Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day...

For the week we were able to plant 138 acres of corn where it was dry enough on Monday.  Bob also touched up 35 acres out of an 80 that needed replanting and spotting in due to poor or no stands of corn plants at all.  We have managed to plant all our intended corn acres with exception of the two farms that continue to be wet.  We have already decided to switch a field that had nitrogen applied last fall from corn to soybeans because it is just too wet.  I don't remember ever having to take preventive plant as part of our crop insurance, but this may be the year.  The drop dead date for corn in our area is June 5th which is right around the corner. 

On a brighter note, we did have areas that were dry enough to begin planting more of our soybeans, so we switched both planters over from the corn to soybeans settings.  We had a good two days of soybean planting and we were able to cover half of our intended acres.  

Rain set in on Saturday and has dropped sporadically all weekend.  Totals are now approximately an inch.  This slow rain will help our last planted corn emerge, but will also keep us out of the fields until early June.  When it dries out, we will try to wrap up our 2013 planting season, get our sprayers started on corn and begin mowing roadsides as the grass has a tremendous head start on us.  

Please remember to hang your flag out today as a sign of appreciation to all those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  

Owen & Max riding along in the tractor 

My co-pilots on Friday evening 

Command central - a look at all the monitors it takes to operate our planter 

Hauling seed beans back from our dealer 

Tom headed out to try out the new double basket crumbler

Bob greasing the Kinze planter 

A view out the back window of the tractor

Needed a little help getting out of this soft spot I found while planting soybeans Friday evening

David power washing on the planter

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Planting progress...

We have had an extremely busy week since my last update.  Last Monday afternoon we were able to resume our field operations and worked continued an entire week through Monday evening, May 20th.  I am happy to report that we covered a lot of our corn acres and are now down to the final 20% to be planted.  We even got a few acres of soybeans planted on our North farms while we waited on farms further South to dry out.  It was the fastest we have ever planted the bulk of our corn crop.  Many late nights and early mornings were put in by all the owner's and employees and for that we are extremely grateful.  The warm temperatures have given our newly planted corn a jump-start and within six days of planting the corn was emerging from the soil.  The same was true for the soybeans we planted.  Rains Monday evening totaling 1.5" will keep us out of the fields for a little while.  The forecast looks wet for the next 7-10 days which may push us back into June.  Our area continues to be one of the wettest in Central Illinois, but many farmers have made significant progress in the past week.  While we don't have all our corn planted yet, we are very thankful for what we were able to get in the ground last week.

Planting no-till corn at the Lehmann Farm 

Dad adding extra bags of seed to finish out the Martin farm

Soybeans emerging six days after planting on the Elkhart farm

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Week ending May 11th...

Another wet week.  Just as we were almost dry enough a forecasted half inch to an inch rain dumped another two inches on us around the Ashland area.  Our south farms received about the same while our North farms only had an even inch.  We are beyond wet and saturated.  Our first planted corn is emerging and looks good.  When the next planting window presents itself we plan to plant both corn and soybeans at the same time. 

Even though we would like to be in the fields planting, the rain delay has given us ample opportunity to hunt the local timbers and woods for morel mushrooms.  Owen even made his first trip to the woods to look for mushrooms.  He found an entire 1.5 pounds - not bad for his first time out. 

We remain positive that we can still achieve high corn yields if we get the crop planted soon.  Another week of zero planting progress will dash those hopes, but we will see what Mother Nature has in store for us.

Owen found his first morel mushrooms 

Our corn planted May 1st has emerged 

Plenty of rain 

Excessive rainfall still leaving the field; 18 hours later 

At least the ducks like all our water

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Week ending May 4th...

I am proud to finally post that we began our 2013 corn planting season last Tuesday.  The warm temperatures and high winds dried the soils out enough to allow us to start planting on a few fields that we had worked back in early April.  Normally, we can plant quite a few acres in day but we had three separate issues that held us back as we planted on Tuesday through Thursday.  These ranged from seed bridging in the planter tubes, to a bad auto-steer sensor, and finally the new skinny tires.  The skinny tires were intended to split the planter rows, but as it turned out our ground is so soft the tires sunk into the soil almost an entire foot deep and created a mess for the planter rows that followed behind them.  So after one round, we unhooked the planter and headed back to the shop to put on the original tires that came with the tractor.  These bigger tires worked much better.  All together we managed to plant 15% of our intended corn acres; mostly at night after we fixed the problems...

The rains set in Thursday evening and have dumped another 2.0-2.8" of rain on our farming area.  At this point I am not sure if we will get back in the fields this week as the forecast is calling for another shower on Thursday.  However, we are happy to have some corn seed in the ground as some of our friends around the state have not had that opportunity.  And although we had to work through them, we are glad and hopeful that we have worked the kinks out of our planting operations.

The first box of seed being loaded into the planter  

60 feet at a time 

David leveling ground ahead of the planter 
Loading the planter with more seed and starter fertilizer in the dark