Last week’s heavy rain proved that the scurs can rely on the Weather Eye to deliver rain on a regular and frequent basis. Will the Weather Eye predict a break soon or will the rainy pattern continue repeating like a broken record? Starting Wednesday, sunny with a good chance for showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 70’s with lows in the low 60’s. Thursday, mostly cloudy with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Cloudy Friday with a moderate chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the upper 50’s. Saturday, mostly cloudy with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Mostly cloudy on Sunday with an increased chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the mid-50’s. Monday, mostly sunny with highs in the low 70’s and lows in the mid-50’s. Partly sunny becoming mostly cloudy for Tuesday with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the low 70’s with lows in the low 50’s. The normal high for September 26th is 69 and the normal low is 45. The sun will rise after 7 a.m. CDT on the 21st and on the 22nd we observe the autumnal equinox. On the 26th we creep below 12 hours of daylight. On the 28th, the sun will set before 7 p.m. CDT. With all this good news the scurs are guessing there will be celebrating in the streets.
Corn and soybeans keep inching ever closer to the finish line. Corn has been slow to black layer however and as of last Friday, many of the 105 day maturity hybrids still had a milk line showing low on the kernel. Soybeans too have taken their sweet time. Prognosticators who were sure we’d have a lot of soybeans harvested by now have been disappointed. Some early corn and soybeans have been harvested however and the results so far have been very favorable. Corn moisture on sub-100 day hybrids was in the upper 20’s with yields running north of 200 bu./acre. With the damp weather, not a lot more harvest reports but those early beans that have been harvested have been promising. Some disease pressure is starting to crop up here and there in the corn with diplodia ear rot being one showing up with greater frequency in area fields. This occurs frequently in conjunction with sprouted kernels on the ears. The wet weather since pollination continues to leave its grubby little fingerprints.
Soils are generally at field capacity as harvest nears ever closer. After adding up the dates with recorded rainfall since April at the ranch, I came up with 62. I was wondering why I was starting to get writer’s cramp. Of note was a recent release from the SROC in Waseca where they set a record for the wettest two month period ever in July and August at 20.63”. At the ranch we were slightly more fortunate at 16.94” and in Bugtussle proper, we were only blessed with 15.45”. Normal May – August precip at the SROC is 17.79”. We are in for a wet start to harvest at the very least and rain continues to be in the forecast.
In spite of the rain we continue to witness some of our insect friends as opposed to our insect enemies (mosquitoes). White-lined sphinx moths were noted working over the four o’clocks on the evening of the 16th. From a distance it was a little tough to tell if they were moths or hummingbirds. Their behavior is slightly different and upon closer inspection they were indeed sphinx moths. The wet weather too has taken a toll on some moths as there are fungal diseases that affect the larvae, killing them before they pupate. Several instances of this were noted on green cloverworms in area soybean fields.
The hummingbirds are starting to appear restless. Last year they were gone on September 28th from our feeders at the ranch. The aforementioned four o’clocks are starting to wane and the cannas appear to be coming down the home stretch as well. Not to worry. When it’s time it’s time. It’s still fun to watch the little hummers chase each other around the yard in the meantime. Their antics make them well worth the meager price of a cup of sugar in their nectar feeders.
It has been nice to get a breeze lately if nothing else for relief from the ever present mosquito population. Lawn mowing can be accomplished quickly before the wind goes down and vegetables can be harvested if you hurry as well. The sheep take advantage of this too. Some I’ve talked to seem to think that since sheep have wool they’re not bothered by flying, biting insects. However, since over the centuries sheep were selected for clean legs and faces to facilitate easier, cleaner shearing, such is not the case. Rather than stuffing themselves into a stinky corner in the barn and stomping their feet to get away from the pests, our little flock can be seen sleeping on the hillside under a tree chewing their cud when there’s a breeze. Much nicer than allowing them to fill the barn up with manure over the summer months while exposing their lungs to the stale air. And it makes for a nice pastoral scene, reminiscent of the covers from some farm magazines. That’s the way it was meant to be.
See you next week…real good then.