Week Ending September 8th We have the machinery ready to go for harvest now. We are waiting on the corn to dry down some before we start. The corn is still above 25% moisture. The good news about this is that the corn and soybeans may have benefited some from all the rain we have had over the last couple of weeks. We have had over 5 inches of rain in some areas. The rains have helped to start recharging the soil moisture.
In checking over our corn dryer we found out that one of the 3 blower motors was not working so we had to take it out for repair. The motor is 75hp and weighs about 900 lbs so it was a little tricky to get it out of the dryer. It was suspended about 10 feet off the dryer sub floor and about 20 feet off the ground. We were able to get it out safely with some cables, pulleys, and the excavator.
We picked up some study desks for the new Nabor House fraternity building we are helping with this week. That project is coming along well and the guys should be able to get back into the house in a few weeks.
We are expecting that the corn yields will be highly variable. Pictures below show some ears pulled around the home farm. Within 2 feet of row you can find good and bad ears.
Week Ending August 26 We had a busy week on the farm. We hosted over 100 guests on Tuesday for our annual summer appreciation BBQ and open house. We had a great evening. We are very thankful for all of the people that we do business with.
Later in the week we hosted our peer group of farm businesses from around the US. We get together 2 times per year to learn from each other. This time we gathered at our farm. All the members of the group are also clients of Centrec Consulting Group in Savoy, IL. We had very productive meetings and gained great feedback from the group that will help us improve our business.
Harvest is fast approaching for us. We are now busy getting machinery ready and in place. We have been hauling machines to Farmer City where we will likely start corn harvest next week.
Below are some photos from this week as well as a drawing from one of our young land owners, Andy Rousonelos.
Week Ending August 19 We receive some nice rains in both Farmer City and Yorkville this week. The rains are a little late for the corn but they soul help the soybeans. Some of the pictures below show the current state of the soybeans. They are tall and healthy (about like the our kids in the picture with them).
We traveled to the State Fair in Springfield early this week where Kristine showed her metal craft corn plant. It did well and we had a good time.
Most of this week we spent cleaning up the farm for our annual customer appreciation dinner coming up this next week. We finished up some of our building projects and started getting machinery ready for harvest. Harvest is still a couple of weeks away.
Keith enjoyed learning how to run the mini-excavator this week. We decided to try to put his video game hand motion skills to work.
Week Ending August 4 This week finished with severe storms in the Yorkville area on Saturday. Rain totals ranged from 1 to 2 inches. High winds took down several grain bins and grain legs in the area. We were lucky to have no damage to any of our facilities. We did have some corn go down in the wind.
We have about 1.5 inches of rain in the Farmer City area with no wind. This was a very welcome rain for the soybeans we have there.
This was our county 4-H fair week for Kendall County. The kids did well including Kristine's welding project which was a corn stalk sculpture.
Week Ending July 29 We received a nice 1/2 to 3/4 inch of rain this week in the Yorkville area. This will keep the corn alive for a little longer.
We took some machines down to my in-laws farm in Lewistown, IL this week to take down a corn crib. It was a 60,000 bushel wooden crib. We took down the crib and took out the foundation. The crib was in the middle of the grain set-up which made taking it down a little tricky.
We sprayed for spider mites in the soybeans this week. Infestations were getting high enough to justify spraying.
Kristine and Karoline showed their horses at the Illinois State 4-H show this week. Both did very well. Karoline's highlight was Grand Champion western halter horse. Kristine placed 1st in her western pleasure class.
Week Ending July 21 The corn continues to struggle with the lack of moisture and too much heat. The soybeans continue to look good. Pictures below show the current crop conditions. The beans are past waist high and full of ponds.
One of the projects for the week was building new horse fence. We used the excavator to drive in the posts, saving a lot of work.
