December 1st With harvest and tillage work wrapped up we were able to get to some building site maintenance projects. We trimmed trees and cleaned out brush on the Murley Wheeler farm this week. The excavator with the hydraulic thumb makes for quick work on these projects. Below are some pictures of the clean up efforts
Week Ending November 22 We were able to finish up tillage work this week. Our perfect fall weather has left us now. We finished up tillage in wetter conditions than we like but we were able to get done which is a blessing.
Week Ending November 15 We finished up our last patch of soybeans early this week, officially completing our 2015 harvest. We were fortunate to get done ahead of some heavy rains and strong winds that hit our area in the middle of the week.
We were able to get back to some limestone spreading and tillage work this week. If the weather holds up we should finish those operations this coming week.
We also started some drainage ditch maintenance projects and harvest machinery cleanup tasks this week.
Below are some pictures from this week's work including Keith and Kristine learning how to run the tillage tractors. They did well.
Week Ending November 8th
We finished corn harvest for the season on Thursday of this week. Corn yields remained very good with most fields averaging 220 to 250 bushels per acre. Moisture levels remained good at 16 to 18%. We were glad to see the moisture levels remain above 15% since any lower levels would have resulted in excessive head shelling and field loses.
Most of the corn remained standing well in the field despite the rain and heavy winds over the last week. We were happy to get it out before it started to go down.
Several of the fields we finished up on this week are near subdivisions in the Plainfield area. One night at about 9:30 we had a police officer stop and tell us there was a noise complaint called in on our machines that were harvesting. We only had 20 minutes left to finish the field which we did. This incident highlights some of the challenges with farming in an urban area. Many people do not have any patience for farm machinery, noise, dust, or other issues involved with food production.
Both the people and machinery are starting to get worn down from the long harvest season but the end is in sight. We have about 60 acres of soybeans left that we skipped over when the rains started 1.5 weeks ago. Hopefully we will knock those out early this week.
Limestone spreading and tillage work started back up this week after being delayed by wet conditions.
Below are some pictures from this week including one of Keith and Karoline getting involved with some combine maintenance and Keith and Lucy (the dog) sleeping in combine on the last corn field.
Week Ending November 1
Rain and wet conditions shut down the soybean harvest with only about 80 acres to go. We switched to corn and made some good progress. Early corn yields in the Yorkville area have been good. We are seeing wide variations within the fields as a result of the wet spring and dry August. The yield monitor will swing from less than 200 to 280 bushels per acre in a 1/2 mile pass.
Tillage work and limestone spreading also came to a halt mid week with the heavy rains.
Below are some pictures from this week.
Week Ending October 25th
Soybean harvest continues. Yields have remained very good. Our challenge now is the moisture content which as been falling too low with the warm dry weather. Soybeans are now down to 9% in the field. We could wait for a rain which would add moisture but this is risky since good dry bean cutting days may become scarce if the weather pattern changes. So we keep going.
Two other big challenges we have had lately are rocks and dirt clods. We did not use our roller behind the planter on the last 1500 acres of soybeans this spring since we felt it might do more harm than good in the wet conditions. The lack of the roller has made the last 1500 acres of soybean harvest tough since we have been battling rocks and dirt coming into the heads. The roller made a huge difference. Earlier fields with similar rock populations were not an issue. Later fields that did not have the roller have been a major challenge. Our daily field productivity has been cut significantly as we battle the rocks.
Needless to say we are ready to be done with soybeans for the year. We have harvested more beans this year than we ever have. At least yields have been very good.
Week Ending October 18th
We started on soybeans in the north this week. Yields have been very good at 70 to 80 bushels per acre. Moisture levels are dry at 12 to 14%.
The tillage crew finished Farmer City and got moved home to start there.
Week Ending October 10 We finished soybean harvest in the Farmer City area this week and started moving machinery home to start harvest there. Soybean yields remain very good. Some fields averaged over 90 bushels per acre which are the best field averages we have ever seen. The stems remained green to the end which made for some slow going and hard work for the machines. Moisture levels stayed in a range of 11 to 14%. Overall moisture content averaged around 12.8% which is right on the 13% target.
We had a few machinery issues this week including some gearbox and auger breakdowns in the 595 combine. We were able to get it repaired fairly quickly but it did slow us down.
All the limestone we intended to spread in Farmer City got hauled and spread this week.
The tillage crew managed to stay close behind the combines. They are down to about 400 acres to go to finish in Farmer City and get moved home.
The combines are moved home to Yorkville where we hope to start on soybeans Monday.
Week Ending October 3 We started harvesting soybeans in Farmer City this week. At the beginning of the week the early planted beans were still fairly wet at 15%. They dried down throughout the week and were 11-12% by the end of the week.
We had several machinery issues during the week including some bearings and pulley problems on the combines. This slowed down our progress early in the week.
Soybean yields have been excellent so far. Field averages have been over 85 bushels per acre which are some of the highest we have ever seen. Pockets in the fields are hitting over 100 bushels per acre. These yield levels are somewhat surprising given all the excess rain we had in June. Some pockets in the fields were lost due to flooding yet the overall field averages remain excellent.
The tillage crew made excellent progress this week. We started running both rippers this week. By the end of the week they had over 2000 acres finished and are nearly caught up with the combines. The rippers are doing an excellent job in the dry field conditions.
We tried out the Falcon soil testing machine this week. The machine automates the process of pulling soil samples and mixing the cores for one composite sample for every 2.5 acre grid in the field. The machine bags the bar code labeled samples so they can be sent to the soil lab for analysis. We will use the test results to spread limestone and fertilizer.
Below are some pictures from the week including some drone videos.
Week Ending September 26th We had a good week of corn harvesting in the Farmer City area. Yields remained very good with field averages between 230 and 260 bushels per acre. Moisture levels continued to drop through the week with the warm weather. Moisture levels ranged from 18 to 22%.
We took out our commercial corn test area for our seed corn production contract. Part of our seed corn payments are based on how commercial corn did in the area. Our test area made 255 bushels per acre which is very good.
The tillage crew got started this week on working down ground. We are again using 22 ft CaseIH 875 rippers.
Brad's family came to visit us on Saturday. Kelli ran a grain cart and the kids road along with us. They were very excited to see the combine "eat" the corn. And they were excited to eat my stash of cookies in the combine.
We finished up corn harvest by 8pm Saturday night. We will be switching over to soybeans next week.
Below are some pictures from the week.
Week Ending September 20th Corn harvest started for us this week in the Farmer City area. Moisture levels are 21-22%. Yields have been good so far at over 200 bushels per acre. Yields across the field are highly variable across the individual fields with the variability in where water sat after the heavy rains in June.
We are running a Lexion 780 and a Lexion 595 in corn. Both have 16 row heads.
Below are some photos of the early havest progress.