Aug

14

Even though I do not trade in grains, I know that many around do, so I thought I would write a report about what is happening at ground level with grain. This report is based on my farm in N.W. Missouri.First, let me cut to the chase. It is dry. Very very dry.. But the problem goes deeper than that … literally.

It all started this winter. Whereas we normally get a couple feet of snow, we only got a few inches. That snow sitting on the ground, slowly melting into the soil, creates a water store deep within the soil that the plants can draw on during bad times. Think of it as an emergency fund, a build up of cash to be tapped into when times are rough. That emergency fund does not exist this year.

Now, you may think that we are not having a bad drought because the rainfall numbers for the spring and summer are only off by around six to nine inches, but that is very misleading. You see, we had a giant rainstorm in the spring that dumped over 5 inches of rain on my farm in period of a couple days. The problem with that is that the ground cannot absorb that much rain that quickly, and most of that water merely washed away top soil on its way downstream. So it looks like we are not that far behind in terms of actual rainfall, but in terms of moisture in the soil, we are hurting pretty bad.

After that initial rainfall it was a fairly dry spring.

Since the spring we have had a fairly steady rainfall during the growing season, around half an inch to three quarters of an inch every couple of weeks. That is not great, but that rainfall is allowing the soybeans and corn to grow. Unfortunately, this years grain crop has a lot in common with many Americans in that it is living rain fall to rain fall (paycheck to paycheck), just one step ahead of disaster.

Now disaster is staring us straight in the face. Just like most of the country, we are bogged down in a stifling heat wave with temperatures having been above 100 for over a week now. Couple that with clear sunny skies sucking the moisture out of the ground, and even the plants themselves, and you have got a potential problem brewing.

There is no subsoil moisture because of the lack of snow and steady spring rains, and no real surface moisture because of the heat and blaring sun. The only good news is that the heat wave is scheduled to break on Friday, August 3rd. They predict Cooler temperatures, only in the upper 80s to mid 90s, and some rain is forecast. The bad news is that we are coming into what my grandpa called the ‘dog days of summer’ — the hottest time of year with the least amount of rain.

Time to start hoping for one of those years that are a statistical anomoly. We desperately need to have a wet August.


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