|Onions - mostly clean?|
Failure to control weeds one season can lead to weed issues in future seasons if you allow the weeds to go to seed and replenish the 'seed bank' in your fields. All it takes is one fall with the scissors and you can be wounded with five to ten years of increased weed pressure. We are still fighting the weed bank left behind in 2008 and 2010 when we had significant issues with wet fields combined with very few tools to deal with them. To give you perspective, we did not own a tractor on our farm until 2010 and it didn't really help us much until 2012.
I have heard the argument that if you have problems with weeds, you are doing something very wrong. A couple of sources suggest that you have over-extended yourself if you can't keep up. Others make the claim that you need to make better investments in tools. Yet others suggest that a weedy field needs to be taken out of production and put into alfalfa or something else for two to three years. And, of course, every one of these suggestions have merit. In short, they aren't wrong. But, they aren't always right either.
This year, we have been losing the overall battle against the weeds. The net result is that we're stuck with some of the more drastic weed control efforts (such as mowing things down) in an effort to prevent them from going to seed. Sometimes that means giving up on a crop. You could say that part of the reason for our problems is that we ARE stretching what we are able to do with the number of worker hours and tools that we have. But, if you aren't pushing the edges a bit you aren't really trying.
The main reason we're fighting the weeds more this year than most? We had twice the normal rainfall our area gets in June, which is our most important month for cultivation and getting ahead of the weeds for the season. We fought hard to catch up in July when things dried out a bit (we ran about 1/2 inch below normal). But, now we have had an August that has twice the normal rainfall for the month - and we still have a few days to go as of this writing.
Could we have done some things different? Yes. Should we have? Yes, in retrospect, we could have made some different decisions that would have given better results. But, need I pull out that trite saying about hindsight and 20/20 vision? Oh, I did already? Never mind.
So, here we are, running on uneven ground with a scissors in our hand. Or perhaps it's a butcher's knife or some other sharp object Mom would strongly recommend against our running while we are holding it. Let's just see if we can't keep the pointy end away from us this time around.