Friday, June 15, 2012

No Spatial Rainfall

Most of you know I get my rainfall data from Bill Northcutt's Spatial Rainfall Consulting LLC. I see he has helped others do the same thing for their customers and there is a good article here.

We all are suffering from a lack of rainfall to record right now. It is dry! Better yet, we are in a 10 day dry spell that will really test this crop. The whining and moaning is picking up intensity in coffee shops and ag forums.

There isn't a thing you can do about it unless you have irrigation and that's another 1000 dollars an acre or so most of us cannot justify. So we will talk about the good wheat crop today.

A friend called and said his yield monitor hit 109 bu on Soft Red Winter Wheat and I told him his monitor was broken. It must have got hit by lightning or something. The best thing is that is about what the field averaged as it was just about all that good.

It is the best wheat he has ever raised in his life and I am really happy for him. I think I could have done it if I would have planted a field but I was happy to get everything sowed in rye in November. One patch of wheat would have been fun to play with as no one expected the open winter we had.

I asked him what variety it was because I knew the answer. It came out of his bin. It was two year old certified seed. He couldn't find cheaper seed than that and in his case he probably couldn't have bought any better seed, either. That's the way we all did it before Certified Seed and the plant variety protection laws have discouraged us from saving anything now.

One neighbor made only a couple of rounds on his so it must be wet and heavy. It is good to get delayed on harvest because the wheat is wet and heavy because that means more yield. 100 bushel wheat at $7 will be the best return farmers have had in years if not ever. It takes that much money to pay all the input costs these days.

It is too dry to plant double crop soybeans in some places so that will be a good place to plant cover crops later this summer when it does finally rain. It looks to me like we are getting our August or July dry spell a month early just like everything else this year.

Should have planted corn and soybeans in March and wheat in November. I tell you this weather is all screwed up!



  1. And here I sit waiting for a chance to spray for weeds. Wet mornings followed by scattered showers the rest of the day. One dry day forecast out of the next seven.

  2. Wow, since when 109 bu is considered high?
    French farmers are complaining that the 'average' yield for soft wheat has been plateauing at 104 bu/a for the past 10 years, or 70 quintaux (100 kg) per hectare (100x100 m) in the native.
    Conversion scale:
    1 qt/ha = 1.487 bu/a (for 60 lb/bu crops, wheat)
    1 qt/ha = 1.593 bu/a (for 56 lb/bu crops, corn)
    1 qt/ha = 1.859 bu/a (for 48 lb/bu crops, barley)
    Maïs grain = shelled corn, blé tendre = soft wheat, orge = barley, blé dur = hard/durum wheat.

    There was even a "club des 100 quintaux" (association of farmers producing 150 bu/a) that started dozens of years ago and is still running.

    Looking at the FAO stats for the 2010/2011 harvest, I see that the USA come in 45th position at 31.176 qt/ha or 46.4 bu/a, although the FAO does not distinguish between soft and hard wheat:

    Latvia and Kenya all have better yields than the USA, but the Netherlands you recently visited have 2.86 times the American yield at 132.48 bu/a.

    I suppose the difference in yield is mostly caused by irrigation, in which case an investment of $1,000 per acre is paid back in 3 years, so it may be worth it and not so costly if you do it one field at a time. Assuming there's water available...

  3. In the "bastard state" of Missouri, 109 bushel on your yield monitor could well be a record. I would compare this are to some of our hardest to farm Illinoian Glacial Tills to the south and east of here with more unpredictable weather.

    Yields are relative. I remember sitting in a Dutch farmers house in 93 and he was ashamed of his 150 bu wheat yields because his neighbors were higher.

    Most farmers here are dryland farmers as we usually get too much water some years like last year, enough water most years and not near enough like this year, 99, 88 and several others.

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  5. Haha, sorry, 109 bu is plenty indeed, it's even better than France's or Germany's average.
    I meant the American average only, and forgot to edit the first part.
    109 bu would make it in the world's top 6 average.