It’s hard to believe it’s basically August while I’m typing this. This summer has sure flown by. I guess time flies when you are so busy you don’t pay attention to the calendar, except to notice that you missed a couple deadlines in a row and then got lost in the craziness once again. I want to apologize for missing a few weeks, so get comfy as you read on because there’s a lot that’s happened the past few weeks around here in northern Illinois.
We did finish planting, or rather we quit, by the Fourth of July. As I drive around looking at fields, I know we aren’t the only ones that finally gave up on getting every acre planted in 2019. It’s commonplace to see holes of unplanted areas or whole fields unplanted. We have most of our prevent plant acres seeded to sorghum, which is a win-win in a not-ideal growing season. This will keep the weeds controlled, and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture allowing silage-making off prevent plant acres, it will make good feed for a neighboring dairy after the Sept. 1 harvest release date.
Corn in the area is extremely varied in growth stage because of the wide planting window. We finished our second-pass spraying before the Fourth of July. There were a few fields tasseling two weeks ago during the Stephenson County Fair, but many fields are only starting to tassel or getting close to tassel now. The fungicide plane has been very busy the past week. Corn is looking healthy no matter what growth stage it is in. There were a few days it was getting dry, and I did notice some fields with leaves rolling in the heat a couple weeks ago. Timely rains will be key this year to getting this crop mature.
Soybeans are growing quickly, and the recent rains sure helped some fields that were planted in less-than-ideal conditions. We have some beans that will need a second pass of spray, and I plan to get that done this week.
There were pockets of leafhopper and blight issues in alfalfa fields across the region. We had some of both in our alfalfa fields, which resulted in a smaller-than-expected second crop. The rains and nicer weather has helped it bounce back, and we should have a nice third cutting in a couple weeks.
The end of last week I could be found in the combine harvesting wheat for ourselves and a custom job. I had reports of lower yields and lower test weights with the growing season we had, so my expectations were lower for our yields this year, especially considering some of our field had been under water in the flooding this spring. It was nice watching higher-than-anticipated numbers on the yield monitor. Granted, the yields weren’t up to normal levels, but I was pleasantly surprised at what we have in the bin when we put the combine away. That field will be getting a manure application and teff grass planted on it this week.
Fair season is in full swing. The Jo Daviess and Ogle county fairs are this week, next week are the Boone and Carroll county fairs and the following week is the Winnebago County Fair. The final big fair in the region is the Sandwich Fair after Labor Day. Put Sept. 12 on your calendar for the annual Farm to Table Dinner that benefits the Ag Department at HighlandCommunity College. Tickets for this delicious five-course meal are on sale now. This meal features products grown locally and offers an opportunity to meet the farmers, learn about their operations and support a thriving ag program at the community college.
A new event at the Stephenson County Fairgrounds is coming Labor Day weekend. If you are a Red Dirt country music fan, you will want to check the new 610 Music Festival out. Tickets are on sale now for a whole weekend of Red Dirt country music, including one day of all female performers. Food, convenience store, beverages and camping are all on grounds for this brand new festival.
It’s nice to slow down a little now and enjoy these events in the region before the pace picks back up for harvest. Hope each of you is getting time to enjoy the events in your region.