Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Soybean Harvest

This soybean field is right near the cemetery on what I call the Route 3 Cut-Through Road, aka Windsor Road. I think. (Such details elude me. Every minute of every day. That's why I make up my own names like Route 3 Cut-Through Road.)

Driving by I saw this combine harvesting the beans and quickly turned into the cemetery. Grabbing my camera, which is definitely not what people usually take on a walk through a cemetery, I crept up to the edge of this field, aimed carefully and took several pictures. The poor guy driving the combine saw me. The people who were visiting their dearly departed loved ones saw me. It wasn't as if I could just turn around and pretend that I was photographing something else - because what would that be? A plastic flower arrangement? A headstone, perhaps?

(Never mind that there are no headstones at this particular cemetery. There is a mausoleum, though. Why is it that the thought of being stuffed in a mausoleum causes me more thoughts of claustrophobia than being buried in a casket in the ground? Really, is there any escaping either one? And what difference does it make if I'm no longer alive? Why would I need to escape? These are the sorts of thoughts that preoccupy me when I'm off my medication bored at work.)

Anyway, this was taken about a week or so before Hurricaneaster Ida, the storm that would never end. The wet fall has put a hurting on crop harvesting, and many soybean fields have gone to waste. "Put a hurting on" is a very technical farming term which means "negatively impacted."

But please don't take my word for it. You'll be better off that way. Here's what the
Richmond Times Dispatch said recently:

Last week's torrential rainfalls have caused damage and delays to some Virginia farm crops, but the extent of losses is unknown, some agriculture experts said yesterday.

Several crops that were recently planted or still in the fields were hurt by the widespread, three-day deluge, including winter wheat, barley and soybeans, said Molly Payne Pugh, executive director of the Virginia Grain Producers Association.

"There is definitely going to be damage," Pugh said. "I don't have a good feel for how much yet. Right now, we are assessing."

...The state's soybean and cotton crops also are a concern now because the rain further delayed an already late harvest.

Soybeans, a $134 million crop for Virginia farmers in 2008, generally have had a good year in 2009, with yields estimated at around 37 bushels per acre, higher than the 32 to 33 bushels-per-acre trend of recent years, said Wade Thomason, an extension grains specialist at Virginia Tech.

But wet weather during the spring planting season made the crop late, and more delays will reduce yields.

Yesterday it rained all day long. Guess what they were calling for last night? Rain. Winds from the northeast, 20-30 miles per hour. Today? Rain. Winds from the northeast. Everything from the northeast. Northeast this, northeast that.

Poor soybeans.

How has your fall/autumn been? Has it been rainier/dryer/hotter/cooler than usual?

If you owned a soybean crop and most of it could not be harvested due to the weather, what would you do? Do farmers have insurance to cover lost soybean crops?

Somebody please explain. Thank you.


Ann Marie said...

I know nothing of this farming thing that you speak... nothing at all. beans.. what are those???

I will tell ya it does affect water dwelling creatures. Too much fresh water and run off into the Bay and BLAM no working. Fun stuff.

I know it is Tuesday but I have a couple of bullets and instead of numbering them as we do on Thursday I shall letter then so that we can distinguish the fact that I do know it is Tuesday and not Thursday.

A. I call it cobbs creek cut through.. cause the other one is the Glebe cut through and you have to be able to tell the difference if you are running from the cops and need a diversion put in place. I mean calling home to Mom to let her know exactly where you are.

B. Disregard the end of A.. that never happened. In this decade at least.

C. I always have my camera when I go walking in cemeteries. Is this wrong?? I am not sure but I think they like it. Not once has anyone tried to run away or do the duck and hand shove. Most sit perfectly still and listen to me yammer away while I snap their picture. Good Listeners that bunch.

D. At the risk of looking insane C really has happened more than once.

E. I don't like beans.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

The farmers, I think, get subsidized for their crops, but I don't know the particulars of how much normally versus how much in the event of crop damage due to acts of Mother Nature. Either way, it's a tough racket to be sure.

