Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas...

Owen practicing with the Illini 

Owen & Max playing outside in the recent snowfall

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Week ending December 15th...

Not much exciting going on right now.  The clean up of fall tillage and fertilizer equipment continues and year end tax planning and execution are top on the list.  We hauled corn out of our bins to fill our December contracts because we feared the Illinois River would close due to low water levels on the Mississippi River, thus stranding full barges on the Illinois River; but that hasn't happened yet. 

The weather has allowed us to keep working outside which is abnormal for December.  Due to changing guidance system brands, we have been out in the fields with the Ranger running all new farm boundaries and AB lines in preparation for spring.  These boundaries will allow us to do many different things with our new guidance system and the more we get completed now, the less we will have to do in the spring. 

A nice rain came through the area last night which brought much needed moisture.  While our area has been blessed with a few rains that others have not received, our tiles are still not running and that is concerning going into winter. 

Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone in Newtown, Connecticut.

The new planter has arrived... 

Mapping boundaries and making new AB lines with the Ranger

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Week ending December 1st...

This begins the winter blogging where finding pictures of farm equipment and daily activities become a struggle.  However, the work goes on.  This past week we continued to wash and put away the fall tillage equipment.  We also began hauling corn to the Illinois River terminals located 25 miles West of us in Beardstown.  Normally, this winter project does not start until later, but the threat of the river closure due to low water levels has local grain company's scrambling and requesting early shipments.  While we are hauling corn out of the bins, we are trying a new practice that we normally wouldn't to help lower the risk of testing positive for afloxtoxin in our grain samples.  According to neighbors who have already begun hauling their corn out of local grain bins, the center core is the most problematic area.  I will try to get pictures of that process for next weekend's blog update.

Meanwhile, the Christmas Holiday activities are nearing and the boys caught up with Santa on Saturday.  We now have officially communicated their "wish list" to Santa and he has all but guaranteed them delivery of long as they are good little boys...:)  I almost forgot to mention that Owen lost his first tooth this week.  That means we have seen both Santa and the Tooth Fairy all in the same week.  And let me tell you, inflation has treated the Tooth Fairy's payment plan a lot better than the Federal Government's...

Have a great week!

Owen & Max with Santa at Bomke's Patch

Owen was MVP of his basketball game this weekend.  Here he is pictured with his award and his coach, Mario.  Congratulations Owen on your six baskets!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Week ending November 24th...

The last of the field work is close at hand.  We have wrapped up all our anhydrous ammonia applications and now only have some in-line ripping to finish on our Greenfield farms.  The weather has turned much colder and dry again.  What tiles were running are no longer.  Recent forecasts have put chances of rain in them and then removed them as the time has gotten closer.  Our hopes of going into winter with the soils fully charged are being dashed quickly; although we know we are better off than a lot of other farmers throughout the Midwest. 

The new rail spur being built on the South side of Jacksonville is going up fast.  This new facility will hold two million bushels of grain and has the capacity to dump 20,000 bushels per hour.  This is the third rail shuttle facility to be built in our area.  And rumour has it that a fourth will be built North of us in Menard County very soon.  Read more about the Bartlett expansion at!

We continue to make 2013 seed and herbicide decisions as well as clean up fall equipment.  We hope to take in the Greater Peoria Farm Show this week too. 

 Loading the dry fertilizer into the strip-till bar 

Custom strip-tilling down in Loami 

The new railroad shuttle being built in South Jacksonville. 
Bartlett Grain expected to be online by July 2013.

The newer CaseIH tractors now take Urea to clean the exhaust so they meet the Tier 4 emissions requirements 

Owen getting in his last yard work of the year before the weather turned cold

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Week ending November 4th...

Another busy week around the farm.  Earlier in the week I attended the Ag Engage seminar in Decatur.  Myself along with Wentworth Family Farms from Downs, IL were asked to present on "marketing our business."  We discussed blogging, having a website, farm resumes, etc.  It was a lot of fun and we got to see many friends we had not seen in a while.

