As the first frost of fall appears in the Brandenburg fields, Trent looks back on a season which dealt some adversity, but ended with about average yields overall. Trent has completed his own fall harvest and tillage, but is still doing some custom work for other operators. The fall tillage has been made easier by some little rains “that should have come three months ago” Trent observed.
The serious drought in this area has caused the level of Lake Decatur to fall 2.5 feet since July; the City of Decatur has prohibited car washing and watering lawns, among other things. Trent hopes that his completed fall tillage will aid in capturing rainfall to recharge his ground-water supply.
Trent’s yields were highly variable because of the very wet June being followed by months of drought. Crops in the low areas were damaged early by waterlogged soil. The conventional wisdom is that crops on the higher ground would be damaged by the drought but plants in the low areas would do better. Trent discovered that the early-season root damage kept the low-ground plantings from developing good root systems, so those plants were doubly-damaged by wet and drought, while the best yields came from plants on the high ground. These high-ground yields were in line with the high yields of recent years.
Trent is making crop insurance claims on the low-yielding acreages. The insurance payments will raise the net financial return on the land, “but I’d rather have high yields,” Trent concluded.