Saturday, May 28, 2011

Week ending May 28th...

The majority of the week was spent indoors catching up on paperwork and jobs inside the shop. We received anywhere from 1.27" to 2.61" of rain and that was before today's rains which totaled another 1.1". The crops are growing, but warmer temperatures would be welcomed along with some drier soil conditions. We also discovered an outbreak of Black Cutworm in a few of our fields and we will be spraying baythroid as soon as the soil dries out enough to get the sprayer across.

On another note, three tracts of almost perfect, well-drained central Illinois soils sold for an average of $11,300 at auction this week. That's a new record and proves that the land market is still red hot. As we mention in our core competencies, our location and the soils around our immediate area prove to be in hot demand.

Since I didn't have any photos from the week I decided to post a few pictures of how Grandpa Mears used to plant. As you can see, he was an entrepreneur with an "all-in-one" planting rig. We now drive 45 miles south of our base of operations and plant these farms in a day and a half. I'm sure Grandpa just smiles and shakes his head in amazement from the heavens above.

Enjoy your Memorial Day and please remember to proudly display your American flag this weekend in remembrance of those who have given their lives to protect our freedom.

May 1967

Sunday, May 22, 2011


What a of late afternoon on Friday we wrapped up planting soybeans. We also called it quits on replanting more corn barring any more wild weather. We also covered numerous acres of corn this week with our final post-herbicide applications. This year we are using mostly Bayer products; Capreno and Laudis - these two products allow us to have a planned, one-pass herbicide program. We are also adding Stratego fungicide to our Laudis herbicide in hopes of reducing the anthracnose disease development in our continuous corn. This is our first year of experimenting with this so we have many check-strips planned to see if our investment pays off.

We also made the decision to leave what remains of our Monday, April 18th corn planting over near Chapin. As you may recall, we were chased out of the fields that evening by heavy rains with an extended period of cold weather and more rain which did not help our plant populations. Our stands vary everywhere from 35,000 plants per acre to 22,000 ppa. After repeatedly walking these fields we felt their was just no good way to spot in more seeds without tearing up what we already had out there. Thus, we decided to leave it as is and hope for the best since it is nearing the end of May.

We also made time to get in our last planting of sweetcorn. We have numerous patches of sweetcorn and try to spread out the pollination to ensure that we have a plentiful supply all summer long. Sweetcorn is one of summer's great treats.

Spraying Capreno herbicide on the corn at Williamsville.

A beautiful field of corn as the sun comes up in the hazy distance.

Spotty emergence on our lighter soils in Chapin. The smaller plant will make it, but odds of a competitive yield are not good.

The seeds that did not emerge over at Chapin look like this. Periods of cold and damp weather confuse the plant as it tries to emerge. A thick crust of soil above was even more of a hindrance.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Week ending May 14th...

What a week! We finished corn on Sunday evening and then focused the remainder of the week on spraying corn and planting soybeans. Every direction you looked this week field activity was occurring in our area. Rains rolled in late afternoon yesterday and halted tillage and spraying, but the bean planter continued as the rains missed that field. We are now over 60% completed with our 2011 soybean plantings. The recent warm weather has the crops growing fast and most of our last planted corn has already emerged. This past week we also decided to replant some of our corn over in the Chapin area. As you may recall, this corn had a beating 1.5" rain on it immediately after it was planted on April 18th. The quick rains created ponds and drowned out our corn seedlings. On Wednesday, we headed over to Chapin and ended up replanting 25 acres of ponded out holes or thins stands. We could end up replanting more, but we are waiting to see how many more of the seedlings emerge with today's rains.

Loading the bean planter

Planting some additional corn seeds in thin areas

Thin stands on lighter soils following heavy rains - this was even strip-till...!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Corn planting is done...

Planting corn on the Elkhart farm with Elkhart Grain in the distance

A rear-view snapshot at our 45' Krause Landsman

Planting the Alexander @ Lincoln farm

33 days after we began planting corn on April 6th we finally finished yesterday evening. What normally is a marathon of planting and tillage, turned out to be just mere days of opportunity where the pace felt more like a sprint in order to get as much planted before the next rain. Our early planted corn looks good, but our corn planted April 18th near Chapin is by far the poorest stand we have. Lighter clays soils worked ahead of a 1.5" rain turned out to be a way to make "concrete" out of the top inch of the soil making it impossible to get even emergence of our seedlings. We are hoping that this week's forecasted showers and high temperatures will bring the remaining viable seedlings to the surface. In other lower areas where the water stood for extended periods of time we will have to spot in some additional corn due to the water causing the seedlings to rot.

As quickly as one planting season ends, another begins as we started planting soybeans today. More pictures and updates on soybean planting next week - weather permitting...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Planting corn and coveralls...

Yesterday we were able to get back in the fields. We also planted our plot which included 44 hybrids from six different companies; Wyffels, Pioneer, DeKalb, Channel, AgriGold, and NK. Thank you to David Younkers and Brad Hobrock for helping get the plot planted. The weather was unusually cold for planting the plot as most of us had two coats on and some even wore coveralls to stay warm. Temperatures are forecasted to become warmer after this morning's frost and our plan is to continue to plant until either the next rain or we are finished.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

BACK in the fields...

We were fortunate enough to miss the heavy rains the past couple weeks which allowed us to get back in the fields on Friday. Earlier in the week we completed more jobs around the shop and continued to haul corn to the river terminals. Field activity resumed with spraying herbicides on previously planted corn fields. Saturday we began planting again around the Ashland area. Our time in the field was short-lived as rains set in on Sunday afternoon around 4 pm and put us out until the warmer temperatures and wind arrive. We have now eclipsed the half-way mark of our 2011 planting progress.

Loading corn into the hopper bottom trailer

Planting on the Stelte field - Saturday

Spanning the horizon from the seat of the planter tractor

Looking back at the planter from the tractor