Where did November go? It doesn’t seem possible that we’re down to the last page in my 2017 calendar! This time of year is the great transition… on the farm, as well as on the acreage.
Farmers have just about wrapped up harvest for 2017. After a wet start in late September and early October, the weather has been great for harvest the last half of October and pretty much all November.
Yields have been good to great for the most part. One problem many farmers had this year was a lot more corn on the ground after harvest. We had several problems this year including some extremely windy weather as well as stalk rot in some corn fields that contributed to this problem. I heard reports from some of my neighbors that they were estimating up to 100 bushels of corn per acre left in the field that the combine couldn’t harvest.
Utilizing Fallen Corn
Some farmers have cattle that can graze the stalks and pick up the corn or they have neighbors that will rent their stalk ground for winter grazing. This will reduce the problems created by volunteer corn in fields that will be planted to soybeans next year. However, some farmers do not have or have access to livestock to utilize this grain left on the ground.
I remember in high school, a major fundraiser for several organizations of which I was a member would pick up corn that was left in the field after harvest. The hybrids have improved greatly since then and dropped ears are generally less of a problem that they were 40-some years ago.
However, this year, it may be a possibility again with all the corn on the ground. If you need some ear corn and you are willing to do the work, you might want to visit with some of your farmer friends (especially if they don’t have cattle) to see if they would let you glean their fields for fallen corn. This could be a win-win if it provides you some needed grain and reduces the problems they will have with volunteer corn in their fields next year.
Farm Tax Planning
The other big activity for December for many farmers is tax planning. Decisions are being made whether to sell grain or livestock this year or next year, whether to purchase or prepay for things on the farm this year or next, whether to make charitable donations and IRA contribution, and the list goes on. This probably sounds like what some of us are doing to!
Acreage Winter Preparations
Here are a few things you can do on your acreage as you transition into the winter months:
- Clean, sharpen the blade, make any needed repairs, and winterize your lawn mower, tiller, or other equipment you won’t use until next spring.
- Get out your snowblower and make sure it runs BEFORE there is snow on the ground.
- Trim back deciduous plants now or in the spring and cover sensitive plants to protect them this winter.
- Wrap young, thin-barked trees to help protect them from frost cracking. Be sure to remove the wrap by early April next spring.
- Move firewood close to the house so it is accessible when you need it this winter, but do not stack it against the house. Never bring it into the house until you are ready to use it or “hibernating critters” may become active in your home as it warms up.
- Don’t get stressed out by, but embrace the holiday season and make it special for you and your family.
Deer Hunting Update
An update from last month’s column… I talked a lot about hunting last month and I’m happy to report that my wife and I harvested 3 deer during rifle season. So our freezer is full of nutritious, lean venison from the first two deer and the third one we donated to a relative that used to be an avid deer hunter, but can’t now due to his health. I have one doe tag left, but can fill it during the muzzleloader season in December or the late doe season in January.
So until next month, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and I want to wish you a joyous holiday season… and have fun on your acreage!