Yes, farming did happen in 2021 at Otto Farms, Inc. But, I just wasn’t into the extra time it takes to keep this website current while planning my exit from farming. Now, mind you, I thought this exit would be in three more years, but God had other plans. After meeting with my financial counselor and accountant to plan “retirement” things just kind of fell together in July bringing about the decision to call 2021 the final year of my farming career!
I will share some pictures with of of my “last year” of farming and move on to the upcoming auction that will be held on March 31, 2022.
2021 should have been a stressful year. We started the year with very little water in the ground. It failed to rain significantly.
Summer 2021 Rainfall
The rain in August saved our soybeans and we actually yielded above average on some fields! Corn was another story. Only one field yielded well but not well enough to save us from collecting crop insurance because of poor average corn yields.
I’m not sure what plans I have for this website in the future but I will keep it alive for a while until I figure that out. Farming has been a big part of my entire life. What happens next is left in God’s hands.
The soybeans are up! It’s a messy look but we expect great results! The system we installed to minimize overlap shuts off every 30″ of seeder width as it crosses into planted ground. Here’s a great example of the results!
Now that soybeans are up, post emerge spraying is the next step for weed control.
Y-dropping fertilizer on corn in our second year went much better than in 2019. We had a one day window in 2019 and struggled to get fertilizer on. In 2020, we had a much wider window of opportunity. We also decided to try applying at a smaller height stage to widen the window and it worked well.
Taking short cuts on chemical can sometimes get us in trouble. This year, we had to cultivate two fields because of weed pressure. One of the fields, was wiped out by hail a few years ago and we didn’t realize how much seed is still in the soil from the weeds that took over that year. The other field had a lot of lambsquarters coming and it was too late to spray.
With the late planting start, we were unable to achieve good weed control with our vertical till machine on some fields. The weeds were larger than 3″ and they just slipped through without being fully uprooted. On a couple of fields we had to use a pass with chemical to know out the weeds to give the soybeans a good start without competition.
Post flooding, the beans that are left are looking great! Scouting for aphids is next on the list. After a couple of times out, it was determined that spraying would pay off in 2018. Normally scouting is much more prolonged but the aphids were coming hard and fast with exploding populations!
Following last summer’s devastating hail event on our Morgan field we were advised to plant Liberty Link soybeans this year to give us later season options for weed control. Driving by the field one week prior to planting made our stomachs turn. The weeds had grown very quickly this spring and were threatening to make planting difficult. We sprayed a burn down herbicide on the field and, after working it with our vertical till machine a week later, the planting went quite smooth.
Spraying Liberty Link Soybeans
A pre-emerge herbicide was applied after planting and again about a month later. Two weeks after that, we had a lot of grass laughing at us as it continued to emerge and flourish. An application of Liberty was applied and now we are preparing to cultivate the field on Monday, July 17. A lot of extra effort and money has been spent on this field due to last June’s hail. We expect our efforts to pay off by keeping the weeds from seeding. This should make the future years of weed control a little more normal.
Weed control in soybeans is a summer long effort. In early July, we made our 3rd pass with the sprayer. The first pass was right after planting and consisted of a herbicide to burn down existing weeds as well as one that gave us about 1 month of control for emerging weeds. The second pass was similar but using chemicals with different modes of action to circumvent weeds becoming resistant to the few chemicals we have left. For the 3rd and final pass we use Roundup and a grass control herbicide. The grass control herbicide controls the volunteer corn. The Roundup will control some weeds that aren’t resistant. We will use hand weeding as a follow up to control weeds that are Roundup resistant.
Early in spring, pre-emerge herbicide was applied to our corn fields. This picture shows how necessary that is. These 12 rows are in a location that we cannot get to with our field sprayer and no herbicide was applied early. You can see the weed pressure that exists in this part of the field. Those weeds will quickly rob the corn of it’s full yield potential.
Post emerge spraying will clean up weeds that come through the early application. Later we will cultivate these fields and build ridges in the corn that will serve as the seedbed for next year’s soybeans.