Sunday, May 21, 2017

Planting wraps up...

We finished corn planting on Thursday, April 20th.  We immediately started planting soybeans and were rained out on Wednesday April 26th.  Since that time we have received anywhere from 5-9" of rainfall.  We actually feel fortunate with those amounts as some in extreme Southern & Eastern Illinois have received upwards of 11-13".  Our Williamsville farm missed a lot of the heaviest rains, and we were able to get back in the fields on Mother's Day.  We planted the 415 acre Williamsville farm on Monday and Tuesday morning took off on the 4.5 hour drive to Greenfield with a pit stop back at our shop to change out the soybean seed from a 3.4 maturity to a 3.9 maturity.  While the 20" row planter moved from North to South the Kinze split-row planter worked around Ashland and Pleasant Plains and finished up the remaining soybeans.  We had two fields of cereal rye planted last fall as a cover crop that we terminated ahead of the big rains.  Unfortunately, those wilted and created a mat of residue which prolonged the fields from drying out and thus we had to be patient to plant them back to soybeans.  Due to all the rainfall, we do have some areas in local fields that have ponded water in them to the point where it killed the seedlings that had emerged.  We replanted those areas on Thursday, May 18th with our four row planter.  We use this smaller planter and tractor so we reduce the amount of "good" corn we drive over and tear up while replanting these spots.  As luck would have it the evening we replanted those spots it rained another 1.3" and then again the next evening with another 1.0".  Apparently someone has made Mother Nature mad.  Either that or we are severely paying for the 70 degree weather we experienced in February. We shall see what we get to replant the next time it dries out.  Until then we will start spraying post-emergence herbicides on corn and begin mowing roadsides making them look good ahead of the upcoming Sangamon County Fair in mid June.

A view out out the back of the planter tractor as we planted soybeans on our Williamsville farm this past week.

A corn plant the morning after a severe wind storm went through the area. The winds picked up the drying soils and blew them for miles.  When the wind blows soil like this it is almost like sand-blasting corn.  This is not ideal for corn trying to recuperate from multiple inches of rainfall. 

Planting soybeans in Greenfield on the Emerald Acres field.

After nine inches of rainfall on our Greenfield farms, this what the soil looked like after it had dried.  We worked the soil on this farm right ahead of the heavy rains. The soil cracked after it dried out exactly where the rear blades of our Salford tillage tool ran.

Replanting corn in holes that were drowned out from all the recent rains.


Hauling rock from the quarry in Hillview back to the farm for our new grain bin soon to to be built.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Planting season...


We started planting corn on April 12th and by the 20th we were finished with only a day or two out on account of rains.The weather turned colder on the weekend of the 22nd, but we started one of the soybean planters and as of today we are about 65% complete with our bean planting. The majority of our corn has emerged or is very close to breaking the soil line. Temperatures eclipsed 80 degrees during most of our planting season which really helped to get the seeds started off on the right foot. The forecast for us this weekend is for another 3-4" of rain in addition to the inch of rain we received Thursday night. Only time will tell what our crops will look like after this weekend. Be safe everyone. 

Our early corn has emerged nicely.

Our row clutches working perfectly at planting speeds up to 10 mph.

Corn seedling pushing through a slight crust.

Drone picture of Bob planting no-till soybeans on the Yatesville farm outside Prentice.

Prairieland FS getting the nonGMO soybean pre-emerge herbicides on right ahead of an on coming rain.

It's not all roses as we do have break downs which require repairs outside our expertise.

Getting the corn planted in a hurry with the high-speed planter.

Planting soybeans into our rye cover crop.

A little closer aerial view of planting no-till soybeans on some hills outside Ashland.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spring is here....

Planting season is nearly upon us. In fact, there are a few acres to our South that have already been planted. We have been busy getting equipment ready to go as well as taking delivery of more of our spring inputs such as seed corn, seed beans, insecticide, herbicides, and some additives for our starter fertilizer. Recently we have been on a rain delay due to much needed rains. We have been severely dry since the later half of last fall and those conditions continued through winter. The three inches of rain in the last week have given us a better outlook for the 2017 crop. Now if we could just get the commodity prices to cooperate a little better... The kids have wrapped up their basketball seasons and are now on to baseball. You can tell spring is here as the yard mowing season has also commenced. Hopefully the next time I post I will have pictures of our planting operations. Be safe this spring!

Working on the planter inside our shop. With today's machinery, we've quickly out-grown our shop built in 1979.

The guys from Yetter Manufacturing helping convert our Track-till system from pneumatic to hydraulic.



Burning an old hog building one our farm outside Ashland. It had not been used for many, many years and was literally in the middle of a field so it was time to go.

Working ground down ahead of the rains. When we work ground and it gets a rain on it, we usually won't re-work it before the planter arrives. We call this a "stale" seedbed. This typically works good to seal in the moisture for the corn seedling.

Loading hay headed for the relief efforts for the Oklahoma & Kansas wildfire victims.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mild winter...

Winter continues to fly by. It seems as though we were just celebrating Christmas and now we find ourselves on the 1st of February. In a mere 60-70 days we may be planting corn. The weather continues to be mild for us with less than three inches of total snow fall all winter. Today we took advantage of the close to 50 degree temperatures and did a little tree trimming on one of our farms outside Pleasant Plains. There is no frost and we are dry enough that the excavator left very little tracks in the ground except where he turned. 

We continue to deliver grain for our bins on farm as well as take delivery of the seed we will be planting this Spring. The occasional meeting as well as kids basketball games occupy the remainder of our time.

Trimming trees along a property line with an excavator. This machine makes quick work of over-hanging limbs and under brush.




Cleaning out a small bin of corn into the semi.

Running the sweep cleaning soybeans out of a small grain bin.

A full barge of soybeans headed to New Orleans is pulled out and an empty barge below is re-positioned under the spout along the Illinois River in Beardstown.