Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 20, 2018

Cold temperatures delay planting

By Xiomara Levsen | Apr 03, 2014
April showers fall on area farmland today but the question remains if it will be enough to help crops this coming year.

The colder temperatures are delaying things for farmers who are getting prepared for the spring planting season.
Washington County farmer Lindsay Greiner said he hasn’t been able to do any field work yet because the conditions haven’t been right.
“Compared to last year, no, we’re not behind, but compared to normal years, we are behind,” Greiner said. “Around April 20 is when we like to start planting. Last year, it was May 12 before I did anything.”
Temperatures need to be warmer and drier in order for Greiner to begin working in his fields, he said.
“It’s been a long winter, that’s for sure, and I don’t think winter is done just yet,” Greiner said. “We’re supposed to get more snow tomorrow.”
While Greiner is waiting for the conditions to improve so he can begin preparing his fields he has been working on other things around his farm.
“Most of what we’re doing right now is running our equipment in the shop and making sure the equipment is running OK,” Greiner said.
Greiner said he has planted grass seed in the waterways on his 1,800-acre farm and replaced drainage tiles that have been damaged by rodents.
One thing he has noticed while replacing his drainage tiles is how dry the subsoil is.
“We were digging up the tile like I said before, and when we got below 2 feet it gets pretty dry,” Greiner said.
Parts of Iowa, including Washington County, are listed on the U.S. Drought Monitor map, as still being in a moderate drought, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center. Greiner is concerned about the drier conditions but still is optimistic about his crop yields.
“It’s a concern in the back of your mind, but you can’t control Mother Nature,” he said. “There’s an old wives’ tale that says ‘You plant in the dust and your bins will bust.’ It’s nicer to plant in the drier conditions.”
Once Greiner is ready he’ll plant 900 acres of corn and 900 acres of soybeans on his farm, which is a change compared to last year.
“We’re going to be planting a few more beans than normal, maybe about 5 percent more,” Greiner said. “The bean prices are higher than corn right now, so it kind of works out for us.”
Rob Stout, who farms 1,100 acres in Washington County, has noticed the colder temperatures affecting his cover crop, rye, which is just beginning to turn green.
“It has been a cool spring,” Stout said. “Our rye hasn’t been growing as fast this year, which has delayed things a little bit.”
Usually Stout is killing off the rye to plant soybeans and corn. He doesn’t think the soil temperature is warm enough yet.
“We haven’t had two weeks of 70-degree temperatures yet, which is what we need for the soil to be ready,” Stout said. “Planting the corn will probably be delayed a couple of weeks.”
Stout will plant 550 acres of corn and 550 acres of soybeans this year, which is what he usually does. He said he’s not going to change how he’s doing things this year because the prices have dropped on corn or because the subsoil is drier.
“I always plan on a good year,” Stout said. “I’m not going to change anything because it’s dry.”

Comments (2)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Apr 20, 2014 08:12

“There’s an old wives’ tale that says ‘You plant in the dust and your bins will bust.’ It’s nicer to plant in the drier conditions.”

By Shirley Damsgaard

I spent a goodly part of my childhood on a farm, in Iowa, and everyone around me seemed old! My mother had been nearing forty when I was born, all my aunts and uncles were in their fifties and sixties, and my grandfather was over eighty. (Of course now that I’m of that “certain age”, my views on getting older have changed, but back then, everyone seemed ancient!)

Now what does one have to do with another? Well, because my entire family were farmers and had grown up in a different era than all my little friends’ relations, people in my family appeared to know “stuff” that my friends’ parents didn’t. They knew if the underside of the leaves on a tree were showing, rain was on the way. They knew when the cattle and horses grew heavy coats, fall was coming to an end and it would be an early winter. They knew that one hundred days after a fog, you’d have rain. My elders had spent their youth in a world without central heating, telephones, and before the coming of the rural electric cooperatives, electricity. They didn’t have the weather man telling them when a storm front was moving in, or if snow was expected. And because their livelihood was tied to the land, they paid attention to signs and The Farmer’s Almanac. Yes, folks, I’m talking old wives’ tales, and my family had hundreds of them!!! And most of them seemed to deal with luck, and/or, the weather.

Here are some of my favorites:
Opening an umbrella in the house is bad luck.
If you wean calves in the dark of the moon, they won’t bawl for their mamas.
Never put a hat on a bed.
If your ears burn, someone’s talking about you…if you nose itches, you’ll kiss a fool.
Never light three cigarettes with the same match.
Spilling salt is bad luck and to remove it, you must toss a pinch over your left shoulder.
If it rains on Easter Sunday, it will rain the next seven Sundays in a row.
Carrying a buckeye brings good luck.
Goosebumps mean someone just walked over your grave. (Honestly, as a child—that one never made a lot of sense to me. After all, how could someone step on your grave if you weren’t dead yet??)
It’s bad luck to walk under a ladder.
Potatoes must be planted on Good Friday.

And last, but not least, my favorite and one I truly believe in:
People act strange around the time of a full moon.

Oh, I forgot one. When I was pregnant with my oldest son, I decided to make sauerkraut.(Looking back now—I don’t know why I did it, but it must’ve seemed like a good idea at the time!) I think I put up about thirty jars of the stuff. The next day, I called my mother and proudly related my accomplishment to her. Unfortunately her response was “You know they won’t seal.”

