April 15, 2009

Spring temps bring thoughts of field, yard work

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

Although it was a little late arriving, it seems that spring is finally here, and that means it’s time to get to work both in the field and in your yard.
“Right now it is still a little early to get into the field,” says Dale Naze, North Dakota State University Extension agent. “It’s not early according to the calendar, just by the weather.”
With snow first falling in October and staying until April, it was a long winter, even by North Dakota standards, but you won’t hear many McKenzie County farmers complaining about snow, not after their recent struggles with drought.
“From a moisture standpoint it was a good winter,” adds Naze. “Now we just need it to warm up so the rest of the snow will melt and the ground can warm up enough so that we can get to work.”
According to Naze, most McKenzie County farmers were planning to get into their fields this week, but because the temperatures have been hanging around 35 to 45 degrees, it looks like field work won’t get started until at least the third week of April.
According to the North Dakota Agriculture Department the five-year state average for starting field work has been April 16, but this year they don’t expect field work to get underway until April 29, two weeks behind the normal.
 “Moisture looks good except for the extreme western portion of the county,” says Naze. “That combined with rebounding wheat prices has given area farmers a reason to be optimistic. All we need are a few 60-degree days and field work will really take off.”
Even though farmers are getting a late start, Naze says that the outlook around the county is one of guarded optimism.
“There is no field work going on right now,” says Kent Taylor, Taylor Ag Services. “We have had a lot of people calling to schedule fertilizing, but the fields are just too wet and sloppy right now.”
According to Taylor, even though farmers can’t get into their fields to start working, it’s the perfect time for area residents to get outside and start working in their own yards.
“Right now is the perfect time for people to start fertilizing their yards,” adds Taylor. “Spring fertilizer should be put down as soon as your yard is showing a little green.”
According to American Lawns, nutrition is the most important thing you can do for your lawn. A well-fed, healthy lawn has a better root system to combat heat, cold, drought, foot traffic and other stresses.
A spring lawn feeding strengthens roots and gets lawns off to a good start before the heavy growing season.
“Luke is busy fertilizing lawns right now,” adds Taylor. “After a long winter this is a great time to get a jump on your lawn to help keep it healthy all summer.”