What a difference a year makes.
This time last year farmers were trying to decide if they were going to throw the dice and plant in ground that had little or no subsoil moisture.
This year some farmers had to wait to get into the field because it was so wet.
“As far as ground moisture, we’re in a lot better shape than we was last year at this time, really, real good moisture to get off to a good start anyway.”
Ronnie Hoelscher was planting corn the day we talked with him and he says weather and the commodity markets are the two big factors that determine the crop mix he plants every year.
“We’ve got quite a bit of wheat this year. You know it started out terribly dry in the fall so we was, they was predicting another bad drought again so we did switch to a few more acres of wheat and then we also have, we’re going to plant quite a bit of cotton too.”
Hoelscher now uses a 24 row planter that cuts the time it takes to plant by two thirds.
“The tractor we have has auto steer on it, so we just basically turn it around and get it pretty close in this direction and then we’ll, I’ll hit a resume button and then this is automatically line back up. It actually can buy you some time and you don’t have to get in a, start planting just too terribly early, you know when things ain’t just perfect conditions, that you can hold off knowing that you can plant that many acres in that short of a period of time. Me and my brother planted a little over 1700 acres in 3 days.”
We asked about the time line on the corn crop.
“From the time we plant it ‘til it’s coming up we’re looking at probably about 10 days to 2 weeks. It might be a little quicker this year being that the soil’s so warm, and we’re in the first week of March so we’re way ahead of schedule now. Probably sometime in June we should be having tassling at that time when we’ll need some good moisture again, and then harvest would come actually probably end of July, first of August.”
And you’ll find a little optimism among most agricultural producers.
“We’re definitely setting up for a pretty good crop, course we’re a long ways from making it, but if you start out good, hopefully we’ll have a good return at the end.”
I’m Kailey Carey, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.