I disappeared for the afternoon/evening. I went for a quick trip yesterday to pick up insulators for the electric fence, drop a dividend check off at the bank, and check the final storm damage to the crop ground and crops. I had driven around during the loll in the storm the other evening. We had a lot of rain after that. We didn’t fare too bad. We lost some rain down the hills and caught more than a few ice bullets but all in all the worst of the storm missed us. The same can’t be said for quite a swath of south west Iowa and east central Nebraska. If you draw a line from north of Fremont Nebraska to south of Griswold Iowa and you cut a swath along that line about four or five miles wide you will see in that enclosure a lot of busy people. I know. I couldn’t help driving it. That quick trip turned into a long slow ride.

The trees are taken back a month and a half in color as they were de leafed by Ice bullets and baseball battery. When you drive by a few trees the smell of freshly sharpened pencils fills the air. Trees, grain bins, pole sheds and sections of house roofs are scattered all across fields and roads. The grass looks freshly mowed to the ground except on the down wind side of trees, buildings and embankments. Over on the river bottom where they have them around Missouri Valley Iowa the center pivot irrigation rigs are tipped over here and there. The corn which was getting near knee high is dotted lines across barren fields. The newly emerged soybeans look no different, if you can even see the dotted lines of stumps. The crops just disappeared.

It’s been confirmed an F-2 tornado is what took the neighbors shed and Warren Buffet’s power towers. (up to fourteen I’ve heard) That was dead center in the swath of damage caused by the super celled storm. Derecho type storm Farm TV was trying to call it this morning on US Farm Report, a weekly agricultural television show put out by Farm Journal I believe. I don’t care what you call it I call it ugly. Uglier than my cornfield when I ran the whole herd out of it this morning. But not much in spots. Like where they circled by the gate in the hot wire waiting to be let back in. I’m not sure they even left the dotted lines. The neighbor called and said they had been out all night. That’s what I get for leaving that long. I knew better. They did too. It’s time to “disappear” a few of the ornery critters. A slow ride to the sale barn. Or two.

That’s where you’ll find me. Soon.



Black Markets

Cocreator’s New Corn is hurting. You wouldn’t know by watching the markets. It’s brown above ground. If I peel away the mushy browning leaf that was the first out of the ground it looks like the whorl is still green going down into the soil. I’m glad I have only sixty acres of April planted corn. That may mean I only have sixty acres left to plant to corn. Well technically replant. But if it dies as soon as you can row it coming up it’s hard to call it a replant. We had two good hard frosts back to back. Everything already emerged has turned brown. Rumors in town are the corn that was put in real early and had from three to five leaves on it has turned black down in the whorl. That’s quite a few acres around this immediate area. What if the first nineteen percent needs replanted? Who would have thought yellow corn was not that bad. We like to see nice green rows by now. Are the markets watching? Push that price back into the black.

I finished up fixing pasture fences here at home yesterday and turned the herd into the strip of grass across the creek. That should tide them over for a few days as the rest rests. I’d say regrow but with the cold maybe that’s too optimistic. I’ll have time to fix the fences up north of I-80. I want to move my young cattle without calves up there to relieve a little pressure on the pastures here at home. The young girls at least. The rest of the bulls will need to go to the sale barn if they are cleaning up nice. They’ve all started to perk up since the grass greened up. I don’t like to sell them unless they look like something I’d like to buy. That goes for most things. That doesn’t guarantee other folks will want to buy them. I still like the red cattle but most herds around here have turned black. Slowly but surely. It’s the in color. Blame Madison Avenue’s Black Angus promotion. We may have the smallest herd in sixty three years but they might be the most black. The markets are watching. Lot of black in that market.

I may get some beans in the ground this next week. As we approach June we should be getting free of frost dangers. Beans that are up freeze right off. Once the soybeans emerge their growing points emerge with them. One good cold snap and they are done. Frostbit. Turned to black. We do have other risks after frost. Lots of them. Maybe the biggest risk is from hail. In 1991 I lost a crop here at home to a hail storm June 1st. Incidentally, the same field that’s now turned brown. I have both all risk and hail on beans so both policies pay me to replant. I can actually make a profit on that operation alone. In 1991 I called in the neighbors 24 foot wide Danish tine field cultivator and turned the whole field black. Well the bottom anyway the hills were turned whatever color that soil was. I happened to be making hay at the same time. What a cluster f@ck that turned out to be. That fall those beans froze off too if I remember right. Turning those leaves black. But I don’t remember getting docked for green beans, a symptom of frost/freeze on soybeans that elevators discount for. More than the markets were watching then. Sometimes it takes a good weather scare to get prices back in the black.

That’s the bi-polar world of the markets though.

See you then, See you there.

I’ll be watching …….