.