Renewable Farming

This cover crop is mushrooming in Iowa

Toadstools and various other fungi are popping up along the endrows of our test strips here in northeast Iowa, spawned by nearly continuous warm and damp weather.

Farther east in Indiana, one of our farmer clients said they’ve had only two days in June where sprayers could navigate the fields.  

Today, we touched up some non-GMO soybean plots with postmerge herbicide. This was just 24 hours after the last half-inch of rain, and soil wasn’t clinging to the tires of our Hagie high-clearance sprayer. We left a track, but the soil wasn’t sticky.

We attribute that mellow, absorbent soil structure to three successive seasons of applying one ton per acre of calcium sulfate, plus an aggressive fertility program to build abundant rooting. More roots, better soil structure!   Mushrooms apparently think so too…  they love organic matter.  We are seeing flotillas of these, growing as big as dinner plates.

We get our calcium sulfate from BRT of Ladora, IA, one of our WakeUP distributors. 

Even with the wet weather, so far we have seen no sign of disease problems in our non-GMO corn.  We have identified Goss’ wilt in fields around us. Dr. Anne Vidaver, University of Nebraska plant pathologist (emeritus), tells us that Goss’ wilt is present throughout U.S. corn growing areas, and has been identified in Canada. 

Crop scouts are on the lookout for fungal diseases.  Farm Journal’s website offers some scouting advice at this link.

Mushrooms in Iowa cornfield… just before July opens


The NOAA map of rainfall departure from average for May shows that the normally dry Plains received the greatest additional amounts. That’s leading to weed emergence in winter wheat. The June map could look similar to this.

Midwest rainfall for the entire 2015 growing season through May isn’t drastically out of line with the long-term average. You can track further data on rainfall at this link to NOAA maps.

Six month precip as a percent of long term average

May 2015 precip as percent of average