The growing season has been different again this year. The wet spring resulted in the spring planting being delayed but the good growing summer weather has crops ahead of schedule. We are thankful for the August rains especially for the soybeans. August rains are critical for soybean plants to fill their bean pods. The crops are looking good so far but they are not in the bin yet. Prices have fallen below production costs for corn and beans so marketing will be a big challenge. Farmers will have a lot of things on their mind this fall.
Preparing for Harvest
September means the fall harvest is not too far off. September is a good time to get grain bins cleaned out, seal any cracks, and make sure grain augers and unloading equipment are ready to go, trucks are serviced and grain carts are in tip top shape. A final check of the combine is a good idea too. The grain is clean in the field and the goal is to keep it clean during harvest and storage. The farm shop will be busy place this month.
Final Alfalfa Cutting
This month will bring the last cutting of alfalfa hay. It is good to leave about 3-4 weeks time from last cutting until the first killing frost usually in early October. This allows the alfalfa plants to build up root reserves before the plants go dormant.
Fall Weed Control
Fall is a time to start looking for musk thistle rosettes in pastures, fence rows, conservation reserve fields, and almost anywhere. Musk thistle is a noxious weed and must be controlled by law. Musk thistle can easily be controlled when it is in the rosette stage. The rosette stage is when the leaves are flat to the ground. It takes all landowners and operators in a community doing their part to control musk thistle or any noxious weed.
Managing Brome Pasture
Smooth brome likes the cooler weather and will start to grow again. If brome is to be grazed in the fall, it would benefit from an application of nitrogen fertilizer. Phosphorus is also an important nutrient for brome and if it is needed September is the best time to apply phosphorus. Adequate phosphorus levels help the nitrogen to be utilized better. Soil testing is the best way to determine what nutrients are needed for your brome pasture.