Thursday, May 23, 2013
Hatfields and McCoys
At my parents' and brother's farming operation in Pratt County, corn is king. Our 350 acres of dryland corn pale in comparison to the cropland they have allocated to dryland and irrigated circles of corn.
Randy was happy to have his corn planting interrupted with rain because of the benefits to the 2013 wheat crop and to our drought-strained pastures. At the same time, my brother was ready for some uninterrupted corn planting. I guess it's the difference between a Wheat Farmer and a Corn Farmer. (In all fairness, Kent is thankful for the moisture, too. He just would have liked to order it like you order a Diet Coke at the drive-through. Aren't all farm families like that, if we're honest?)
Wheat is still our primary crop at the County Line. But this year, we have added a new crop to the rotation. We planted corn for the first time in our 32 years of farming together.
Corn was a primary crop in this area when it was settled. The 6th Biennial Report of the Kansas State Board of Agriculture of 1888 reported that corn was the main crop for Stafford County, covering 48,030 acres. Oats were grown on 10,849 acres, while the winter wheat crop totaled 8,717 acres. Pasture ground was tallied at 13,446 acres. Other crops in 1888 were millet, spring wheat, rye, Irish and sweet potatoes, sorghum, castor beans, cotton, flax, hemp, tobacco and broom corn. Swine outnumbered cattle in livestock. (Information taken from Stafford County History: 1870-1990.)
So, in some ways, I guess we are returning to Randy's Stafford County farming ancestors' roots. However, the corn planted today is much different than the varieties planted 125 years ago.
Today, many farmers plant RIB corn (refuge in a bag) - whether it's irrigated or dryland.
Additionally, corn is Round-Up ready, and milo is not. We have been having trouble controlling weeds in milo. If there are weeds and grasses in the corn, we can spray with Round-Up without harming the growing plants.