It has been a challenging time for the Cotter family. Uncontrollable and unforeseen events due to family medical concerns have put Tom behind. Thankfully, his family is doing well, but there is a road to recovery ahead.
“The medical problems with my dad (stroke) and now grandson (kidney issues), I have fallen behind a little bit on soybeans,” said Tom Cotter during a recent phone interview. “I am just starting to spray my first post pass on my soybeans.”
Tom’s cover cropping program has been a blessing during this time. The weeds in most of his fields are still small.
“I have one field that I grazed, where the rye was really short, where I did have weeds come through. I have got that about half sprayed, I need to finish that. Thank goodness the rest of the fields had really good rye cover on it, we have got little one-inch weeds in those fields,” said Tom.
He is confident that a pass with Roundup will be able to knock those small weeds down.
The one field, where the rye cover was not as thick, is showing some larger ragweed plants. Those will be more of a challenge for Roundup to take care and it is getting too late in the season for a full treatment of Flexstar.
“I am actually just going to go out, about five hours out there we can probably pull everything because there really is not all that much,” he said.
Hand pulling weeds is perhaps not the favorite method of weed control, but it is effective.
Tom grazed his cattle on his pre-planting soybean fields into the first part of May. He then let the fields rest about a week, giving the rye cover a chance to grow back, before he no till planted the soybean crop.
“Fields are way behind, but actually one of my first fields and my last field looks really good,” he said. “I am kind of all over the place, this year was not a great year for soybean stands. I have got good fields and I got bad fields. We will see how it ends up at harvest time.”
The next step for Tom is for the canning company to come out and harvest his canning crops. He will begin mixing the cover crop seeds that will be planted following harvest.
His neighbor and friend has a few fields of peas, which will be harvested first.
“I do not have peas, friend of mine, Tom Finnegan does, but they look great. This heat right now probably is not the best for them, but he got like an inch and half of rain the other night, just about perfect. I think he will be sitting pretty good,” he said.
Tom estimates his sweet corn fields are less than a month away from harvest. They have all tasseled out and are looking good.
One field in particular is very impressive. The field was strip tilled in the spring, but was not planted until around June 10.
“I was really happy that we had stripped tilled it, because when I planted it, it was like 90 degrees out and windy. I would have hated to dig that up,” he said.
Tom decided not to go back to that field to spray a post emerge herbicide. While there were some weeds in the outer couple rows, he felt it was not significant enough to warrant the cost and time of spraying.
“What little bit is only the first two rows and I think we can just walk through and pick that in a half hour. The rest of the field looks so dang good,” he said. “Actually, it looks like a garden. It is just really one of the nicest stands of sweet corn.”
(Source – http://www.minnesotafarmguide.com/news/producer_reports/behind-on-weed-control-cover-crops-make-up-the-difference/article_28d316ba-7629-11e7-8dfa-471f85d06e81.html)