Monday, August 1, 2011

Brown Lawns

Lawns are brown from coast to coast but especially so across the midwest, the heart of the U.S. Corn Belt. This spells less corn and other crops this year and less food and potentially higher food prices.

Some people haven't mowed for weeks yet a little is still going on around here, mainly to cut down the weeds in the lawny like crabgrass and those pesky Buckhorn Plantains that adorn our lawn, especially around the barns and bins.

Tom Graham asked about Operation Stripe on Crop Talk this morning and I replied because I recognized that name I coined back in the 90's when I had my own HyMark website and web designed Tim Reinhart used two spinning barber poles to highlight the article.

I am sure I wrote about this in an early blog but wouldn't you know I couldn't find it. I even did a google search and a search on NAT but didn't find what I was looking for. The old website page went back to the mid 90's and isn't on the web anymore.

Operation Stripe means to stripe your fields with two dissimilar hybrids within 4 days maturity of each other. I used to stripe old Bird Hybrids B-84 and B-82 with great success. The two planted together in the same planter swipe would make 10 to 20 bushels more corn than either hybrid planted alone.

This synergy was something grandpa used before and during the evolution of hybrid corn in the 30's and we did it on the farm as long as I can remember. USDA and SDSU and others did the experiment and reported an average 7% more corn yield with striping two hybrids.

Some farmers never liked having two different corns in the same pass but some did. Many landlords prefer one very even, same colored corn in their tenant's fields. There is still much of it around here and one hybrid will usually take the heat better than the other and makes you wonder why you didn't plant the better hybrid.

The answer is you didn't know which would be best when you plant but you knew there would be better pollination and a synergistic effect with two dissimilar hybrids and they would show regardless of weather. That's the reason for using Operation Stripe.

The big news is the dry weather as it looks like we may break the 1901 record of 17 straight days of 90 degrees plus in the Cincinnati area. With no rain that means brown lawns and when you don't have to mow, remember your food supply is suffering too.

The food in the grocery store or restaurant had its start in a field somewhere and its hot and dry there and I mean it is hot.



  1. I think it's a shame that with all the grey water that we have in this nation that there's no way to use it to water crops (or lawns).

  2. You would think we would have come up with something by now, wouldn't you Gorges? I guess we are not desperate enough yet?