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!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Week ending July 14th...

Another week without rain.  The corn crop continues to deteriorate, while the beans seem to be holding their own.  A week ago we thought our corn crop could still average over 150 bpa, now we have lowered that to 110 bpa and it will get worse without rainfall soon.  The corn on our northern farms is either dying or dead.  One farm even received 2" of rain last Sunday and it still is going to die.  We are out of time and out of moisture.  Hopefully, the beans will receive a rain soon or they too will begin to die.

While experts argue whether or not this is a repeat of the 1988 drought, we believe yield levels on our farm could rival or come in below that of 1988.  Here is what our farm averaged in 1988 - Corn 86 bpa; high of 101 and low of 54.  Soybeans - average of 34 bpa; high of 38 and low of 29.   

Wind damaged corn on our Elkhart farm 

 Poor pollination at Elkhart

Corn starting to die on our Williamsville farm.  This is on very good, black dirt soils...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Week ending July 7th...

100 degree temperatures were the norm this past week.  Luckily, cooler weather has arrived today.  It also brought with it some much needed rain on our North farms, but nothing around the Ashland area or our southern Greenfield farms.  After checking the over-night markets, it seems as though they are again responding with higher prices since rainfall was disappointing over the weekend. 

We continue to haul corn from our grain bins and when it's not too hot, we are working in the shop on our planter.  Our corn crop continues to look very good considering the circumstances.  With the help of an adjacent well, our sweet corn crop continues to produce.  Today, our family cut and bagged an entire truckload of sweet corn and then later froze it so we can enjoy it all year long.  Below are a few pictures of the event.  The boys call it "Sweet Corn Day." 

 A good ear despite the lack of water and rolled up leaves in the background

A view of our lower corn canopy.  We want as much sunlight interception as possible.  Our stalks don't look bad, but are starting to deteriorate. 

Working on the planter in the shop 

A view of our plot along the highway 

Owen and John washing sweet corn ears 

Max and his Uncle Ryan bagging the sweet corn 

What a work crew!  And what a mess!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Week ending June 30th...

Drought.  Commodity traders have taken notice and responded with much higher prices.  Daytime temperatures over 100 degrees are starting to take their tole on our corn.  While their is little we can do about the weather, we have been doing our best to keep the Japanesee beetles at bay.  Last week we sprayed our southern bean fields with insecticide to keep them from chewing more holes in the soybean leaves while we wait on the next rain.  We also sprayed a few of our bean fields around the Ashland area for a late flush of waterhemp that made it through our last past of RoundUp. 

Enjoy your 4th of July holiday!

Post-spraying waterhemp on soybeans 

Japanese beetles chewing on soybeans 

Owen really worried about the drought...