Hard freeze could benefit area fields

Authored by Jim Langham on Dec 3, 2012

Most field activity now includes working ground and applying fertilizer and lime, says Jeff Lehman of Lehman Feed Mill. Lehman said that a few fields of corn are being harvested but a huge part of this year’s harvest is completed.
“This year’s harvest, especially beans, was much better than anyone would have dreamed when it was so hot and dry in July,” said Lehman. “Even some of the corn was fairly decent. Of course, there were also fields of corn that were poor.”
Lehman said that one disappointment of this fall was the lack of wheat that was planted because of wet fields.
“We didn’t get as much wheat in this fall as I had hoped for,” Lehman said. “Much of that was because bean harvest was broken up because of frequent rain during harvest.”
Lehman said that most farmers were so happy with their bean harvest that they probably were willing to be patient to get in the good crop.
One of the problems some farmers may be facing right now is compacted ground due to the huge and heavy machinery doing harvest on wet ground.
“There are some pretty good ruts out there,” said Lehman. “We need a hard freeze and a good snow cover to protect the wheat. If I had my will, I would call for a hard freeze and a good snow cover this winter.”
Lehman said that fulfillment of such a winter wish would help loosen compacted soil for next spring’s field work.
Early indications are that a hard freeze could be hard to come by, at least in the earlier parts of winter. Long-range forecasts for the next three months are calling for near normal moisture but warmer than normal temperatures.
“That’s certainly true in the near future,” said weather specialist Rick McCoy, who said that when cold air started settling in earlier this week he thought it might be the beginning of the first siege of winter weather.
“It doesn’t look that way now,” said McCoy. “The jet stream is changing again and it appears that we are going to moderate out of this early cold snap. We could see temperatures close to 60 degrees over the weekend and early next week.
“In late summer, it looked like a strong El Nino was starting to form and could shape our winter,” said McCoy. “Now it doesn’t look like it is doing that much so National Weather Service officials aren’t quite sure what to expect this winter. There seems to be a consensus among weather officials that we could have another mild winter this year.”

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