Spring Planting Decisions in Nebraska
We’ve been pretty productive since last fall. We went hard preparing the fields, and we started planting at a reasonable time — around April 15. I wasn’t in a hurry, because we were working on our planter and waiting for the right field conditions. For a while, our fields were nice and moist in some areas, but for the most part, we were plenty dry. We had snow on the first week of February — about 15 inches — and we barely had a thing since, so had about two months with negligible moisture. It’s very unusual. We’re not exactly wet country like out East, but we can expect a couple inches of rain in the spring.
I haven’t gone so far as to figure out what we’re doing about water restrictions. Last time we were in a situation like this, it was pretty unnerving. I went through about half my allocation just to get to pollination, and I never would have had enough allocation to get through, but that was the year we had a very generous amount of rain, so we made it okay. Since then we’ve always had enough rain in springtime. We haven’t had to worry about it.
Through everything this spring, Jeremy has of course been helping us out. We worked out most of our fertilizer maps and planting maps. He came to deliver seed around the first of March. Everything on their end is going nice and smooth.
I was looking at ramping up some remote soil sampling probes, and we were up and ready to run on that, but this year’s financial strains have me dragging my feet. So as far as doing the beta testing, I’m still deciding whether I’m going to write a check or not. It’s going to be a tough sell for me at this point. Things were a little tight going into the year, and we’ve lost two irrigation motors and one pickup motor since then, so that’s several thousand dollars I didn’t plan for that we’re out so far.
Other than that, we’re just keeping an eye on the markets. There’s quite a bit of speculation that the 93 million acre number for planting prediction of corn was high to start with, and that has shifted the market where beans gained a little and corn lost a bunch. So that’s probably going to shift about 3 million acres out of corn and into beans during planting. That takes it down to 90 to 91 million, which is a magical number and hopefully the market can sustain a $4 corn price. So there’s hope.