Mud holes, broken belts and round bales, oh my! Our friends from Michigan finished their task of baling the straw from two of our fields and a neighbor’s to the north, and the grand total of round bales is: 854.

The third field of wheat seemed to yield the best. The combine monitor broke, and the wheat went to the bin. But Bart predicts it made around 90 bushels per acre. It was a labor of love getting the last field harvested and baled as it contained several areas that could have doubled as hog wallows. Not only did the baler get stuck a time or two, it broke more than one belt during the marathon baling session.

The last of our double-crop beans went in the ground on July 12, and the regular-season beans, less 14 acres, got sprayed for the second time on July 13. Bart reports that the Japanese beetles are working away as tattered leaves are visible. And the first field of double-crop beans was sprayed for the first time on July 13, as well. Normally, he would have waited a bit longer on these. But, if you recall, that was the field of weedy wheat, and early spraying was most definitely warranted in this case.

A potentially damaging storm front moved through our area on July 10. We ended up receiving four-tenths of an inch of rain and some powerful winds, which resulted in a minimal amount of green snap along the edge of the cornfield by the house. Our friends in Ohio, who live just southeast of Columbus, didn’t fare as well, however. The same storm, nine hours later, took off half a barn roof and half a shed roof. And another friend from that area reported all of his corn was flat on the ground.

As the corn around here begins to tassel, it makes me sick to think about that corn in Ohio on the ground, the bare patches around the country that were unable to be planted and the corn that will, undoubtedly, yet succumb to hail, straight-line winds and drought, for example. All of these situations are examples of why farmers need crop insurance options and a solid farm bill.

So what does the House do? It passes farm bill legislation, but decoupled from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Not good. This makes about as much sense as buying cloth diapers for chickens. But wait — you really can buy cloth diapers for your chickens now. No joke. Who does this and why? Drop me a line at