I must be getting old. I find myself whining about what a long, cold winter this was. Normally, I love, really love, winter. I like snow, I appreciate what the winter freeze-thaw cycles do for our soil structure, I enjoy visualizing weeds and insects dying in the cold, and—let’s face it—I am built for cold weather. But even I thought this winter really hung on a long time. It didn’t help that it has been so dry where I live. To be honest, I am fairly concerned about dry soil conditions and how this growing season will play out, especially since we seem to be in a pretty dry weather pattern going into the spring. Of course, in many areas it has been exceedingly wet, which is causing some planting delay concern.
As Charles Dudley Warner said, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it;” I guess I am no different. The fact is, though, that spring is finally breaking upon us, and we are getting itchy to plant. This is the time of year when anticipation runs high, and we simultaneously worry about how the season will go and thrill at the chance to start a new crop cycle.
This year, as in most, there are a lot of uncertainties facing us as we head to the field—commodity prices, weather patterns, regulatory uncertainty. However, this is an optimistic time of year for farmers. There is something neat about putting seeds into the ground and watching them germinate, grow, and produce a crop. Fall is definitely my favorite season, as we gather the harvest and see the result of the year’s work. But there is a special eagerness that comes with spring, too.
We will have a couple of new cooperators in our Circles for Rice program this summer, and I will report on their crops and progress throughout the season. There is increasing interest in growing rice this year due to the market conditions for it and for competing crops. As this interest continues, the opportunity to expand acreage through the use of pivot irrigation will become more popular as well. Research interest is increasing, which will lead to better information and more resources for producers who adopt this practice. I look forward to sharing more with you during the summer.
As you get into the field, remember to be careful. Rest when you are tired, eat when you are hungry, pet the dog, and be sure to take some time each day for your family. Have a safe planting season, and we wish you a great year. Stay in touch, and let us know how things are going with you.