We had our nastiest winter since 1977 – lots of snow, ice, wind and extreme cold. I always volunteer to take people to and from work at a nursing home that is near us. Last winter I really kept busy driving. One day I started getting calls at 5:30 a.m. and didn’t finish getting everyone home until midnight. People were very appreciative. I told them that bucking snow drifts was more fun than mud bogging! It was pretty hard on my old Dodge truck, but at least I was doing something useful with it. It had the heavy Cummins motor and was like a Sherman tank in the snow.
We got a break in the weather in mid-April. Everyone was afraid to be the first to plant corn in our township because the ground was still very cold. My brother, who is 80 said, “Let’s plant, this is nothing, I’ve planted while it was snowing before.” So we planted. We took some razzing from other farmers and the corn took a while to sprout but it turned out okay. It took most of May to finish the rest of our corn and plant our soybeans. We just kept getting rains that stopped the planting.
Our crops had a really slow start and some of the soybean fields didn’t fully germinate until mid-June. We kept getting minimal rainfall and we were apprehensive about the kind of year we were going to have. Things could have gone either way. Then, finally in mid-August, we got some sizable rains that continued all the way through harvest. We were very pleased with our yields and sometimes I wonder if I will ever see such nice crops again in my lifetime.
In August I had the television on and just caught the end of a report about a dire emergency situation in Toledo, Ohio. My first thought was that maybe it was a nuclear or terrorist disaster. Soon I heard that all the water was unusable for drinking, washing, cooking and bathing because of algae problems in Lake Erie. Every farmer in NW Ohio was dismayed, especially those who have livestock. We have been warned continually that fertilizer and manure have been causing some algae blooms in years past and that everyone needs to be careful about how, when and where fertilizer and manure are applied. Now we are all waiting to see what regulations we will be facing in the near future.
Daryl Bridenbaugh is a Team FIN farmer located in northwest Ohio.
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