Spring Stress 2011

This is going to be one of those years where seeding (assuming we get out there) is going to provide all sorts of challenges. How do I know this on April 17?  Maybe it was the 5 cm of fresh snow we had last night and the fact that my outdoor thermometer is reading -8 this morning.

I’m not sure which is driving me crazier: the snow, or my dad stopping into the house every 15 minutes to see what is going on. Usually by April 18 I have the seeder out, serviced, seed/fertilizer in the trucks, and we are simply waiting for the ground to warm up enough to allow for germination; however, as we all know, every year is different in farming, and this year is very different.  

I am sitting in my house at 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday, looking out the window at the fresh 5 cm of snow we had last night that can be added to the record snowfall we had this year, and wondering if we are ever going to get out onto the fields. The only positive in this situation is that the melt down has been slow and gradual, which has helped in avoiding excessive flooding. The problem, however, is that the clock is now ticking and we have yet to see the end of the snowpack. The moisture levels are very high and assuming we can get the seed in the ground we should be in for a productive season. The assumption of getting the seed in the ground is really what is starting to make me nervous. I know the weather can change in a hurry and I am an optimist, but we really do need some heat to melt the snow and start warming up the ground. 


At this point we are about two to three weeks behind and, in a smaller operation such as ours, I am comfortable knowing that we can make that time up. What really bothers me is the fact that we just can not seem to get a break in the forecast, even just for the sake of warming up to working around the yards. We have decided to go to a Dutch opener this season, which is still sitting in boxes waiting for the monster snowdrift covering our air drill to melt so I can get working on it along with removing the scrapers to allow the mud to shed more easily. It really does feel like I have all the time in the world to finish these small jobs … that is, if I did not own a calendar.

 It really feels like the year of deferred work, not only with preparing for seeding, but in shipping grain. Most years we have the past year’s inventory shipped but, again, this unforgiving winter combined with slow grain movement has deferred this work load to the spring and summer months. I find myself mentally reassuring that it is still relatively early and to just keep focusing on selling houses until the fields dry out.  There comes a point in the year that this nervous uncertainty becomes panic and I am not quite there yet; however, if I am still looking out this kitchen window on my birthday two weeks from now, I will be looking for a panic button app on my iPhone. 

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