Friday, November 9, 2012

Same Song, Second Verse

The second year of drought has us singing the same song, second verse. As was the case last year, milo harvest 2012 was practically over before it started.

The "harvest" actually began in August, when the guys swathed, then baled half of the 125 acres we'd planted to milo this year.
This is one of the milo fields we swathed in August for cattle feed.
Our total acreage planted was down appreciably this year, from 270 acres last year. In 2010, we planted 290 acres of milo and had a good crop because we got timely rains. It's hard to believe, looking at my 2010 milo harvest post, that there was milo piled on the ground at the Stafford branch of the Kanza Co-op.
2010 - It's amazing what timely rains will do for crops! Click here for what I wrote about it.
The milo we double-cropped following wheat harvest 2012 was actually better than some of the earlier-planted milo. It's hard to evaluate exactly why that happened, except that the later-planted milo got a timely rain shower along the way. With the naked eye, it didn't look too bad.
This photo is kind of misleading. The field didn't look so bad from that perspective.
However, the milo that we cut with a combine instead of a swather made less than 10 bushels per acre. And if you add in the acres that were swathed to the grand total, the whole 2012 milo crop made less than 5 bushels to the acre.

Those figures don't get you nominated for Top Producer or anything - not that anyone in this part of the world had a bin buster either.

For the record, a good harvest would yield 55 bushels per acre. With a great harvest, we might take in 85 bushels to the acre.
As you can see in this photo, there were some heads with grain. But you can also see vast areas of the field with no plants at all, so no heads of grain either.
We plan to try dryland corn instead of milo next year. Today's corn has more drought tolerance built into the seeds than milo does. However, that technology makes the seed a lot more expensive than milo seed, too. So we'll see.

My optimist husband says, "Surely the drought won't last another year." Of course, he said that last year. But his optimism is one reason I love him!


  1. Oh my goodness, Kim, the little milo planted around here in Leavenworth county looked hardly better than your field. I feel for all of you, it hurts to see the fields withering.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Mary Ann. We were fortunate to have insurance on part of the milo, though not on the double crop fields. Let's keep praying for rain for the whole state!