Week Ending July 14 Crop conditions continued to slide this week. The scatter rains missed most of our fields. We finished spraying fungicide on the corn that is worth spraying in the Farmer City area this week. Some of the corn is getting bad enough in that area that is no longer worth spraying. We sprayed some of the corn in the Yorkville area. Again it is hard to decide which if any of the corn should be sprayed. Without a rain soon corn yield potential will be hurt dramatically.
Pictures below show some of the field conditions this week. High areas in the fields or spots with gravel in the sub-soil, are dying quickly. Corn on good soil continues to hold on. There is not much we can do for the corn no except pray for a rain.
Week Ending July 7 Crop conditions continued to deteriorate rapidly this week. 100 degree plus temperatures set in for several days. The high temperatures and lack of rain have taken our crops from good to not so good in a short amount of time. It is disappointing since this crop was off to such a good start. We will need some rain and cooler temperatures to salvage the corn crop. The beans will hold on for while yet. They look OK despite the harsh conditions. The corn is being hit at a critical time as it is trying to pollinate.
Below are some pictures of the crop conditions this week. The corn is rolling up by mid morning due to the heat. Corn in high areas of the fields is quickly dying.
We started spraying corn and soybeans with fungicide this week. We are also spot spraying for beetles has we have had some issues with silk feeding in corn.
Hopefully next week will bring some relief to this heat wave.
Week Ending June 30 Our immediate family traveled out to Denver, CO this week to visit family and friends. It was a good week to get away from the farm as the crops were starting to look worse do to the lack of rain and high temperatures. Since we can not do much about it, a quick trip to the west helped us to focus on something else for a while.
We visited the Claas combine plant in Omaha on the way there. We toured Pike's Peak and the sites around Golden, CO while we were in the west.
While we were away we were fortunate to get some nice rains in some areas. A severe wind storm accompanied some of the rain, laying down corn, damaging some buildings, and knocking down trees. The corn later straightened up but still has some goose necking which will hamper spraying and harvesting activities.
Week Ending June 23 The crops continue to look OK this week despite the heat and lack of moisture. The corn in the north is about at the 10 leaf stage. The crop is shorter than it nomally would be at this growth stage. Corn in the south is about 1 week away from tasseling. Pest pressure so far has been minimal.
Below are some pictures of the crop from this week.
Week Ending June 16th We finished spraying soybeans for weeds this week. The crops continue to look good despite the dry conditions. We did recieve about 1/2 inch of rain on most of the fields on Saturday night, June 16th. The forecast for the upcoming week is for more hot and windy conditions. Hopefully we will get another shot of rain this week to keep the crop going.
We continued to work on some of our building projects this week. We lined the inside of our parts storage shed with steel, added an entry door, and poured some concrete.
We had a display a the "Touch-a-truck" event on Friday at the Oswego Prairiefest. It was a chance for kids to see farm equipment up close and get to ask us questions about the machinery and farming. We had over 200 kids come through the display.
Below are some pictures from the week.
Week Ending June 9th We finished up spraying corn for weeds this week. The corn and beans continue to look good but with another week of little to no rain, things are starting to get dry again. Corn in Farmer City is now waste high and entering the rapid growth stage where it will need some rain.
We started some summer building projects this week. We are cleaning out and rebuilding our parts storage shed. Orginally a "chicken house," the parts building had gotten over croweded and unorganized so we cleaned it out completely and we are in the process of reorganizing the parts. See photos from the week below.
Week Ending June 3rd We finished side-dressing corn this week. Thanks to Efren's hard work we were able to get over all of the corn ground in good time.
We received some welcome rain this week. We had about 1 inch in the north and about 1/2 inch in the south.
Week Ending May 28th
We finished spraying corn in Farmer City this week and moved back to Yorkville. Side-dressing is past half-way in the north.
Field conditions are starting to get dry. Farmer City corn is starting show the signs of the heat stress and lack of moisture. The corn is rolling up during the heat of the day. The corn there is now over knee high. It is growing fast with the heat but it needs a rain soon. Soybeans in Farmer City are looking good. They are about 10 inches tall and taking the heat fairly well.
