Week Ending August 23rd We had a good week both in terms of weather and activities on the farm. The week started off dry with the corn showing more signs of drought stress. However, we were fortunate to get 1 inch of rain on Thursday in the Yorkville area which will help out the crops significantly. We could still use some rain in central Illinois where conditions continue to be dry.
Monday of this week we picked up our new combine. It is a Claas/Lexion 780 machine. This is a class 10 machine. It has a lot of new features including a new cooling system and more horsepower. We are looking forward to getting it to the field this fall.
Tuesday we hosted our annual farm appreciation dinner. We had over 100 people out to the farm. The big attraction for the kids was the Claas combine bounce house that we borrowed from Claas for the event.
Below are some pictures from the week including our new combine and our appreciation dinner.
Week Ending August 18th We have been getting things ready for our annual farm open house and barbecue. We have been polishing up the equipment and washing down the shop.
We usually have some activities for kids at our open house including some type of "bounce house." This year we were fortunate to be able to borrow the Lexion combine bounce house from our friends at Claas. The combine arrived this week and our kids got a chance to test it out. It is very cool.
Field conditions continue to be dry here. We have been short on rainfall for over a month. After the very wet spring we have now unfortunately gone back to dry conditions. Hopefully we will get some rain soon.
Week Ending August 11th We finished spraying soybeans this week with fungicide and insecticide this week. Field operations are now done until harvest starts.
We have been hauling out the remaining corn in storage and getting machinery ready for harvest.
Field conditions remain dry. The high areas of the fields are starting to show signs of moisture stress.
Week Ending August 3rd Soil conditions keep getting dryer here. It would be good to have some of our rains back that we had too much of back in the spring. Crop conditions are still much better than they were last year.
We spent the week getting the ditches and pastures trimmed up.
The Kendall County fair was this week. Kristine's corn project got a blue ribbon.
Week Ending July 27th We finished spraying fungicide on corn and started spraying soybeans this week. The crops continue to look good but we could use a rain.
We were able to get back to one of our tiling projects from last winter to finish up some work on the tile inlets and outlets this week. The pictures below some of that work. It was a little warmer working on this project now than it was fighting the frost last year.
The kids showed horses at the Illinois State 4-H horse show this week. Both Kristine and Karoline did well.
Farming Update for 7/22/2013 We started spraying fungicide on corn today. We are spraying foliar fertilizer along with the fungicide to give the crop one more shot of fertilizer. The fungicide will help hold back any late season diseases, keep the corn greener into the fall, and help with keep the corn standing into harvest. As shown in the video below, the corn is tall. The Hagie sprayer appears to be swimming in the corn. We are running with the boom all the way up to make it over the corn that is 10 feet tall in places.
The crop continues to look good. We could use a rain after a streak of 90 degree plus days. We have a few root worm beetles feeding on corn silks but they are not too bad at the moment.
Below are some pictures of the current crop conditions plus a photo of Keith and the dogs hunting a mole in the front yard. So far the mole is still winning.
Week Ending July 14th Crop conditions are improving in our area. Many of the wet area from the earlier heavy rains are finally recovering. The recent warm temperatures and adequate soil moisture are helping the crops catch up from the late spring. The corn in the north is now about 2 leaves from tasseling.
We sprayed most of the soybean fields for weeds this week. The preplant herbicide held the weeds back until now. This is first pass of RoundUp on the beans and it may only take one pass this year.
We have also been busy mowing roadside ditches and getting the spring equipment cleaned up and put away. We planted some beans in the remaining wet holes this week. It is very late for soybean planting but they will hold back the weeds and they might have a chance of making it to maturity before the frost. The good news is that we can finally put the planters away.
Below are some pictures from the week.
Week Ending July 7th We finished side-dressing the late planted seed corn this week. We also finished corn spraying and started spraying soybeans. The heavy rains earlier in Farmer City took their toll on the low areas. We lost several acres to ponding.
Week Ending June 30th We had a wet week again with heavy rains in both the north and the south farms. We have standing water again in the low areas of the fields. We not able to make much progress on field work due to the wet conditions.
We still have some corn to side-dress in the south. With the corn growing quickly and the rain delays, we may need to start using the nitrogen applicator on the Hagie sprayer. It can still go even in corn that is 5 feet tall. See picture below.
