Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week ending October 12th...

We were able to sneak out a good week of harvest despite cloudy and occasionally rainy weather. We had one down day due to adding Rear Wheel Drive to the combine to help combat the wet harvest conditions. Finally, as we approached Saturday afternoon we were able to switch over from corn and work on harvesting soybeans. We had six hours of bean cutting and knocked out 118 acres adjacent to the town of Ashland. The good weather window was short-lived as today brought constant drizzle and enough sloppy weather to keep us out of the fields. Yields remain good. We are 53% complete on corn and 38% on soybeans. The most recent forecast is calling for another 1-2" of rain early this week. We are making more additions/changes to deal with the mud and try to get the remainder of our 2014 crop of the fields.  







Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday, September 28th...

Harvest continues to roll on.  After the heavy rains from early September soaked in we were able to get back into the fields on the 17th.  Since then we have been covering acres harvesting corn. Yields are still excellent. Our soybeans are maturing so we will be making the switch over to the platform head very soon. The recent warm temperatures of our Indian Summer have dried corn quickly in the fields and we are now harvesting 16-18% moisture corn with the occasional later maturity hybrid still holding at 20% moisture. We plan to begin our tillage, lime and fertilizer operations this week as well. All our man power of recent has been used to haul wet corn into our dryer site and then haul dry corn back out to our local grain bins or various elevators.  

While we were waiting for the soils to dry and corn to drop in moisture content, we harvested our 20" corn plot. The highest yielding entry made 281 bpa with a plot average of 257 bpa. We were pleased, but hopeful we might have an entry break the 300 bpa ceiling. We also harvested our 20" row vs. 30" row comparison which was planted adjacent to the big hybrid plot. The populations were 36,000 ppa for the 30" rows and 40,000 ppa for the 20" rows. The end result was a 24.3 bu advantage to the 20" rows.  While we are happy to see these results, we plan to replicate this test again next year.  


Unloading the combine "on the go" on the Davin field
Weighing an entry from our plot
Unloading another truck load of corn at our dryer site

Tom operating the combine as it comes to the end of the field

The grain cart unloading into a semi at sunset

Grandpa Tom and Max getting ready to take a combine ride after lunch

Owen wrapping up the baseball season with his Tigers team

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Harvest on hold...

Harvest on our farm began on Saturday, September 6th.  Unfortunately, the harvest activity was short-lived as the rains set in early Tuesday morning and did not stop until Wednesday evening.  Over the course of those 36 hours we received six inches of rainfall. As you might imagine, this was not welcomed since harvest had started. 

Prior to the rains we were able to take out a 120 acre field and were very pleased with the yields.  When we began the corn moisture was around 25%.  Two days later the moisture's had dropped almost four points to 21%.  That quick dry down is good for corn and it also means we hopefully can use less propane to dry it down to 15%.  The rain delay will set us back more than we would like because the corn has a variety of stalks diseases and with each and every rain and wind event more stalks collapse.  So the race is on once it dries up to allow for more field activity.  In the coming weeks many of our soybean acres will also be ready.  

Be safe out there and please use patience and caution when passing or meeting farm equipment this fall!

Harvest has begun!

6" of rain in 30 hours provides for a lot of excess water

Aerial view of our scale project

Setting the last section of the scale with the crane

Ed from Southern IL Scale driving the weight cart to calibrate the scale

Ron Brown welding on the auger cart

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day...

The countdown to harvest continues.  We are getting things ready as the corn dries.  Our hope is to begin harvest on Monday, September 8th.  By then the moisture level should be 25-26% which means it's time to start.  In the meantime we are catching up on a few projects.  I've included a few pictures below.  Hopefully, the next time I post it will be harvest photos from our farm.  

41,000 ears of Wyffels Hybrids 6487 in 20" rows will add up to a good yield.

Sudden Death Syndrome is quickly affecting our soybeans.  Hopefully, this doesn't equate to a lot of yield loss.

Trimming trees on our farm on Nortonville.

The concrete for the scale at our grain drying site has been poured and is ready for the steel scale.

Max playing soccer.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August 13th...

Where did the summer go?  It seemed like just yesterday we were finishing up planting and now we are quickly getting ready for school to start and the State Fair to wrap up. We continue to mow roadsides and work on summer projects. We are quickly turning our focus to getting the harvest and fall tillage equipment ready.  We are also embarking on a scale project at our grain drying facility which has yet to start...  The moderate summer temperatures have pushed back our initial harvest start date from September 2nd to at least the 15th.  Corn is not stressed at all and we are starting to see where we could harvest the single biggest corn crop we have ever experienced.  As far as the soybeans go we don't really have a grasp on how well or poor that crop could be.  Typically, the soybean crop is "made" in August and so far we have experienced cool temperatures with ample moisture.  Only time will tell if the soybeans like this weather.  As you can see from the pictures below I am starting to get the hang of flying our drone.  


