Tuesday, July 2, 2013

From a Kernel to a Chip: June Update

Wet Spring - Dry Summer. So far that is how this growing season has gone. It seemed like back in April/May we weren't going to even get a crop in the ground because of how wet it was. Now, it looks like the dryland crops might burn up if we don't get a rain the first part of July. However,  I can't say that has been the case for everyone. Some places around the U.S. are still wet and would be glad to give us some of their moisture. Too bad there isn't a way that we can exchange weather patterns with others!

Since my last "Kernel to a Chip" update, June has ended up being a busy month! The first part of June we cultivated the white corn on the farms that got ridged. The purpose of cultivating is to clean up any weeds that might be growing, which allows us to not have to spray the crop a second time and keeps weeds from using water that could otherwise be used by the corn plants. It also loosens up the soil so that it is easier to ridge the corn for the field that we lay pipe on to furrow irrigate. Due to pivots, we only have to furrow irrigate pivot corners and fields that pivots won't work on due to the lay out of the field. After we ridged the corn (ridging corn creates a ditch for water to flow down), we then laid out the pipe. After the pipe was laid out, irrigation began taking place. We have been irrigating our white corn the last couple of weeks of June due to how dry it has been. We haven't had a good rain for a couple weeks now and the forecast isn't calling for much moisture anytime soon.

As we move into July, we can only hope that Mother Nature will bring us some much needed moisture before our dryland crops shrivel up and start looking like they did last summer! However, not matter what the weather does, we will get through it and hopefully end up having a bountiful fall harvest!

Below are pictures of the white corn during June: 

Cultivating the white corn to remove any weeds that might be developing out in the field.
On the left is what was cultivated and on the right is what was ridged. The purpose of creating a ridge to allow the water to flow to the other end of the fields so that the crops can get water.
The corn has really taken off due to warmer temps!
A sight that is seen almost every evening during irrigation! Gotta love summer time!

Even after the corn has grown and now has many roots, you can still see the seed coat of the seed that was planted back in late April.
It might look like a jungle, but it is only corn plants. As the white corn grows taller, it begins to canopy. This shades off the ground and can prevent weeds from growing while also helping keep the moisture from evaporating so quickly after a rain or irrigation event.
In a couple more weeks we will see this come out the top of the corn plant! This is the tassel which will pollinate the corn plants!

This year we are using a water probe that measures the soil water content and salinity. It will help us schedule our irrigating and tell us how much water is in the soil profile. It is also a tool that is helping us increase our water efficiency.
Be sure to check back on August 6th for the next "From a Kernel to a Chip" blog!