By CHUCK OFFENBURGER
COOPER, Iowa, July 3, 2014 — In the 10 years we’ve been coaxing our farm neighbors the Lawtons into give us a 4th of July corn check — to make sure we’re beyond the old outdated standard of it being “knee-high by the 4th of July” — the crop has never looked better.
Thursday morning, Doug and Karen Lawton met us at their 80-acre field on “the McNabb Place,” as they call it, and the corn leaves are stretching way above head-high. “It does look pretty good,” said Doug Lawton of the field that was planted with Curry Seed on April 21.
(The McNabb field, which the Lawtons have owned about 10 years, takes its name from Emmett and Irene McNabb, who once lived adjacent to the field and farmed it. Doug Lawton guesses it “was in the mid ’60s when they moved to town,” but it’ll probably forever carry their name.)
He said across the 1,600 total acres he has planted this year, the corn and soybeans all look good, except for just a little spotted stunting. “We had some early big rains, and that left a few areas that were too wet for a while,” Lawton said.
This was the first year he planted with his brand new John Deere tractor and planter, with Auto Trac self-steering for super-straight rows and maximum planting efficiency. In March, we went along when Lawton watched that tractor being built at John Deere’s Waterloo Works manufacturing facility, and you can read the story and see the photos right here.
So,. how’d the new equipment work? We recalled him saying he had to study a stack of operating manuals “9 inches high” and take some on-the-machine training from Deere reps. too.
“It went great,” Lawton said. “I figured it all out in time, and it worked really well.”
Doug and Karen pulled apart one cornstalk for us during our field check Thursday morning, found the beginnings of the tassel well down within the stock and predicted “it’ll be tasseling about 10 days from now.”
So here’s hoping for favorable weather and growing conditions the rest of the summer!
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