Week Ending May 20th
We finished side-dressing corn in Farmer City this week and moved the applicators home to start around Yorkville. Field conditions are good but we could use a rain. Brad and Lee got started on spraying herbicides on corn this week in Farmer City. Weed pressure is low but it is time to get the weeds taken care of before the corn gets too big.
We spent some more time fixing field tiles this week. We are trying out a new tool on the excavators that will help us maintain the correct digging depth. The tool uses a combination of laser sensors and angle sensors on the booms to tell you how deep you are digging.
The corn scouted this week has a good root system already as shown in the pictures below. The relatively dry start has helped the corn develop some nice roots early.
Andy Rousonelos and his son helped us out this week by planting our sweet corn patch. Our air planters do not plant sweet corn very well. Andy’s mechanical planter did a nice job of getting our sweet corn in.
Keith is getting us back into the cattle business (in a very small way). He has two bottle calves that he is raising. He is finding out that they are a lot of work. Below is a picture of him teaching one of them to lead.
We are involved in helping to get a new Nabor House Fraternity built on the campus of the University of Illinois this summer. Both Brad and I lived there while in school. This week the old house was knocked down in preperation for the new building. See more about the building project at www.BuildNaborHouse.com.
Week Ending May 12th We started side-dressing corn with nitgrogen fertilizer this week in Farmer City. We are sidressing 32% liquid nitrogen with a Fast 60ft applicator behind one of the tractors and a second 40ft applicator on the front of the Hagie sprayer. Field condistions were fit to run Thursday through Saturday.
We also surveyed some additional fields this week in preparation for tiling projects this fall. We run the Ranger with GPS equipment over the fields to get an accurate elevation map to design the tile system.
All the corn and beans are up an looking pretty good now. Pictures of the early planted corn and beans are below. Corn is at the 4 to 5 leaf stage.
We will keep side-dressing and start spraying corn this next week.
Week Ending May 5th We had some nice rains over the past week, recieveing 2-3 inches in most places. We spent the week cleaning up the planters and other spring equipment. It seems strange to be putting planters away already when it is still early May. Hopefully we do not have to get them out again for any replanting.
We also spent some time this week getting a tanker set up to haul 32% nitrogen to the fields for side-dressing. We will start hauling nitrogen next week.
We hooked up our tile plow to its tractor this week. It will likely be a while before we use it but we wanted to make sure it will be ready to go. The tile plow is a Johnson Plow. We are mounting it on a Cat MT875. Grade will be controled with a Trimble FMx system with RTK GPS.
Week Ending April 28th We finished planting corn on Friday April 27th. This is the earliest we have ever been done planting. All the corn in Yorkville was planted in a week. Hopefully the weather will warm up now. We had some light frost on the last day of planting making me wonder if we are not pushing it too hard. However, the forecast is for warmer temperatures this week. We were fortunate to finish planting on Friday before the welcomed rains over the weekend. Some places received up to 1 inch over the weekend.
We are now getting ready to side-dress the corn. We are going to side-dress 28% nitrogen on all of the corn this year. This will be the third application of nitrogen. We applied 1/3 of the nitrogen in the winter, 1/3 with the sprayer ahead of the field cultivators.
Below are some pictures of this week's work.
Week Ending April 21 We had some welcomed rain in both Farmer City and Yorkville last weekend. The rain should help our earlier planted corn get off to a good start. We were able to get back in the fields in Farmer City by Tuesday. We planted soybeans through mid week. We finished up soybeans at about 3 in the morning on Thursday trying to beat the rain coming in. For once we were glad we ran late since it did rain the next day. Being finished with all the planting in Farmer City we could then move out and back to home with all the equipment.
We started on corn around the Yorkville area late in the week. Soil conditions are good but it is a little chilly. We had some patchy frost on the ground on Friday. The tillage and spraying crews have been able to get a head start since they came up earlier in the week.