Later in the week the anhydrous ammonia applications resumed.  With the forecast of heavy rains coming we decided to run three toolbars to try and get finished.  The rains arrived slightly ahead of schedule, but we are very close to wrapping it all up.  The rains dropped an even inch on us which should get the tiles running as we head into winter.  The forecast is for sunny weather for the next 10 days which should allow us to wrap up our fall work.  We continue to wash and put away the harvest equipment.  And meeting season has started as we continue to work on end of year financials and cropping plans for 2013. 

Ag Engage seminar in Decatur 

Getting an early start as the forecast was for 100% chances of rain 

Slip plating the inside of the big grain cart - hopefully, this will make higher moisture corn slide down into the auger hole easier

Monday, November 5, 2012

Early November update...

Since my last update we have wrapped up our primary tillage operations and begun applying anhydrous ammonia where we plan to grow corn next year.  Clean up of harvest equipment continues and cropping plans for next year along with seed selections are being made.  Recent rain showers have continued to replenish our soils from this summer's past drought.  We are very close to having the field tiles and creeks start to run again.  These frequent rains give us short windows to wrap up field work. 

Tomorrow is Election Day.  Please make sure if you are registered to vote, you exercise that opportunity; regardless of which party or candidate you vote for.  Many of our ancestors have died in order to give us that right of democracy. 

Waiting on the ground to dry 

Fixing cracks on the grain cart frame 

 Adding tile to the Elkhart farm

In-line deep ripping on the Elkhart farm 

Strip-tilling outside Ashland

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Week ending October 20th...

Nothing new to report this week.  It has been a rainy and wet week.  Although we have been blessed recently with rainfall, our tiles have yet to run.  This means our soils are still not at capacity which is what we are hoping for as we go into winter.  We did sneak in on Wednesday morning and chisel a few acres before the rain rolled in around 2 o'clock.  The forecast looks good to get back in the fields this week and wrap up our chiseling.  I anticipate us to get started with anhydrous ammonia applications later this week along with the rest of the farmers in our neighborhood. 

Sitting at a stand still 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Week ending October 13th...

We wrapped up our 2012 harvest on Wednesday by cutting the last of the soybeans.  Fortunately, we saved the best yielding beans for last in Greenfield.  I'm not sure what to attribute these good yields to, but they were planted two weeks later and planted on ground that had been continuous corn for the past eight years.  Some of these beans were originally sold to Cargill at Florence across the Illinois River.  Unfortunately, the Department of Transportation closed the Florence bridge earlier this summer due to failing an annual inspection.  We opted to haul them clear up to Cargill at Meredosia which was a 90 mile round trip.  The distance combined with all the road construction on Rt. 67 made each trip even more interesting. 

Friday night storms rolled in and are still moving through.  So far we have received between 1.5 and 3 inches of rain.  This has halted all tillage activity and leaves us with 450 acres remaining to chisel.  Depending on the soil temperature, we may begin our anhydrous ammonia application next week.  Although, we like for soil temperatures to get at least 50 degrees or lower before we begin applying it. 

This week we will begin washing and putting away the harvest equipment.  We will also fine tune some of the last fertilizer applications and begin making seed decisions for next year's crop - yes, already...

Another load heading to the elevator 

Harvesting soybeans in Greenfield 

Ronnie Brown running the Turbo Disk on the Elkhart Farm

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Week ending October 6th...

More harvest progress this week allowed us to get within 200 acres of completing all our 2012 harvest.  Rains rolled in late Thursday evening which will keep us out of the fields the entire weekend; both with the combines as well as the tillage equipment.  We welcome the recent rainfall as our creeks and tiles are still not yet running from this summer's drought.  It will be nervous winter if we don't recharge our soils this fall.  It is essential to have our soils back at full capacity going into winter to ensure that our crops get off to a good start next spring. 

