Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday, August 31st...

A little slower two weeks as we turn the corner towards harvest.  This past week we set both the generator and the large Lp tank for our dryer project.  Work continues as we focus on wiring and building the entrance and exit to our facility.  We have also continued to mow road banks and get harvest equipment ready.  

Later in the week we attended the Farm Progress Show in nearby Decatur.  It was one of the hottest shows we've ever attended, but it did allow us to visit with many exhibitors and see products we are interested in for our business.  Our main focus was trying to find a way to decrease the compaction in the corn rows that are adjacent to the transport tires on our planter.  At the moment, it seems we have two options; 1) an air system that allows us to inflate/deflate the tire pressure from the cab of the tractor and 2) tracks for our planter.  Luckily, we have a little time to make that decision.

Harvest appears to be 2-3 weeks away, although a few of our neighbors may try some corn in the next 10 days due to early delivery incentives and commitments made in early spring.  We are experiencing one of the driest August's in recent years.  Our corn crop is tolerating this hot and dry weather fairly well and we anticipate a 170-200 bpa average yield.  On the other hand, the soybeans depend on August rains and to date those have been non-existent.  We are on the cusp of having the worst yielding soybean crop in the last 20 years if it doesn't rain soon.  

Taking the 18,000 gal Lp tank off the trailer and putting it into place on the concrete piers

Making sure the generator gets set correctly so the wiring goes as planned

The generator is set

Max's 3rd birthday celebration

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday, August 18th...

It has been a busy two weeks since my last post.  As you can see from the pictures below, we have had a variety of jobs in the past few weeks.  We are close to wrapping up hauling all our remaining corn from our grain bins.  Our grain dryer project is progressing nicely, but the biggest push will be in the next couple weeks to get it wrapped up and ready to go for a mid September harvest.  

On Friday of this week, Owen started his 1st day of Kindergarten.  He was a little apprehensive to get on the school bus, but once he returned home he reported that he enjoyed his time at school.  I can't believe we are already sending a child to Kindergarten - where did the time go?  This week will be busy with a full week of school, basketball camp, baseball games, and throw in Max's 3rd birthday....

While the recent weather has been great for humans and animals, it has taken a toll on our corn crop.  The majority of our corn pollinated in the hottest week of the year and on top of that we were a little dry during that week as well.  However, despite the wet and delayed spring, our corn crop showed early on that it had tremendous potential. Unfortunately, with the cooler and overcast weather we experienced immediately following pollination, the corn plant couldn't keep the massive yields were we carrying. We have now pulled back the tip kernels on the ends of our corn ears resulting in a 30-50 bushels per acre yield loss.  We are still very dry and would take a rain anytime, but we are still hopeful we can hold the 200-215 bpa corn we now have.  Even though it's not the 250 bpa corn we had two weeks ago, it's still a 100-150 bpa better than we harvested after the drought of 2012...!

Loading corn from one of our grain bins
Bartlett Grain's new rail shuttle facility on the South side of Jacksonville
Installing a new 15" dual wall plastic main tile through a waterway on the Reiser farm
Disking the weeds down on our Prevented Planting acres
Crane lifting the 18,000 gal. Lp tank from it's former position on to our trailer
Tank is loaded and ready to be moved
Owen ready for his 1st day of Kindergarten
Applying a Priaxor fungicide & Insecticide trial to our soybeans

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday, August 4th...

The past two weeks have been very busy around the farm.  We have multiple projects all going on at once.  This year we are adding a grain drying system to our operation.  While most deem a grain dryer as a necessity, we have farmed for many years with only "in bin" dryers.  We have traditionally waited until corn was 19% or less in moisture to begin our harvest and store this corn directly in our grain bins on the farm. The decision was made to purchase the dryer back in January; which looking back now with the delayed planting and cooler weather, looks like a really lucky decision. The dryer will really make a difference this year, but more so it was purchased to give us a two week head start on harvest while we waited for corn to dry down in the field like in a "traditional" year; whatever that is anymore.

We have also spent many hours in our corn fields the last few weeks scouting for insects and diseases.  Fungicide applications have been concluded for the year on our corn with us spraying just under 50% of our corn acres.  Our nonGMO corn was also sprayed with Prevathon, which is a new insecticide from DuPont.  This virtually eliminates damage from ear worm from pollination through the next month.  Ear worms can be a big problem in nonGMO corn because they damage kernels by eating through them as well as chewing through the ear tip exposing it to fungus and toxins.  

Between scouting and the grain bin project, we have also be hauling the last of our corn and assembling the chisel plow we will use this fall.  When someone is free from those activities we have sprayed corn field edges to kill the morning glory vines that seem to like to grow there and of course mowed road sides and waterways.

According to Growing Degree Day calculations based on our planting dates, it seems harvest won't be starting until mid September and could easily span all the way through November.  Traditionally, we have harvest operations completed by Halloween.  It may be a year where we have harvest, tillage, fertilizer, lime and anhydrous applications all going on at once... 

Putting the finishing touches to the new concrete pad for our wet bin

Piers for the bulk Lp tank were poured this week

Grain dryer is set

Applying fungicide to our corn

Almost appears he is spraying the road

A glistening morning dew

Assembling our chisel plow