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The Last Windrow: I'll stick to doing my own crop report

My crop report is not sponsored by anyone but me. I know and believe what I see, not what someone tells me unless I can trust them like I trusted my dad.

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Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

Crop report. Recent. Western Minnesota, northwest Iowa and northeast Nebraska. Personal account with no further help from crop reporting services.

My family and I traveled through the flatlands of Minnesota, the western Iowa and northeast Nebraska hills a couple of weeks ago to one of what may be the last of my Class of 1965 reunions. At least that's what some of the organizers said after seeing to the details of the reunion.

Everyone had a great time. I think.

Anyway, as any former farm kid might do, I took note of the farm crops along our traveled route. The drought is the subject of numerous news reports lately.

Funny how when the price of our cornflakes might be raised by a crop shortage, we seem to take notice. If the hamburger in our cart goes up more than a cent or two a pound, we don't like it. If radishes are missing from our grocery shelves, we don't like that either.

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Droughts can do that, and that may be happening in certain places this year.

One might think by listening to the crop reports that every farmer is in trouble this year. I would argue that. As we passed through Minnesota from north to south I saw certain patches that were completely dried up and wouldn't make a decent crop. Then as we traveled 30 miles farther, the crops looked high and lush. Soybeans as high as a kitchen table and corn stalks reaching for the sky.

Just in a short distance crops went from terrible to terrific.

Northwest Iowa was no different. Certain areas looked like a bin buster crop was due and the next county looked like it might not make silage.

But, there was more good crop than poor in that part of the country. And, no irrigation pivots were visible in most places, meaning that rain had come at opportune times. There will be a crop in northwest Iowa this year.

Even the river bottom land was growing crops this year versus the past few years when those same areas were covered with flood water.

We ventured to northeast Nebraska where my Aunt Vera resides in an assisted living facility. Aunt Vera is 100 and we found her munching on popcorn inside the community room watching a movie. She was as happy to see us as we were to see her and we visited between the exciting scenes of "Swiss Family Robinson."

I made mention of the drought that was happening in parts of the countryside. She replied, "I've seen a lot of droughts. They usually get over in a year or two."

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Then back to the popcorn bag. Aunt Vera was never one to overextend her wording. She was a teacher all her life. Enough said.

The crops in that part of Nebraska look like record crops to me. Horizon to horizon fields of soybeans and corn shimmered in the summer sun. All looked terrific, even to the tops of the long, rolling hills where in my past the corn dried up at the top. Not this year.

One farmer was mowing third cutting alfalfa and the crop was so thick the stems didn't have room to fall to the earth. There is hay in parts of the country even if hay is in short supply in my part of Minnesota.

I don't play the grain or livestock markets and I'm glad I don't because this year it's anyone's guess as to what crop will actually hit the bins. Stone-faced ag reporters are suggesting that overall the grain crop will come in adequate or large and prices will slide. Others forecast a slimmer view and hint that prices will go up.

No one seems to know where the livestock prices will head as we get out of the summer barbecue season. I don't know about you, but I'm about done grilling for the year.

My crop report is not sponsored by anyone but me. I know and believe what I see, not what someone tells me unless I can trust them like I trusted my dad. Otherwise, it's just someone's guess who has an oar in the water in regard to what benefits their sponsor or company.

My garden? The crop report is good if I can get to the cabbage before the grasshoppers do. I'm irrigating heavily in northcentral Minnesota. Aunt Vera is still munching on her popcorn. She's seen droughts before.

See you next time. Okay?

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