February 05, 2023

Waiting for rain

Q&A: Randy Kron

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Farmers are keeping their fingers crossed for rain as the 2022 crop shows signs of drought stress.

Randy Kron, farmer in southern Indiana and president of Indiana Farm Bureau, shared an update on his farm with AgriNews.

Q: Do you irrigate on your farm?

A: A third of what we farm is irrigated. We’re running irrigators pretty much every day. Those fields are in a lot better shape. But natural rain is a whole lot better.

And irrigating every day gets expensive. Either the electric bill or diesel engines, we’re burning a lot of money that way. But we’re trying to salvage the crop.

Q: What’s at stake with this year’s crop?

A: This is the most expensive crop we’ve put out in my history of 38 years of farming. Mother Nature has the outcome of it in jeopardy. That makes us a little nervous.

When you think about the money we put out — $1,500 anhydrous, $4.50 fuel or higher, and other costs — we’ve never had a crop that’s cost this much to put out in my tenure of farming.

Then when you look at the world situation, the United States needs to have a good crop just for food security everywhere. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

Q: Any disease or pest pressure?

A: By being so dry, disease pressure is lower. So, not right now, but we’ll see what happens. We are monitoring for spider mites, which can be a problem with soybeans when it’s so dry.

Q: What else is going on at your family farm this summer?

A: We’re hosting Zippy Duvall, the American Farm Bureau president, on our farm. That’s something a little different this year. We’re going to tour parts of southwest Indiana.

Our county fair is also coming up. Our kids are out of 4-H and our grandkids aren’t in it yet, so we’re in the in between stage. But that’s always an important part of the community.

It’s almost a full-time job just keeping the irrigators going right now. We’ve been doing some spraying and side dressing of corn. But we’re watching what happens.

If we don’t get a rain, we don’t want to put any more money into the crop. We’re not spending more money until we know we’ll get a little moisture.

Q: How do you push through the hard times on the farm?

A: This is my 38th crop. We’ve always survived and made it. Some are better years than others. But being a farmer, you have to be optimistic that next year will be better.

We’ll make it through. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some belt tightening and watching the pennies a little closer. But we’re going to keep going.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor