As much as I hate to say it - we need some rain here in Henry County. After our second wet spring in a row, things have dried up with the higher temperatures over the past couple of weeks. The hotter weather has put some of the later planted crops under heat stress, especially the later planted corn that has yet to form a canopy over the soil surface. Mother Nature can be fickle at times, and this just may be one of those years. On a positive note, the earlier planted crops mostly qualify as good to excellent, with corn leading the way. Furthermore, it looks like everyone is pretty well finished with wheat harvest, and from what I’ve heard, grain quality was pretty good, with low levels of vomitoxin. Reported yields were a bit of a mixed bag with some being a bit lower than expected across the whole of northwestern Ohio.
Now to address the theme of this week’s column: due diligence saves dollars. What is due diligence? In a business context, it is signifying the research a company performs before engaging in a financial transaction. This concept can apply to both homeowners and farmers alike when making decisions about home landscapes or crop fields, and livestock. Examples of due diligence that come to mind include routine soil testing, researching which plant or tree varieties will thrive in a given landscape environment, scouting a corn or soybean field for disease and insect pressure and FAMACHA scoring sheep or goats for evidence of parasitic infections. All of the above are examples of due diligence that take place prior to making a decision that may or may not have a positive economic impact.
For grain producers, the markets are not exactly looking all too positive for this year’s crop. I encourage you to think long and hard about those “extra” fungicidal or insecticidal treatments that are not needed unless an economic threshold is crossed for a given problem. Remember those treatments that are “only $5 an acre” add up fast when corn is sub $4 a bushel.
In the yard or garden, taking the time to investigate both the positive and negative characteristics of a plant species and the family to which the species belongs can make all the difference in the hardiness and longevity of your investment. In this part of the world, soil type, pH and drainage are all important factors to consider. Disease and insect pressure would be next on the list. If needed, treatment can often be provided for insect damage and disease. However, improving drainage and soil structure can be more difficult and costly.
With equipment out and about, remember to share the road and be safe. I’ll end this week with a quote from Colin Powell: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Have a great week.