Area farmers are ready and willing
Pierce County farmers are ready and willing to start spring planting on schedule at the end of April, but before that can happen the fields have to dry.
“The weather will guide us,” said Jim Blessum who farms southeast of Rugby.
Blessum is planning on planting wheat, corn, soybeans, peas, and lentils this season. The market is what drives his decision.
“Marketing is getting to be the hardest thing about farming,” said Blessum.
Since snow was abundant this winter, it is taking longer than some other years to dry out the fields. Mix that with a cooler than normal spring and some areas will not be able to be planted at all.
“There is an awful lot of snow out here,” said R’Jay Paul who farms northwest of Rugby.
The wet areas are about 8-9 miles west of Paul’s place since he said Towner has had more rain than over at his place.
Paul says that crop insurance rules have changed some again and those changes make certain crops a little more enticing to plant. He plans to plant wheat, corn and sunflowers.
He said he thinks planting won’t happen until at least the beginning of May.
“Some guys are switching to no till, but that can take longer to warm up and dry out,too,” said Paul. “Farming is not an exact science, ” he adds.
Input costs and bottom line are what affects how Dan Brossart chooses the crops for the growing season each year.
The crops were good last year for both yields and market which doesn’t happen together all that often, according to some farmers.
“Long falls have given us good crops,” said Blaine Schmaltz who farms south and west of Rugby.
Schmaltz grows wheat for seed and is looking at planting a little more than last year. He started seeding corn three years ago and has added more each year. His operation also raises soybeans and dry edible beans, Golden Flax, buckwheat and peas for animal consumption and seed.
“We ordered our seed but may make tweaks as we go along,” said Schmaltz. “I think people are going to plant every acre they can.”
Brossart has decided to plant wheat, corn, soybeans, and canola this season. He is ready to go now, but doesn’t expect planting will happen until early May.
“We are definitely going to have to work around potholes,” he said.
Farming is so computerized now that many area farms have satellite guidance technology. The tractors have changed over the years, as well. They have computers in them and with satellite guidance technology they can “read” planting rates which can then be adjusted, and they make sure that the rows are planted straight with just the right amount of seed. Farmers have increased their overhead with all the technology subscriptions they need.
“I spend more time in my office or at least equal time to what I spend in the field,” said Schmaltz. “That necessitates hiring someone to replace me in the field.”
Technology helps prevent waste in the whole process, which in the long run is expected to help the bottom line
R’Jay Paul says it all boils down to one thing in the end, “You gotta take what the good Lord gives you.”
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