The corn may not make 6 feet tall by the 4th of July but it is getting there. It is taller than Vincent (5) now. Vincent was out helping scout fields the other day and we got him to measure the corn below.
The highlight of our week was hosting a group of German farmers out to our farm for a tour. We enjoyed visiting with them and sharing ideas about production agriculture. We learned that they are using many of the same types of technology in Germany that we are using.
Below are some pictures from the week.
Week Ending June 23 We had a good week of field work this week. We finished up side-dressing nitrogen on corn in the north by the end of the week just ahead of some heavy rains. We are side-dressing with liquid 32% nitrogen again this year. We are applying about 24 gallons per acre. We are using a Fast 60ft bar and using auto-steer to run down the same traffic pattern as the planters. We are able to run about 10 mph.
We also got caught up on corn spraying in both the north and south. The crops are looking better but we still have some drowned out holes in the fields in the north that we would like to replant. However, it has been too wet to replant them. It is getting late for replant so we may have to let them go.
Below are some pictures from the week including a video of the side-dress bar running.
Week Ending June 16th It was a tough week for us with the loss of our employee and friend, Lee Hage. Lee passed away this week. See note below.
The week started off good with us getting the rest of our wet spots planted in that had drowned out from earlier rains. We finished planting in the holes by Tuesday. We also made good progress on spraying corn and side-dressing nitrogen.
Wednesday evening we had a bad storm with damaging winds, hail, and about 3 inches of rain. The rain came too fast and caused significant flooding. We ended up with more ponding in the fields than we have had all spring. We will have to replant those spots again.
By late in the week things were starting to dry off and we could at least get back to mowing roadside ditches.
Below are some pictures from the week.
June 12th We are deeply saddened to report the loss of a good employee and great friend, Lee Hage. Lee passed away Wednesday June 12th. Lee was a close friend of our family since he was a child and a loyal employee of our farm since 2005. Lee's smile and encouraging words will be missed. Our prayers are with Lee's family.
Times like these show what is really important. We have had a challenging spring with all the rain but the weather delays do not seem to be all that critical after the loss of a good friend.
Below are some pictures of Lee's work with us. He was with us through good times and bad. Always willing to lend a hand and his catch phrase, "You can do it....."
Born: March 23, 1944
Died: June 12, 2013
Services: Funeral Services will be held at 3:00 pm on Sunday, June 16, 2013 at the Cross Lutheran Church, 8609 Route 47, Yorkville, IL, with Pastor Erik Gauss officiating.
Visitation: Friends may visit from 1:00 pm until the Hour of Service on Sunday, June 16, 2013 at the Cross Lutheran Church in Yorkville, IL.
Lee Harold Hage, age 69, of Plainfield, IL, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at the Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, IL. He was born on March 23, 1944 in Aurora, IL, the son of Harold G. and Marian N. (Maier) Hage.
Lee was a 1962 graduate of Yorkville High School. He was a veteran of the United States Army, having served his country proudly as a member of the Military Police in Vietnam. Lee was united in marriage on June 29, 1968 in Aurora, IL, to the former Suzann K. Johnson, and they would have celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary this month. He was a lifelong member of the Cross Lutheran Church in Yorkville, Illinois. Lee had been employed as a dedicated Inspector for NICOR Gas Company in Aurora, IL, until his retirement in 2005. He was born and raised on a farm and had a passion for farming throughout his life. After his retirement, Lee went back to his roots working for Stewart Farms in Yorkville, Illinois. Love of the land ran in Lee’s veins and he will be dearly missed by his Stewart Farm Family and all who knew him.
He is survived by his loving wife, Suzann Hage, of Plainfield, IL; his daughter and son-in-law, Leah and Jim Freuler, of Brown Deer, WI, and their sons, Jacob, Alex, and Eric; and his son, Kyle Hage, of Sandwich, IL; his sisters, Ardis Kueteman, Myrna Hage, and Phyllis (Greg) Peck; his sister-in-law, Mary (Richard) Williams; his brother-in-law, John (Karla) Johnson; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and his father and mother-in-law, John and Mary Johnson.
Funeral Services will be held at 3:00 pm on Sunday, June 16, 2013 at the Cross Lutheran Church, 8609 Route 47, Yorkville, IL, with Pastor Erik Gauss officiating. Interment with Military Honors will follow in the Cross Lutheran Cemetery, Yorkville, Illinois. Serving as pallbearers will be his three grandsons, Jacob, Alex and Eric Freuler, as well as Jerry Johnson, Richard Williams and Dave Munson.
Friends may visit from 1:00 pm until the Hour of Service on Sunday, June 16, 2013 at the Cross Lutheran Church in Yorkville, IL.
In lieu of flowers, memorial’s in Lee’s name may be directed to the Open Door Rehabilitation Center, 405 S. Wells St., Sandwich, IL 60548, or to the Cross Lutheran Church, 8609 Rt. 47, Yorkville, IL 60560.
Arrangements by Nelson Funeral Homes & Crematory, (630) 553-7611, or www.NelsonFuneralHomes.com
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, memorial’s in Lee’s name may be directed to the Open Door Rehabilitation Center, 405 S. Wells St., Sandwich, IL 60548, or to the Cross Lutheran Church, 8609 Rt. 47, Yorkville, IL 60560.
Week Ending June 9th We were able to get back in the fields this week. We planted beans mid week in Farmer City and then moved home to finish planting beans on Sunday June 9th. As of this post we still had some holes in both the corn and bean fields to replant.
The soybeans went in OK but we still had to go around some wet areas that still had not dried out.
We changed the tracks on the Challenger 765C that does the side-dressing this week. We change from 25" belts to 18" belts to side-dress. We should be ready to start side-dressing and spraying corn over the top next week.
Below are some pictures from the week.
Week Ending June 1 We were not able to do any field work this week. Our fields had 2 to 3 inches of rain. We had standing water and washed out areas again in the fields. It is starting to become hard to keep upbeat about this season. At least the corn and beans that we do have in the ground look good.
We spent the week cleaning out ditches and fixing washed out areas from all the rain. This is the second time this spring we have had to repair major washed out areas in some of the fields.
We have also started mowing roadside ditches. The grass is not having any trouble with all the rain.
Below are some current pictures of the crop conditions from this week.
Week Ending May 25th It was another wet week in our area. Rains early in the week kept us out of the fields until Thursday. We were able to run planting soybeans Friday and Saturday in the Farmer City area before being rained out Saturday afternoon.
We are raising seed corn for DeKalb seeds in Farmer City again this year. Kyle Kopp and his crew are planting the seed corn for us. They were able to get back in the fields this week as well and get a few more of our fields planted.
The Plunk Brothers continue to take good care of us in the Farmer City area. We appreciate their support through exceptional service on Pioneer seed and even the use of their buildings to keep our planters dry through all the rain. The are very good neighbors to have.
Below are some pictures from the week. The last images show the worn out farm crew on their way home this week.
Week Ending May 19th We finished planting commercial corn on Sunday May 19th. We were able to run in both Yorkville and Farmer City this week. About 1/2 of the soybeans and seed corn are planted as well. We continue to race planters back and forth between the two locations depending on field conditions. We moved a corn planter south early in the week to plant corn. Late in the week we were running soybeans with one planter in the north, one on soybeans in the south, and one in corn in the south.
All the earlier planted corn is now up. Stands look good. The corn will really start to take off now with the warm weather.
By late in the week the we are all getting a little tired after running for more than a week on little sleep.
Below are some pictures and videos from this week's work.
Week Ending May 12th We were finally able to start planting corn this week in the Yorkville area. We moved machines back from Farmer City on Monday and started planting on Tuesday. We ran the rest of the week, dodging some scattered showers.
Field conditions were good most of the week. We did have to continue to deal with the washed out areas in the fields from the earlier floods. We ran the scraper early in the week reshaping waterways ahead of the planters.
One of the highlights of the week was the demonstration of the Horsch planter on our farm. We were able to run the new Horsch 24 row planter on about 200 acres. Some of the unique features of the planter are electric drives on the row units, hydraulic down pressure, weight transfer across the planter bar, bulk fill (150 bushel), and starter fertilizer (1,000 gallon). The planter is able to plant well at high speeds. We ran it at 7.5 to 8 mph and it performed well, keeping a consistent depth and seed spacing. It was good to be able to run the planter after learning so much about it this winter when we visited the Horsch headquarters in Germany earlier this year.
Below are some pictures from the week and a video of the Horsch planter running.
