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On the Fence - July 2018

On the Fence , Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights for July 2, 2018,

July 2018

It’s hard to believe the summer has been moving so fast. It seems like once the Independence Day passes, it is one thing after another until the summer is gone and fall and harvest season is here. July is typically our hottest month of the year, but the first half of June this year was extremely warm. At least where I live, we got more typical temperatures and some much needed rainfall later in the month. But some of my neighbors not too far away got a lot more rain than they needed!

The good thing about rainfall this time of year is as crop growth progresses, crops use more water. Extra moisture is stored in the soil which really helps farmers without irrigation through the periods of low rainfall we always seem to have sometime each summer. For those farmers with irrigation, rainfall reduces how much they need to irrigate, which helps reduce their production costs.

A green field and blue sky.

Use Caution on Rural Roads as Corn Gets Taller
Now is one of the prettiest times to drive through the countryside. Other than a few areas that had hail damage in June, crops look about as good as they can get at this time of year, pastures are green, and alfalfa is putting on good regrowth after the first cutting. One caution when the corn gets tall, it often creates blind intersections so use extra caution when traveling on rural roads.

Many farmers got off to a late start when planting crops this spring, but with good moisture and warm temperatures, the crops quickly caught up. It will be interesting to see… each year a few area fields of early planted corn are tasseling by the 4th of July. I haven’t seen any fields tasseling yet, but it looks like we have some that will be close this year.

Cows along a fence.Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence?

Joys of the Country Life
Pastures also benefited from rain and warmer temperatures. Cooler temperatures in April and May slowed grass growth in many pastures. Those pastures never completely caught up, but they look a lot better now than they did a month ago. Each day when I come to work, I drive by a neighbor and good friend’s place who has cows and calves in his pasture right along the road. It’s fun seeing them out feeding on a sunny hillside.

Assess Your Summer Landscape
Things to think about on the acreage this time of year include what you have blooming around your place. Is there a time of the growing season when your landscape lacks blooming plants? If so, make note of those times and then select plants to fill the voids. Not only does this give you year-round interest in your landscape, it also provides a season long food source for pollinating insects.

Canada Thistle and Musk Thistle.

Noxious Weed Control During Blooming
Also consider controlling noxious weeds. If you have musk thistles, they are probably blooming. Cut the heads off and destroy those before they go to seed. If you just cut them off, the flowers will still produce viable seed. If you are unfortunate enough to have Canada thistle (like me), you need to spray it to kill it. It is a perennial so it will come back from the roots if you just cut it off.

Enjoy Your County Fair
Here’s my final suggestion for this time of year. July marks the beginning of the county fair season in Nebraska. Plan to attend your local county fair. It is the one activity that brings the whole county together like no other. You can see the exhibits and livestock that 4-H and FFA members have worked on since last fair. And there is probably something you could exhibit in open class whether it be horticulture, photography, sewing, cooking, crafts, poultry or rabbits, or many others.

A deer in the grass by a house.

On My Acreage...
Last month I promised to share images of the wildlife Patty and I enjoy around our home. Here is a baby deer that was just born, about 50 yards down the hill from our house. The doe was standing just inside the trees watching me closely.

A deer in the grass.

Each year I get calls from people that find baby animals and wonder what they should do. The best thing you can do is leave them alone and don’t touch them. You may not see the adults, but they are usually close by. I took these pictures and then left, being careful not to touch it or to be around it too long.

Well, that’s all for today… so until next month, get outside and have some fun on your acreage!

On the Fence , Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights for July 2, 2018,
On the Fence. Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights,
On the Fence with John Wilson
Extension Educator - Innovative Cropping and Water Systems
Nebraska Extension Educator John Wilson discusses life on an acreage.

Location: Based in Burt County with responsibilities in Thurston and Dakota counties; statewide responsibilities with soybean cyst nematode education
Program Areas: Crop Production, particularly corn, soybeans & alfalfa; integrated pest management, particularly insects, diseases & nematodes
Focus Area: Soybean cyst nematodes and soybean diseases
Education: BS and MS degrees in agronomy (crop production option) from University of Nebraska-Lincoln