Thursday, March 31, 2016

Corn planting is near...

The farm has been a very busy place since my last blog post. Spring and pre-planting activities have consumed our time. We've been getting planters ready, leveling ground ahead of the corn planters, hauling out soybeans, fixing and installing new tile, and doing some dirt work where the post Christmas ten inch rains eroded some field edges and surface drains. Up until the last 48 hours, we were very dry and growing concerned about how dry we had become. In the last 48 hours we received anywhere from 1-2" of rain.

There has been a little corn planted in Central Illinois that we are aware of, but we are patiently waiting for the next opportunity. Next week they are forecasting more rain on Wednesday, but we may dry out ahead of that and get an opportunity to test the planters on Tuesday. The cooler daytime temperatures concern us and we are keeping a watchful eye on the ever changing forecast to make our planting decision. Today the USDA dropped a bombshell on everyone by claiming the US Farmers will plant 93.6 million acres of corn in 2016. While we disagree with these projections, unfortunately the market will use them to trade the next few weeks until weather is the sole focus.

On another note, we extend our best wishes for a quick recovery for David Younkers and Ron Brown who both work on our team. Between the two of them they broke their leg and had a knee replacement surgery. We look forward to seeing their smiling faces around the farm as soon as the doctor's clear them.

Leveling Fall chiseled plowed ground down ahead the planter.  

Andy Shireman replacing a 10" tile run on our University of Illinois Hunter #3 Farm.

Replacing a tile outlet on our U of I Farm.

Hauling some of the last soybeans we stored on the farm out to the Illinois River terminal.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday, March 4th...

We had an extremely rare stretch of warm winter weather that has allowed our soils to dry out from the winter and gave us an opportunity to get our final anhydrous ammonia applied. This past fall we seeded a few fields with a cereal rye cover crop and on those fields we waited until now to apply the nitrogen. We also waited to apply our South farm with spring nitrogen. Typically, we get all our ammonia applied in the fall, but with the current agricultural recession we are experiencing, we decided to wait and let the markets tell us which crop would be more profitable to plant. According to our budgets, corn is still king and thus we switched a few more acres away from soybeans. Now that our preplant nitrogen is complete we will shift our focus towards spring activities and soon corn planting season. 

Applying Anhydrous Ammonia Nitrogen fertilizer in 20" strips on a field that was planted to cereal rye in the late fall. Now that the Nitrogen has been applied, we will kill off the rye cover crop as soon as it begins to green up and come back to life. 

Taking another load of seed corn in preparation for our 2016 corn crop.