We finally found some good yielding soybeans at our Greene County farms this week.  These were following many years of continuous corn and sprayed with fungicide.  A pleasant surprise to end the harvest season on. 

Friday's rains allowed us time to catch up in the office and spend time with family - like attend one of Owen's soccer games.  Notice the sweatshirts in the picture; the rains brought with them colder temperatures plunging from the 80's to the 50's. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Cutting beans on the Reiser @ Ashland farm 

Last load from this field 

Owen playing soccer this weekend

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week ending September 30th...

Harvest continues to roll on.  Corn is wrapped up and the tillage crew continues to chisel and turbo disk the stalks.  Soybean harvest continues at a sporadic pace as last week brought a few rains which kept us out of the fields for a couple days.  We are now down to under a 1,000 acres of soybeans.  The beans we have harvested so far have been sub-average with a few disappointments that we didn't anticipate... 

Besides the hustle and bustle of harvest, we managed to work in a trip to the Pumpkin Patch.  Correction - it was my first and annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch as this was the boys 3rd or 4th trip the patch.  Every time they come home from a local patch they bring gourds or some new pumpkin to complete our collection.  Dare I say we now have a better display for Fall and Halloween than we normally do for Christmas.  Hope you are in the spirit at your house as well...

 Chiseling on the Quad J Farm
 One combine cutting beans at the U of I Farm
The other harvesting soybeans on the Clearview Farm 

Annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week ending September 22nd...

My apologies for not posting since September 8th.  The hard drive on my computer crashed and thus, I wasn't able to update our blog.  Yesterday, we wrapped up our 2012 corn harvest.  Yields were slightly better than we expected (+5-10 bpa), but still very poor for our usual 200 bpa standards.  We have combined 120 acres of beans so far.  The two fields were very green, but surprisingly tested quite dry.  Yields on the beans have ranged from disappointing to pretty common.  Not many farmers in our area are bragging about their yields this year. 

We continue to work on tillage operations, make fertilizer applications and mow roadsides and waterways for the final time this year.  All the while we try not to watch the markets as they have plummeted in recent weeks...

Last pass of corn for the year

Very green beans that were testing 10.5%

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Week ending September 8th...

Another great week of harvest.  We received 3 to 6" of rain from Hurricane Issac which helped replenish some of our dry soils.  Just one day after the rains stopped, we were able to resume harvesting our corn crop.  We are now 62% completed with our corn and 0% on the soybeans.  The soybeans are still somewhat green which we hope will result in more bushels.  We are 10-14 days away from even thinking about combining our soybeans.  That should allow us time to wrap up our corn and even get a jump start on the deep tillage. 
This past week we made the trip up to our north farms at Elkhart and Williamsville.  As anticipated, the yields were very poor.  Surprisingly, the moisture's were also much higher than anticipated but one field had significant wind damage.  Thus, we elected to take it out so it wouldn't get worse with any later storms or winds.  The weather has cooled down and it is now starting to feel like fall around here.
 Harvesting on the Quad J Farm South of Prentice


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Week ending September 1st....

Hurricane Issac arrived in Central Illinois mid Friday afternoon.  Along with it came a much needed 2.3 to 6" of rainfall along with cooler temperatures.  Going into the Labor Day weekend we sit at 45% completed with our 2012 corn harvest.  Numerous corn fields in our area have been harvested and a few of the smaller farmers are even done with their corn harvest.  Yields still remain variable, but we did find some better corn as we went South towards our New Berlin farms, however the moistures were also higher which slowed our progress. 

This past week we also spread lime on a few fields and worked that in with a disk.  Our hope is that churning the soil with the disk and Issac's rain would allow the lime to begin working in our soils immediately.  Not much tillage has occurred in our local area, but I imagine after these recent rains, many will begin.  We should have enough moisture now to allow us to apply our fall anhydrous ammonia which we use as nitrogen fertilizer for our 2013 corn crop.  If soils are too dry, the anhydrous will not bond to the soil particles and therefor leach into the atmosphere which is not good. 