Week Ending May 4th
Another week without much field work progress. We were able to get some fields in the Farmer City area sprayed for weeds this week. We ran there on Wednesday and Thursday before being rained out Thursday night. The end of the week brought back heavy rains to the area. The Farmer City farms received 1 inch of rain from Thursday through Sunday.
We moved more machinery into Farmer City early in the week with hopes of starting to plant in that area. That move may have been a mistake given the rains late in the week. We may now be moving some pieces home as we did not have as much rain up here. Soil conditions are getting close to dry enough to run around home now.
We have started repairing the waterways and ditches that were washed out by the heavy floods. The pictures below show the scraper work we are doing to reshape the waterways. The GPS controlled scraper works very well for reshaping the waterways and getting the slopes correct. We are running a Trimble FMX monitor to control the grade of the scraper. We will have to keep a tractor on that scraper most of the spring to catch up with the waterway repairs.
It is turning out to be a challenging spring but we will work things out. Below are some more pictures from the week. We have lots of machines around waiting on the weather.
Week Ending April 27th The fields dried out some this week after our heavy rains from the week before. We had an additional 1/2 to 1 inch of rain this week which did not help the wet field conditions. The weather forecast is calling for some nice warm days early this coming week so hopefully we can get in the fields by mid-week.
We have started to move some more machinery down to the Farmer City area with hopes of starting down that way. It is always a challenge to figure out which area will go first. We usually wait to move all the equipment either way until we know for sure field conditions are fit.
We were able to close on a piece of farmland this week we have been working on for a while. We were fortunate to put together two new pieces right next to the home farm.
Lucky (the farm dog) is ready for spring to finally get here (see below).
Week Ending April 20th Our area was hit by heavy rains Wednesday night. We had over 5 inches of rain overnight on top of soil that was already saturated from earlier rains. There was extensive flooding. Unfortunately the rain came too fast to soak into the ground very much. The flowing water eroded ditches and cut notches in many rolling fields. It will now be a while again before the soil dries up enough to do field work. We will have to do some dirt work leveling out gullies and reshaping waterways. The photos below show some of the standing water at the height of the storm. At one point there were about 300 acres underwater surrounding the main ditch that goes through our home farm.
We had to do some work on our sprayer this week with the boom folded out so we took it into the horse area to get it out of the rain. It fit nicely in there but I doubt we will be able to talk the Horse Department (mom) into letting us pour cement on the floor to make it into a shop.
Hopefully we will see some drier weather next week.
Week Ending April 13th Another week of cool/wet weather. Some of our farms had over 4 inches or rain for the week. The has been good for recharging the soil moisture but it has delayed any spring field work. More rain and cool conditions are forecast for next week.
We continue to work on equipment in the shop, making some modifications and making sure things are ready to go when the weather breaks. We finished up the new seed tender including the hydraulic drive plumbing, fertilizer plumbing, lights, and modifications to the air suspension. Both the seed conveyors and liquid fertilizer pump are run off of the hydraulics on the truck. We modified the air suspension so we could dump the air on the rear axle to make it around tight corners. We are looking forward to using it.
Kristine (15) helped out in the shop on Saturday. She must have had a long week of school because she needed a nap by the end of the day. See below.
Week Ending April 6th
The calendar says it is spring but it has not felt much like spring yet. Cold and damp conditions have kept us from doing any field work yet. We have been cleaning up some old fence lines and working on machinery. It will likely be another week or two before field work starts.
We took out an old fence line this past week. The fence was full of rocks and a few trees which took some time to get cleaned up. Below are some before, during and after photos of that project.
We are putting together a new seed tender for this spring. The tender is built on a drop deck trailer. It has room for 8 pro-boxes and 2400 gallons of starter fertilizer. The trailer has a belt conveyor that runs down the center of the trailer under the boxes and another conveyor that swings to the side to load the planters. The conveyor is driven with hydrualics off of the truck. The conveyor is all stainless steel so we can take off the pro-box holders and use the trailer to haul dry fertilizer in the fall. Two bulk boxes will go on in place of the pro-box racks.
We have been putting a new drag on one of the field cultivators. We went with a Remlinger 3 bar harrow with a rolling basket. We are hoping it will give us a better seed bed than the original spring tooth harrow. The new drag is well built and looks like it should do a good job.