“What?” I replied, thinking of all that hard work going to waste. “Why not?”

“You’re pregnant,” she said, “sauerkraut doesn’t seal for pregnant women.”

Now what the seals on Mason jars had to do with bouncing hormones was beyond me, and I was getting this advice from a woman who thought talking to her houseplants made them grow, but I didn’t argue. A few months later, I discovered that yes, indeed, the seals on at least half the jars had failed! Pregnant or not, I never made sauerkraut again!

So what are some of your favorite old wives’ tales?

Red sunset at night sailor's delight. Red sky in the morning sailors take warning.

If it rains on Monday it will rain throughout most of the week. If it rains on Sunday the rest of the week will be sunny or fair.

If there is a ring around the moon there is a change in weather coming.

If the sunsets clear it will be a clear day the following day. Almost always true.

If birds are gathered on a telephone line there is rain coming or a change in the weather.

Posted by: Glen Peiffer | Apr 15, 2014 02:39

The Other Story From Rural Western America

Good news: the U.S. Department of Agriculture has published research indicating that there are lots of un-filled jobs and career opportunities in the farming industry. Bad news: the Obama Administration has been cannibalizing the nation’s farmers for the bigger part of the last six years.

First the good news. According to a report at CNBC.Com, the USDA has uncovered some eye-opening statistics about the world of agribusiness. The average age of a farmer in the U.S. is 58, and has been on the rise for the last thirty years. There are now six times more farmers 65 years of age and older than there are farmers 34 years of age and younger.

The USDA fears that the farming industry may be left without adequate workers and expertise within a few short years. But the data also suggest something very positive: there is an entire industry here in the U.S., and a very necessary and essential industry at that, that is full of work and career opportunity for those who are interested and willing to pursue it.

But while the USDA is putting out the good word about job opportunities in farming, other federal government agencies have been undermining and harassing farmers for the past six years. Consider as an example the plight of farms in Central California’s San Joaquin Valley.

The Golden State’s “Central Valley” is a vast, expansive territory that stretches from the northern tip of Los Angeles County , through the center of the state and up to and beyond the state’s capitol city of Sacramento . If today you were to travel north or south through this region, on either “Interstate 5” or state route “99,” you’d see the influence of bad politics in Washington, and expressions of outrage that Central Californians feel toward their federal government.

Despite the fertile soil of the region, it nonetheless would essentially be a desert if it weren’t adequately irrigated. This means that in order for it to remain a top agricultural producer year after year, it needs a lot of water – and this is where Washington has damaged Central California.

Much of the water that would normally be available to these California farmers has been denied them, because of actions taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In issuing what is known as a “biological opinion” back in 2008 (yes, the problem began shortly before President George W Bush left office), this government agency utilized the power of the Endangered Species Act to shut-off water supplies to farmers in order to help save the “delta smelt” – a small fish that the bureaucrats believe is endangered because of too much fresh water in rivers and streams.

With this effort to “save” the delta smelt, tens of billions of gallons of fresh water from the California mountain regions have been diverted away from the valley farmers, and redirected into the Pacific Ocean, all at the hands of Washington bureaucrats. It is a classic and tragic case of radical, out of control environmentalism, and real people and families are having their livelihoods damaged because of it.

California’s water crisis is not “news.” Reports of this looming disaster began to develop in early 2009, and even as far back as September of that year the Wall Street Journal noted that Washington was engaging in a “green war against San Joaquin Valley farmers.” Perhaps most interestingly, Congress has the authority to intervene and override the policies and “opinions” of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but it has refused to take up the matter.

Fast-forward to January of this year. California Governor Jerry Brown declares a “state of emergency,” announcing that the state is experiencing its lowest level of precipitation in its 163 year history.

A month later, President Barack Obama visited Central California for the first time (truly enlightened elites generally don’t make a “stop” in California’s Central Valley, they merely “fly over” it while traveling between the more sophisticated regions of Los Angeles and San Francisco). While in Fresno, the President announced $100 million in livestock-disaster aid, $60 million to support food banks and another $13 million for funding water conservation projects and helping rural communities that could soon run out of drinking water.

Did the President offer to lift the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy of sending fresh water in to the ocean on behalf of the “endangered” delta smelt? Not at all. He did however use the trip as a photo-op to promote his $1 billion “climate resilience” project that he claims will save us from global warming someday.

Natural disasters are often unpredictable, but California’s current drought conditions were made worse with regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. In the winter of 2010 – 2011, the Golden State experienced one of its wettest winters in history – a “once every half-century” season of rain and snow as it was reported. In the spring and summer of 2011 Central Valley farmers sought to capture and store excess run-off water, but the EPA swopped in and forbade it. Thus more of California’s precious and rare natural resource – water – went to waste.

Does America want a government that secures the liberties and interests of its citizens? Or have we grown numb, if not slightly comfortable, with a government that places the interests of bureaucrats and alleged “endangered species” over entire industries, families, and populations?

We chose the insanity and destructiveness of our current government. We can choose more wisely next time, if only we will.


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