November 2010 We continue to work on some field drainage projects in Farmer City. We are using tandem scrappers behind one of our Cat MT875's to put in some surface drainage. One of the challenges is that the fields have very little slope so getting the water to drain the in the correct direction is tough. We are using GPS to control the scrapper elevation.
With harvest wrapping up early this year we have had some time for a little fun this fall. Below are some of the costumes we had for a Halloween party dressed as grain bins and a class project that young Keith had dressed as a combine.
Week Ending October 23 With harvest now done we are focusing on fall tillage work. Both Krause rippers are running long days and trying to get over the rest of the ground while the conditions are still dry. The rippers are pulling harder as we have moved east. We had been running 6 mph but we are now down to 4 mph as we have gotten into more compacted soils.
We are trying a Veris soil testing machine. The Veris will do ph soil tests on the go and record the data with GPS. The advantage of the Veris over hand pulled samples is that we are taking over 5 samples per acre vs. 1 every 2.5 acres. We also get the results on the go vs. waiting for lab results. We are running the Veris at 10 mph on 60 foot swaths. The Veris also takes Electric Conductivity (EC) tests on the fly. This data helps define the management zones in the fields. Below is a video of the machine running.
We have applied a lot of limestone this fall. With the wet conditions last fall we did not get much applied so we had twice as much to apply this fall to catch up with our soil pH management. Limestone applications should be wrapping up this week.
Week Ending October 16 We finished harvesting on Saturday October 16. This is the earliest we have ever finished. What a difference a year makes. Last year we were barely started by this date and we did not finish until early December due to wet ground and wet corn conditions.
Yields continued to be good on the fields we harvested this week. However, there where wide variations in yields within the fields due to drainage issues and hybrid differences. Some hybrids handled the excessive summer rains well while others did not. Side by side comparisons showed yield differences of up to 50 bushels per acre between hybrids.
Corn moisture levels continued to be very dry to the end with most corn less than 15%. One of the reasons we were in a hurry to get the rest of the crop out was our concern that moisture levels would continue to fall and we would see grain losses in the field.
The corn plant health continued to be excellent through our last field harvested. Nearly all the plants were still upright and looking very good to the end. There were even some green leaves remaining in some of the plants despite the fact that the corn kernel moisture was dry. We attribute this good plant health to the application of fungicide in mid summer.
Now that harvest is complete we will focus our full attention to getting caught back up with tillage and limestone applications. The tillage crew is in high gear and making good progress.
Below are some photos from this weeks work. We were able to test out a new Lexion 760 combine this week along our machine. It performed well and it has many enhanced features like a newly designed cab, light package, and residue management system that make it attractive. We will be considering upgrading our machine to a new model later this year.
Week Ending October 9 The incredible stretch of great harvest weather continued this week allowing us to run now for 5 weeks in a row with no harvest delays caused by the weather. Corn yields continue to be good, however we are finding some areas impacted by excess summer rains as we move to the east into Will county. We are now 90% done with harvest.
We enjoyed working with the marketing department from Claas this week as they filmed scenes of the new Lexion combine working in some of our fields. The film crew along with the helicopter buzzing our fields added some excitement to our week. The Claas people were great to work with and we are looking forward to seeing how their marketing materials turn out. Check out the new Lexion combines at Claas of America.
I addition to bringing out a new combine to use in the videos, they Claas people also brought out a Claas Xerion tractor which has a rotating cab. We had to try it out on a grain cart to see if we could run it backwards to load carts. Our method needs some refinement but we gave it a shot.
Below are some videos and pictures of this week's work and fun.
Week Ending October 2 We had another good week of harvesting. We have now been running for 4 weeks straight and we have had an unbelievable stretch of good weather. We have not yet missed a full day of running because of bad weather. What a difference a year makes. Last year we were not started yet due to the high moisture levels in the crop.
We continue to find corn yields at or above our expectations around Kendall county. Excessive summer rains impacted some of the lower lying fields but not to the extent that our central Illinois fields were. Moisture levels continue to run 17 to 20% with most corn now running less than 18%. The new dryer (installed last fall) is not getting much of a work out which is OK.