Our autumn has been milder than usual, as was our summer. This is a blessing for us as we've been able to keep our heat turned way down, and, as a result, our utility bills have been lower. The only downside is, we have an awesome fireplace and love a raging fire therein, but it really hasn't been fire weather but a couple of times so far.

I was in Target last night and there were rows of sleds in the toy department. Such a hopeful sign, the sleds, but it's been a few years since there was real sleddable snow in Maryland. I don't know why they bother anymore.

Caution Flag said...

I hope they have insurance, but if they don't couldn't the government just step in and give them a bailout loan? Of course, then the government would own the soybeans and could tell the farmers they have to let an Italian farmer have their soybeans now. And then some very sexy Italian soybean boss would always be in the local news and the farmer's wife would so enjoy looking at him.

Mrs F with 4 said...

I don't know how it works in the US, but certainly I remember many sweaty-palmed days at home praying that it would (or would NOT) rain, depending on the time of year, and waiting for three straight days of sun to harvest the hay... and if the crops failed? Or foot-and-mouth disease strikes? You're buggered. And hungry.

I adore old cemeteries - our (tiny) village church was built in around 1275 - and it's a favourite place for me to wander on visits home and mutter gently to myself.

How is Mark coping with sudden fame? Or is he running scared now you have unleashed the Hounds of the Female Bloggers on him?

big hair envy said...

When you come over Friday, we are going to PUT A HURTIN' on some turkey and wine!!

We have a number of friends in our county who farm. It's hard, thankless work. Not to mention the fact that it only takes ONE storm to ruin a season. God bless our farmers!!

Daryl said...

Rain .. its happening right now .. here .. and will be happening daily through Sunday .. AND while I dont know one road from another, Kate was the navigator she's better than a GPS, I do know that I always have my camera (I sat here for a good minute trying to remember what the heck I was going to type before I went off on the Kate GPS aside ... had to go read AM's comment to remember .. OY

And how embarassing for me Bud left a comment on my blog and I didnt recognize his name - seriously BUD? - so I sent him a 'canned' reply, realized it and sent him a personal reply ..

Now I am going to go shut the front the door and get back to work ...

Eudest .. I am indeed the eudest

Kate said...

My Dad always refers to it as County Line Road.... I didn't even know it was called Windsor Road! Ha!

As for the combine and the farming, Mr Lewis kept his combine behind the chicken coops, and us nosey kids would go snooping during the summer. That is quite a large vehicle up close!!

WV... hostpona... what a combine becomes when nosey kids start poking around. LOL

Mental P Mama said...

Wait. You are going to BHE's on Friday? Waaaaaah. I think out fall has been really wet, too. And now it's already looking like winter. My heart goes out to every single farmer. Happy day;)

joe blow said...

Crop insurance covers cost lost not profits lost I believe.

Farming is a gamblers game. You rely on the mercy of God and mother nature.

True the government subsidizes but it's not enough to make money. You have to have knowledge and skills to get good yields and then but futures or have a place to dry and store the crop $$$$ until prices are right. It's a constants fight to make a dollar although you can make a lot of money if everything goes right. Thus the gambling.

This is a link to data from USDA.


The farmers I've talked to say the libs/socialist are using the bay to drive them out of business and they are making their way across the USA until the farmers are gone.

We are witnessing the destruction of Americas wealth and business.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Another great read that gives insight into the state of farming in America is Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Check it out.

Country Girl said...

It's been a very wet fall here in Maryland.

TSannie said...

Well, I've spent quite a bit of time in various cemeteries photographing them! It is not at all weird behavior! I said so!
Tombstone Annie

foolery said...

You do know what the farmer who won the lottery planned to do with his winnings, don't you?

"Farm 'til it's gone."

It's in their blood, which is both noble and futile, honorable and sad.

But thank heaven for them, and I hope they survive this rain.