Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28th...

The summer continues to fly by with the days counting down until harvest starts.  We have been busy scouting our fields for diseases and insects and in some cases as the picture below shows we have been spraying certain corn and soybean fields as needed.  Summer work continues with mowing roadsides and emptying the last of the grain from the bins. To date we have experienced unbelievably cool weather which is wonderful for the corn. This allows the corn to pack weight in the kernels giving the fields extra yield and heavier test weights.  Although the cool weather is great for people and the corn, it is delaying harvest by not allowing us to gain all the growing degree days we are accustomed to. Originally we had planned to begin harvest immediately following Labor Day; now it appears like it may be the middle of September before we ever start.  This enjoyable weather is also doing a wonderful job of masking how dry we are in our area. While we did catch a general rain last week, we are still somewhat dry.  

The jury is still out on our soybean crop. They are tall and lush, but we've seen tall beans yield poorly in the past too. Beans typically like warmer and drier weather and early on they had to withstand wet soil conditions. Despite all my comments about the weather, we currently have the highest yield potential of any corn crop we've ever raised. The traders on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange have certainly figured that out too and have lowered both corn and bean prices significantly.  

Other projects around the farm have been hauling limestone and piling it in fields where we plan to spread it this fall. We used to be able to have lime hauled in after we harvested the fields, but due to new demand and lower margins in crushing rock into fine powder we are finding that it is very beneficial to stock-pile the lime in the summer months and have it ready for spreading come fall.  We've also been hauling rock for driveways and other projects as we start getting ready for harvest.  Today we winterized the sprayer and water trailer with hopes of getting them put away in the back of shed later this week.  

I'm still getting the hang of operating our drone so still not too many pictures from it yet.  I actually crashed it a couple weeks ago when it got too low to the soybeans.  Between flying it and figuring out how to operate the camera it's like learning to ride a bicycle all over again.  Until next time... 

Aerially applying fungicide and insecticide on our soybeans.

20" rows of tasseled corn going up the hill on the Elkhart farm.

Stock-piling limestone on our Williamsville farm.

Aerial shot from our drone where we removed a couple fingers of trees prior to planting.  No nitrogen was applied in these spots and you can certainly tell that by the yellow corn.  This is on our farm South of Nortonville.

Owen & Max's first Cardinals game of the year.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 6th...

It has been many days since my last post.  Our crop continues to be on pace to have tremendous potential.  Most of our corn is pollinating right now in this cooler weather which is ideal.  Most of our soybeans look excellent; although our fields near Jacksonville and Greenfield have received significant rainfalls which slowed growth, made them grow uneven, and even turned them yellow in the lower spots.  They have made a good recovery, but the weather in August will make the real difference.  We have been busy spraying the last of the soybeans, mowing roadsides, and scouting corn for any leaf diseases.  As of today, the corn diseases are few and far between which is a good sign. The markets have figured out that we all planted a few more acres of soybeans and have taken that market lower.  As many in our occupation will attest to, marketing your crop is the single hardest aspect of our business.  

As you will see below in the pictures we have purchased a Crop Copter which is a Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or drone.  Our plan is to scout our crops aerially as well as look for any wet spots we need to tile or weed escapes we need to go back and address.  It's like learning to fly a helicopter while sitting on the ground looking through goggles.  I haven't lost it yet, but I did almost crash it because it ran out of battery power.  I hope to take more videos and photos from the air for my next post.

Enjoy your summer!

Tassels on our Gooden field.  Notice the height difference between the two hybrids.

Spraying soybeans in Williamsville.

Rough day for the tractor mowing roadsides resulted in a flat tire.

A 1st Generation European Corn Borer that has drilled into one of our nonGMO corn stalks.

A Crop Copter drone which we recently purchased to aerially scout our fields.

View of the drone in the air looking down on Dad and I.