Farmer Focus: Dry weather threatens soya bean crop

It is hard to believe another growing season is nearly over.

At the moment we are experiencing very dry weather with temperatures over 100F, which means we desperately need rain for the soybean crop – if we get some late rains our soybeans will be good; if not, they will be a failure.

It has been frustrating to see storms all around my farm and all I’ve gotten so far is some dry lightening that caused several grass fires in the area.

A local family farm lost a son this morning when lightening struck a tree, starting a grass fire. The 86-year-old father and his 49-year old-son were working to put out the fire when a gust of wind broke a limb from the tree, killing the son and injuring the father. Freak accidents like this seem to happen every year, underlining just how easy it is to get killed on the farm.

The silage cutter came this afternoon but on the sixth load of silage I blew a hose on the tractor which drained the radiator. If not for that, I would be done with the 20ha of corn I wanted to chop for silage.

The corn is tall and making good tonnage but while grain prices have been falling, cattle prices continue to set records. The last week of July I sold my 2013 fall steer calves for $500 a head more than last year.

On top of this, our government has now initiated a very generous drought compensation package for cattle producers going back four years. The livestock part of my farm will make up for the shortfall in crop prices this year. I just have to hope good cattle prices last for several more years.

The USDA is still very confident our fall crops are going to be in the “very big” category and while the corn crop is now made, the soybean crop isn’t, no matter what the USDA says. By the time I write again, it will be much easier to judge just how big the US soybean crop will be.

Brian Hind farms 1,250ha of prairie land, of which 770ha is family owned plus the rest is rented. Of this, 330ha is arable cropping with maize, soya, grain sorghum, alfalfa plus a mix of rye, triticale and turnips for grazing by 200 beef cattle. Grassland is used to produce hay

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