Saturday, August 1, 2009

Talking weather

It's the first day of August and all of our cropland, hay fields, and pastures are green. And a healthy green at that! It's not always been like this over the last few years, but so far this year we've gotten the rains we've needed to grow forage for our cows and heifers.

One of the toughest things about farming is knowing that you can't control what's often the biggest variable in your bottom line: the weather. Sure, a farmer can manage his or her operation based on historical patterns and select crops accordingly. One could hedge against the weather with irrigation, windbreaks, etc. Despite our best laid plans, though, a combination of prayer and damage control are often our only remedies when Mother Nature goes extreme on us.

Weather conditions at planting or harvest can cause delays that effect the yield and quality of a crop, not to mention weather's obvious effect on the crop during it's growing stage. And really good crops can often be destroyed in a matter of minutes by severe weather. Many heartland farmers have recently had crops destroyed by hail. One of our best corn silage crops ever was hurt by the howling winds of Hurricane Ivan several years ago when it hit us halfway through harvest. And then every once in a while, you get favorable weather all the way through which leads to thanksgiving and celebration (and a big sigh of relief).

Through it all...drought, wind, hail, floods, frost...the American farmer keeps on producing, holding on the the belief that no matter how good or bad this year has been, the next will be even better. And while we will never be able to conquer the weather, our nation's agricultural production proves that the weather hasn't yet conquered us.

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