No soybeans have been combined in the area yet, but I anticipate some will be ready the end of the week.  Enjoy your Labor Day holiday!

Disking corn stalks and incorporating lime into the soil 

Spreading very dry lime and no wind - looked like the field was on fire... 

Harvesting corn on the Reiser Cass County farm 

Minor set back... 
Filling the truck

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Week ending August 25th...

Harvest is now fully underway in our area.  We are nearing 25% completion with our corn harvest.  Moisture's have been as low as 17% and as high as 22% on the acres we have harvested.  We have other fields that are much higher in moisture and will wait on those to dry further before we combine them.  Yesterday's 90 plus degree temperatures and 25 mph winds blasted the corn and surely removed two entire points of moisture.  It also snapped the tops out of the really dead corn and made them look worse than they really are.  Our yields have been all over from poor to better than expected.  Our continuous corn acres are hanging in there and we cannot say there is a penalty.  That being said, the big differences are hybrid and planting date from what we have seen.  We have harvested a couple Poncho/Votivo 500 seed treatment trials and so far the PV500 is 2-6 bpa better which certainly pays for the added expense with these commodity prices.  We also had a Urea vs. ESN trial and measured virtually no difference. 

We continue to carve out our remaining fields at a rapid pace.  Rumors of aflotoxin in corn have been around, but we have not seen any in our fields yet. 

Be safe and please be patient with all farmers this fall as we move our farm equipment along on the back roads and highways. 

Harvesting corn on the Stelte field just East of Ashland along Rt. 125 

Max & Owen waiting for their first combine ride of the season 

Unloading into a wagon

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Harvest begins...

With corn planted the end of March and hot temperatures to bring it to maturity quickly, we began our 2012 harvest this afternoon.  The corn pictured below is Wyffels 7997 (114 day VT3 Pro) sprayed with fungicide.  Moistures bounced between 19-22%.  We had planned to begin harvest next Monday, but with the forecast calling for "severe" storms and chances of high winds, we decided it was time to start harvesting.  There are only a few neighbors running, but next week most all will get started.  We are still dry, which means we will continue to welcome showers if they keep us out of the fields.  We have never started harvest this early...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Week ending August 4th...

Not much action to report since my last entry.  A few neighbors have started corn harvest, but many will wait until the 13th or even the 20th.  Initial yield reports have been poor to very poor and grain moisture's have been all over the place.  We have received a little rain since last week which will help the soybeans although more will be needed to bring them along to normal maturity and yield.

The picture below is of a corn plant our neighbor has in his driveway.  It was just a kernel that found a crack and planted itself.  And it's planted in gravel no less.  I'm not sure if they have been watering it or not, but it has NINE ears on it!  That is hard to believe, but the yield potential of a corn plant is really impressive when the right conditions exist.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Week ending July 28th...

Not much new to blog about.  The temperatures and humidity have moderated, but still no rain.  At this point, the corn is as they say "what it is."  The beans may have a little more time to wait for a rain, but the recent heat and lack of moisture is taking it's tole.  Rumours of a few farmers in Illinois starting harvest have made the rounds, but we still think we will begin our harvest around August 13th.  It will be interesting to see how harvest goes as we have corn that is already black layered (~32% moisture remaining in the kernels) and we have corn that the milk line is only half way down all in the same row.  This makes setting combines and drying corn in the bins or in a dryer even more of a challenge. 

We continue to work on harvest equipment and on fall fertilizer plans as well as 2013 cropping plans.  Part of the the process that allows us to keep things moving is stock-piling lime during the summer so that when the fields have been harvested, the trucks can immediately begin spreading lime which allows the tillage equipment to begin soon thereafter. 

We are cheering for our Olympic athletics during their games in London!