Much of the corn we picked this week still had good plant health as evident in the remaining green leaves and straight stalks. We are attributing this good health to the fungicide and fertilizer applications we made at pollination time. Yield checks so far show a 20 bushel per acre advantage where we sprayed fungicide over not treated areas.
Below are some photos and videos from this week's work.
Week Ending September 25th We finished up corn harvest in the Farmer City area on Thursday September 23rd. We held off on harvesting what we thought would be our best fields to the end and we were not disappointed. Most of the corn we harvested in the last week stayed above 200 bushels per acre which was a great improvement over some of the fields we found earlier in the season. Not surprisingly our best yields came from fields that were well drained and had fall tillage done early last year before field conditions got too wet.
Late last week we got the harvesting machinery moved back up around home and started corn there on Saturday. So far yields have been good with field averages around 200 bushels per acre. Moisture levels have been around 17%.
The tillage crew made good progress early last week in the Farmer City area. Rains that came late in the week have stalled progress on that front for a couple of days.
It is nice to be back around home sleeping in our own beds and getting to spend a little more time with family.
Week Ending September 18 We had a full week of corn harvesting with no delays for rain. Yields continue to be highly variable depending on how severely the fields were impacted by standing water in June. Fields with a little slope and outlets for surface water are yielding much better than those that lay flat and have poorer drainage. Corn on soybean fields are performing better than corn on corn. Our corn on soybean fields are yielding over 200 bushels per acre while many of the corn on corn fields are much lower. However, it is hard to make a direct comparison since our corn on soybean fields are some of our best drained fields.
We will start harvesting our soybeans around the Farmer City area next week. We have heard reports of some very good soybean yields and we are looking forward to how ours perform.
We had a little excitement this week when one of our grain carts got caught up in a power line. Luckily no one was hurt and very little equipment damage was sustained.
The tillage crew is making good progress and nearly keeping up with the combine. The ground continues to work up very nicely with the dry soil conditions. They are running right behind the limestone spreading trucks. Many of fields are getting limestone applications this year. Brandt's Consolidated is spreading the limestone based on soil tests we ran last year. Limestone is spread on the fields to offset acidic conditions found in the soil. We soil test and spread limestone on 2.5 acre grids across the fields.
My son Keith was able to ride along with us on Saturday. He enjoyed his first combine ride for the season and got to see some of the best corn we have harvested to date this year.
Below are some photos and videos of this weeks harvest. As a word of warning, Keith's video is not the most stable production.
Week Ending September 11 We started the 2010 corn harvest on Tuesday September 7th
in the Farmer City area. Yields have
been highly variable. Field averages
have ranged from less than 150 to 190 bushels per acre. Moisture levels have ranged from 16 to 24%
depending on the hybrids. The better
yields are coming from the fields that are better drained.
With excellent planting conditions, the early planting date,
and fairly good early season weather, we were expecting higher yields this
year. The low yields appear to be the result of
excessive rains in late June that flooded out some of the low areas and stunted
much of the corn combined with excessive heat and dry conditions in August
while the crop was maturing. As shown in
the photos below, many of the ears are short with aborted kernels on the
end. The crop aborted the kernels late
in the season. The kernels that did make
it are very small as a result of poor weather conditions in the kernel filling
time during August.
Weather and field conditions were good this week and we were
able to make good progress with the harvest. We have been able to get over up to 270 acres
per day with one combine. We are again
running a Lexion 595R machine with a 16 row head. The
good thing about having poorer yielding corn is that we can run faster but I
would rather be running slower in better corn. We feel fortunate that we are getting as good
of yields as we are since there are reports around the state of yields much
lower than we are seeing.
The tillage crew got started later in the week. With the dry soil conditions the fields are
working up nicely. We are running two Krause
Dominators this year. We usually run
them together in the same field using GPS steering to maintain their working
After putting in
several long days we took Sunday off to go home, go to Church, and get
in some family time before we hit it hard again on Monday.
Below are some photos and videos from this week’s harvest.