June 6, 2013

Planting delays worry producers

Planting delays worry producers
By STU MERRY

When one nears Butte from the west, the view to the east is one of grandeur. As you crest the hill, the view is miles and miles of flat farmland. Now, that area, as well as the rest of McLean County, is in the grip of a monsoon season.
County Agent Irene Graves visited the Butte area where an estimated 11-14 inches of rain has fallen the past week. While in some parts of the county a majority of the crop is in the ground or beginning to grow, the Butte area features a different soil – mostly clay.
“It’s an environmentally different area,” Graves said.
The planting window is extremely small around Butte – generally about 10 days. That window is the last two weeks of May. It’s early June. The window is virtually closed.
Even if the rain does stop, it will be mid-June before farmers can even think about getting into their fields. Graves said the issue is emotional stress. “And it’s getting magnificent,” she said.
Graves puts things another way, comparing the anxiety experienced by those in the Butte area to Oklahomans who have been hit hard by severe storms and tornadoes. “It’s a tornado-like atmosphere,” she said.
For farmers, its more than just being delayed by rain. It’s the anguish of not having a crop in the field. These, indeed, are trying times.
“We need to be aware of what is happening to our farmers and ranchers,” Graves said. “Rain and more rain. In most places 10-12 inches and some even more.”
Rick Tweeten, who farms in the Washburn area, said the stress ratio stretches across the county. Saying he was feeling down about the situation this past weekend, he toured areas of southern McLean County. He observed many unplanted acres, realizing he’s not alone.
“Many people are in the same boat,” he said. “I came back feeling not quite so bad.” 
Tweeten realizes the window is fast closing for producers this year and the situation remains in Mother Nature’s and the good Lord’s hands.
“(But) there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough and live to fight another day,” he said.


The Weather Network