Crops knee high by fourth of July despite weather

While it’s plenty hot right now, the start of summer was cool and rainy. Many farmers had to start planting their crops later than usual.

Darin Von Ruden is a third-generation farmer in Westby, who harvests corn and hay for his cows. He said while the weather threw off his planting schedule at the beginning of the season, it’s starting to get back on track.

You might have heard the saying before — knee high by the fourth of July. It refers to the heart of the corn crop, which should come up to about knee height at this time of year.

“Some are shorter and some are taller, so if you go with an average then you’re looking at what’s going on for the whole field,” Von Ruden said.

While it’s doing well now, the crops had to play catch-up to make up for the cold weather at the beginning of the season.

“A lot of the farmers in the area especially weren’t able to get corn planted in May, the first part of May, when they wanted to,” Von Ruden said.

The rain is what threw off his plans. He started planting some crops but then had to wait until the storms stopped. By getting off schedule, the worry is the crops will be affected by more typical dry conditions in July and August.

“If that happens, the crop won’t mature the way it should,” Von Ruden said.

And if it isn’t matured by the beginning of fall, the crops might be hit by the first frost.

“If we happened to get a frost in mid-September or so, there might be a lot of corn that doesn’t mature to the level it needs to,” he added.

Von Ruden is hoping that Mother Nature keeps the crops on track, so he can have enough cow feed for the season.

“It’s getting to looking more and more like we’re going to get a good crop out of it this year.”