Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

No Till Notes: Surgery has been put on hold


My knee replacement surgery has been put on hold.

I developed a bacterial lung infection prior to surgery. My doctor put me on antibiotics for a period of five days that lowered my white blood cell count, but not to normal levels. I then took another 10 days of antibiotics and I'm scheduled to go back in for more tests soons to see if I'm healthy enough for surgery.

It turned out to be a blessing that my surgery was postponed as my son Jacob, who works on the farm with us, was diagnosed with pneumonia. There appears to be an unusually high incidence of these lung-type infections around the Alliance area this summer.

I don't know if it is something in our environment this year that is leading to these high rates of lung infections or not. I'd be curious if other communities around the Panhandle have also had an increase in these types of illnesses this summer.

With the heavy workload of winter wheat and field pea harvest along with the other daily farm chores it was a good thing that I was able to work during this time. We also finished planting our cover crops on our preventative plant acres where we intended to plant dry land corn but were unable to due to excessive moisture.  We also planted forage crops into our harvested irrigated winter wheat stubble.

This has been a busy stretch and we're all ready for some dog days of August.

Generally speaking, it's the lack of precipitation that reduces the yields of our fall and spring planted crops. That certainly wasn't the case this year, as the winter wheat and field peas had more than enough moisture to make a bumper crop. There were other challenges to these crops this year that were related to the weather that reduced yields.

One of our local elevator employees told me this was the poorest winter wheat crop in terms of bushels they had seen in quite some time.

Both dry land and irrigated winter wheat yields were down this year in Box Butte County. Late freezes and heavy snow in May caused problems for the winter wheat. All the above normal precipitation in May and June also increased the amount of disease this year's crop had to contend with.

On our farm this year, our winter wheat yields turned out to be above average, but not as good as the yields we had last year. Disease was present in our fields with leaf rust, but I don't think that was what lowered our yields from their potential. I think the heavy snowfall on Mother's Day weekend and additional snow the following week hurt our crop more than the disease.

Our wheat crop had goose neck stems from the snow breaking the stem over. I think this resulted in the small kernels we saw at harvest.

These kernels of wheat weren't shriveled from disease, but were abnormally small. I think the stems were unable to supply the kernels with the nutrients and moisture they needed to fully develop to their potential.

Dwayne Beck made a statement at one of his presentations that I'll always remember. Beck said that we shouldn't grow crops that just aren't sick, but we should strive to grow crops that are healthy.

I think what Beck meant was we should use management practices such as crop rotations, moisture management, and improved soil health that produces healthy crops.

We've strive to try and produce crops on our farm that are healthy crops. With our crop rotations and no till production practices, I think we produce crops that often exceed our expectations with high yields because they are healthy. I think our winter wheat crop on our dry land acres this year performed pretty well considering all the adversity the crop faced this year.

Next week, I'll visit about our field pea crop and the yield results along with other field pea results that I've heard about from around the Panhandle this harvest season.


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