People ask often, "What do farmers do all summer and all winter?" After all, once the crops are all put in the ground and the spring work is done and then you just watch it grow right? What can you even do about it once it's in the ground. Just let it go!! Once planting is done, the farmers go to the lake, family vacations, ride horses and have leisure time until fall, right?
I can't speak for all farmers, but here those crops are like a growing child, you would never just let them go unwatched and uncared for! We put countless miles on our trucks and cars and when we can, we use 4-wheelers and gators monitoring the growing crop. Just a cowboy may turn his calves out to pasture, he monitors them, often on horseback. Farming is no different. Our crops just aren't as adorable as those mooing calves and grazing mama cows our on the prairie!
Early on, this monitoring is critical as we can head off weed pressure problem as well as insect issues that may arise. A pick up with a 4-wheeler is our go to, while the crops are small enough to allow the tires of the 4-wheeler to get through the rows.
Here Makenna is heading out with a little 4-wheeler to check on the crops in Coles county. She documents what she sees in and around the fields utilizing a crop scouting app on her I-pad and then reports back to Justin who then addresses any issues that she may find and he will head out that evening to check on anything that needs further investigation.
It is imperative to get across the acres early and often before the canopy gets too heavy. Weed pressure can be treated before it gets out of hand and early insect infestation can be stopped or treated if need be. Once the canopy is established it is more difficult to get through the fields because the beans are taller. Any weeds that have not been killed before the beans canopy will most likely need to be pulled by hand layer in the season, because spraying will no longer be effective due to the cover the bean leaves provide for the weeds. In other words the herbicide will not be able to get down directly on the weeds surface to do it's job.
Cowboys use horses to check their cattle. Farmers use 4-wheelers!