Cleaning out the last of the grain bins.  This was the 2nd to last load.  Always fun to clean out bins in August...

Loading up scrap steel and iron to be taken to the salvage yard.  In this picture Bob is loading up an old grain bin fan that no longer works and had to be replaced.

A view of our main farmstead Southwest of Ashland

Aerial view of our 37 entry corn plot.

Looking down on our narrow row corn comparison; 30" rows on the left and 20" rows on the right.  39,000 plants per acre in the 20" rows vs. 36,000 ppa in the 30" rows.
Max & Owen helping pick sweetcorn

Replacing the 35 year old rotten boards on our machine shed.  Ron Brown and Phil Smith did a great job!

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28th...

The summer continues to fly by with the days counting down until harvest starts.  We have been busy scouting our fields for diseases and insects and in some cases as the picture below shows we have been spraying certain corn and soybean fields as needed.  Summer work continues with mowing roadsides and emptying the last of the grain from the bins. To date we have experienced unbelievably cool weather which is wonderful for the corn. This allows the corn to pack weight in the kernels giving the fields extra yield and heavier test weights.  Although the cool weather is great for people and the corn, it is delaying harvest by not allowing us to gain all the growing degree days we are accustomed to. Originally we had planned to begin harvest immediately following Labor Day; now it appears like it may be the middle of September before we ever start.  This enjoyable weather is also doing a wonderful job of masking how dry we are in our area. While we did catch a general rain last week, we are still somewhat dry.  

The jury is still out on our soybean crop. They are tall and lush, but we've seen tall beans yield poorly in the past too. Beans typically like warmer and drier weather and early on they had to withstand wet soil conditions. Despite all my comments about the weather, we currently have the highest yield potential of any corn crop we've ever raised. The traders on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange have certainly figured that out too and have lowered both corn and bean prices significantly.  

Other projects around the farm have been hauling limestone and piling it in fields where we plan to spread it this fall. We used to be able to have lime hauled in after we harvested the fields, but due to new demand and lower margins in crushing rock into fine powder we are finding that it is very beneficial to stock-pile the lime in the summer months and have it ready for spreading come fall.  We've also been hauling rock for driveways and other projects as we start getting ready for harvest.  Today we winterized the sprayer and water trailer with hopes of getting them put away in the back of shed later this week.  

I'm still getting the hang of operating our drone so still not too many pictures from it yet.  I actually crashed it a couple weeks ago when it got too low to the soybeans.  Between flying it and figuring out how to operate the camera it's like learning to ride a bicycle all over again.  Until next time... 

Aerially applying fungicide and insecticide on our soybeans.

20" rows of tasseled corn going up the hill on the Elkhart farm.

Stock-piling limestone on our Williamsville farm.

Aerial shot from our drone where we removed a couple fingers of trees prior to planting.  No nitrogen was applied in these spots and you can certainly tell that by the yellow corn.  This is on our farm South of Nortonville.

Owen & Max's first Cardinals game of the year.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 6th...



It has been many days since my last post.  Our crop continues to be on pace to have tremendous potential.  Most of our corn is pollinating right now in this cooler weather which is ideal.  Most of our soybeans look excellent; although our fields near Jacksonville and Greenfield have received significant rainfalls which slowed growth, made them grow uneven, and even turned them yellow in the lower spots.  They have made a good recovery, but the weather in August will make the real difference.  We have been busy spraying the last of the soybeans, mowing roadsides, and scouting corn for any leaf diseases.  As of today, the corn diseases are few and far between which is a good sign. The markets have figured out that we all planted a few more acres of soybeans and have taken that market lower.  As many in our occupation will attest to, marketing your crop is the single hardest aspect of our business.  

As you will see below in the pictures we have purchased a Crop Copter which is a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or drone.  Our plan is to scout our crops aerially as well as look for any wet spots we need to tile or weed escapes we need to go back and address.  It's like learning to fly a helicopter while sitting on the ground looking through goggles.  I haven't lost it yet, but I did almost crash it because it ran out of battery power.  I hope to take more videos and photos from the air for my next post.

Enjoy your summer!


Tassels on our Gooden field.  Notice the height difference between the two hybrids.

Spraying soybeans in Williamsville.

Rough day for the tractor mowing roadsides resulted in a flat tire.

A 1st Generation European Corn Borer that has drilled into one of our nonGMO corn stalks.

A Crop Copter drone which we recently purchased to aerially scout our fields.

View of the drone in the air looking down on Dad and I.