This time of year, the farmers are buttoned up in their houses, unless, of course, they keep livestock. Farmer Guy Therrien, whom we profiled in June, 2013, just sent a note to me, telling of his recent thoughts, and I thought I’d pass it on to you.
Guy lives near Pullman, in the Palouse region of eastern Washington. Right now, the temperature up there is like outer Siberia! Cold! Here are his notes.
“I hope you are handling this cold better than I am. When I look out, and it says 0 degrees, I lose a lot of motivation. I am getting soft in my old age.
As the end of the year nears, the overall reflection of our crop year shows that it was a normal year. Then, when looking closer, it had its differences. I find it interesting to look back from year-to-year, at dates of seeding, spray and harvesting, and look at the final results. These dates are a direct result of the weather.
For example: Our spring wheat seeding started twenty days earlier in 2013 than in 2012, meaning that we came out of winter sooner, and were able to get into the fields sooner. We were short of moisture coming out of winter and hoping for a wet spring. Just to show the differences from year to year, we started seeding spring wheat March 19th in 2013. In 2012, on March 20th through 22nd, we received 8 inches of snow!
The spraying of winter wheat for weeds started 23 days earlier in 2013 as compared with 2012. This has a lot to do with temperature. When spraying crops, cold temperatures can damage the crop.
Harvest started 10 days earlier in 2013 than in 2012, which was expected because of the earlier spring in 2013. As for the harvest yield, the results were a mixed bag, which is common. 2013 spring wheat seeded earlier than 2012 spring wheat, and the 2013 spring wheat yielded about 10 bushels more to the acre than in 2012.
There are so many weather variables from day-to -day and week-to-week and month-to-month; hot or cold temperature, dry or rain at opportune or inopportune times makes a big difference.
Do I have a conclusion? Not really. When it is time to farm – get going, and hope for the best.
Winter ramblings. Happy Holidays.”