We took some good pictures of the planters running this week at home from the top of the grain silos. We ran all three planters in formation. The pre-set guidance lines in the field allowed the steering systems to guide all the planters on the correct swaths.
Below are some pictures and videos from this week's activities.
Week Ending April 14th We had a good week of field work in the Farmer Cith area. We were able to get all three planters running which allowed us to finish up corn planting in that area by Thursday April 12th. Field conditions remained dry and fit for planting all week. Concerned about adequate moisture for germination, we planted corn deeper than we usually do to find moisture. Most corn was planted over 2 inches deep. We did find good moisture at that depth. We are finding better soil moisture levels on our corn-on-corn ground compared to the corn-on-soybean ground. The darker soybean ground may have warmed up earlier and dried quicker than the slightly stalk covered corn ground.
One of the changes we made to our field operations this year is using pre-set guidance lines for all of the field work. We had been using pre-set lines of the main row patterns in the fields in the past but not all of the headlands. This year we ran all of the headlands and odd rows with a Ranger outfitted with GPS and a Trimble FMx monitor so that we could record the lines to be used for all the field operations. Each time a machine enters the field it can bring up any of the lines in the field and be guided along any edge of the field and the main row patterns. This will improve our efficiency and accuracy in the field. The lines do take some time to set up and manange since there are typically 5 to 10 lines to manage in each field and they have to be set accurately to guide us around any obstactles. The pre-saved lines can be set up as straight lines and curves. The lines improve our traffic patterns since each machine follows the exact same line keeping every machine from the tillage tractor, sprayer, planter, and fertilizer applicator off the corn row.
Later this week we sprayed all of the ground going into soybeans in the Farmer City area. Field edges were sprayed with Round-up/24-D to knock down the early weeds. The entire fields were sprayed with a residual herbicide to hold back weeds until our first Round-up pass later this spring when the soybeans are up.
We started working the soybean ground and planting soybeans late in the week. It is early for soybean planting but we have had good luck with early planted soybeans in the past and we wanted to get the soybeans in and move the planters north to start planting up that way soon.
Rain haulted planting and field work by Saturday morning. However, the rain was very welcome since the fields needed a rain and we needed a break. A good rain will get the early planted corn off to a good start.
We started moving some of the machines home to the Yorkville area on Saturday.
Below are some pictures of the field work this week.
Week Ending April 7 This week was spent finishing up pre-emergence corn herbicide spraying and field cultivating. All the fields in Farmer City are ready to plant. Ground conditions remain dry, and we could deffinately use a rain.
We also finished getting all the planting equipment in position. All of the planters are now in use in Farmer City. We will be running two 24 row planters and one 36 row planter this year.
We started planting corn on Saturday, April 7th. This is well ahead of when we usually start planting, but the good ground conditions and forcast for warm weather has enticed us to start now.
Week Ending March 31 Spring field work officially got under way this week. We started spraying our premergence herbicide and leveling fields in the Farmer City area. We are using Harness Extra as our premergence herbicide in corn. We are sraying it with 28% nitrogen solution. The 28% is the second of three seperate applications of nitrogen we will make on the corn, trying to get the nitrogen to the plant as it needs it. The first pass was an application of amonium sulfate in the winter. We will also be side-dressing all of the corn with liquid 28% nitrogen this summer.
Field conditions were very good. It is abnormally dry in the area. It was tempting to plant some corn this week but we are waiting until we have less risk of being effected by a late frost. Weather permitting we may start planting corn in the first week of April which would be our earliest start date ever.
In addition to field work we are continuing to clean up ditches and fence rows. The great early spring weather has allowed us to get a lot of field maintance prjects done.
We have also be busy doing some field survey GPS work. We are re-running all of our field boundaries to get better GPS guidance lines set up for the auto-steering equipment. The goal is to have all of our field lines pre-run and saved in the equipment monitors prior to field work. The GPS survey work is being done on the fields we want to tile this summer and fall. We are generating topographic maps on the fields so that we can design the drainage systems to be installed later.