Week Ending September 19 Keith's baby calves were born this week. Our cattle herd doubled from 2 to 4 head. We were glad to see the healthy babies born.
Week Ending September 12 We officially finished the hopper cone project this week. We ran corn through the system and everything works well.
We got back to getting machines ready for harvest.
Week Ending August 29 We installed the conveyor under the new hoppers this week. The 10,000 bushel per hour drag conveyor runs under all three silos. Making the connections and slide gates between the hopper cones and the conveyor was the difficult part of the work.
Week Ending August 22 Work continued on the hopper cone project this week at the farm. We also changed all the tractors back to wide tracks for fall.
Bob, Sarah, and the kids got away for a quick trip to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee before school started. White water rafting on the Pigeon river was a highlight of the trip.
Week Ending August 15 We continue to make good progress on the hopper bottom project in the silos. We now have all of the hoppers erected in all three of the silos. We should finish welding all of the seams in the sheeting this coming week. The full project has about 1 mile of solid welding. We are happy to be able to see the end in sight.
We have Bergen back from his summer internship with John Deere this week. We are glad to have his help again on the silo project.
We had a couple of nice rain showers this week. The recent run up in temperatures into the 90's has put some stress on the crops but our corn and soybeans continue to look good overall.
Below are some pictures from the week.
Week Ending August 8 We held our annual appreciation dinner for the people we do business with this week. We had a great evening with good food and nice weather. We had over 100 people at the event this year. We are very grateful for all of the land owners, suppliers, customers, and other folks that make our farming operation successful.
Week Ending August 1 This week is the week before our annual farm appreciation dinner which means we spent most of it cleaning up the farm and equipment for the party.
I spoke at the InfoAg conference in St. Louis this week about our farm's experience with GPS technology. Below is a link to the presentation. The conference was well attended with over 1500 people there. Info Ag page
We tried something new on our soybeans. We sidedressed 32% nitrogen on the soybeans to see what the impact of late season application of nitrogen will do to yield. We tried it on about 40 acres. Stay tuned this fall to see if it was worth while.
We also finished spraying fungicide on corn this week. It is good to have that job done and the sprayer put away for the year.
Week Ending July 25 Brad and Phil were busy spraying fungicide on corn this week. They finished in Farmer City and got moved back home to start there.
Work continues on the silo hopper bottom project. Another warm week for welding and erecting heavy steel.
Week Ending July 18 Kristine competed this week in the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming. She placed 21 out of 185 in the pole bending competition. She placed 14 out of 50 in queen competition. W are proud of her accomplishments in rodeo this year.
Week Ending July 11th We tried side dressing nitrogen on some of our soybeans this week with the Hagie applicator. We will see if this pays at harvest.
Kristine (17) won the state competition to become the Illinois High School Rodeo Queen. She left this week to compete at the national high school rodeo finals in Rock Springs Wyoming. She will be competing the queen contest as well as pole bending which she also qualified for at the state level. The queen competition is very intense and includes public speaking, an interview, and horse riding skills. Good luck to Kristine in Wyoming.
We started some of the serious steel fabrication on the silo hopper project this week. Each silo get two rings of 6 inch square tubing installed to hold up the new hopper floors. We have set up an electric winch and a man lift inside the silos to lift and secure the 300+lb pieces.
Below are some pictures of the work in progress.
Week Ending July 4th The excessive rains in June have taken their toll on many parts of Illinois. One of the areas that has been hit hard is Lewistown, Illinois where Sarah's parents farm. Much of their farm is in the Illinois River bottom. Drain water must be pumped up over the levee into the Illinois River. Most of the time their pumps keep up with the water draining out of the fields. However, recent heavy rains have caused the pumps to fall behind and they are at risk of losing a good portion of their crop to flooding. I went down to their farm this week to deliver a tractor driven pump that might help get the water levels down faster. Some pictures of the pumping and water levels are below.
Excessive rains have started to hurt low areas in some of our fields. However, we are better off than most areas of the state.
We did manage to replant some of the drowned out areas in the beans this week. Some spots were still too wet to replant. As shown by the look of my co-pilot below, it is probably time to give up on planting any more this year.
Week Ending June 27th We started some of the serious work on the silo floor project this week. In order to get the large steel frame pieces into the silo we have to cut new access doors in each of the silos. The new holes are 32"x62". It took a full day of concrete saw cutting to get the work done. The silo walls are 6 inches thick with steel rebar every 2 inches.
Spraying started on the soybeans in the north this week.
Keith's cow herd of 2 is enjoying the lush summer grass.
Week Ending June 20th Our first planted corn is now over 6ft tall and looking very good. The early planted beans now have the rows filled in.
We have been working in the shop on rebuilding the corn heads. Idler bearings were changed, knives set, gear box oil changed, and coat of paint applied to both heads. They should be ready for harvest.
The second load of steel for the hopper bottom project arrived this week. We have about 100,000 pounds of steel to fabricate into the hopper for the three silos.
Week Ending June 13th Brad started spraying the first pass of herbicide on the soybeans to the south. The corn and soybeans in Farmer City look very good. That area has missed some of the heavy rains that have hit other areas.
We started cleaning up planters and other spring equipment this week.
Week Ending June 6th Corn side dressing got started in the north. The corn continues to look good both south and north.
Brad continues to spray both corn in the north for weeds.
Karoline and Keith helped me clean out the silos in preparation for our next big summer project which is installing hopper bottom floors in the silos. The steel arrived this week so we are set to get started when we get caught up in the fields.
Karoline learned how to run the skid steer. She decided it was better to be the one running the loader than the one running the shovel.
Keith and I planted another round of sweet corn with our "high tech" manual drive planter.
We replanted some spots in the beans that were too wet to get into earlier in the spring.
See photos of the week below.
Week Ending May 30th We were able to get started side dressing nitrogen on the corn this week in Farmer City. We are applying liquid 28% nitrogen at a rate of about 35 gallons per acre. We are doing some variable rate nitrogen based on recommendations from Pioneer's Encirca program. That program takes into account our yield goals, previous crop, weather, soil types, and other factors to help us determine the specific nitrogen needs for the corn.
The early planted corn is almost knee high and looking very good. We are able to run the applicator at 10 mph. We are using a FAST 60ft applicator, running down the same traffic pattern as our earlier passes this spring. The GPS steering is keeping it on the row.
We also continue to haul last year's corn to market. Much of it is going to the Illinois River market this spring.
Below are some pictures from the week.
Week Ending May 23 We finished planting soybeans this week. We let some of our last fields dry out as long as we could this week, waiting until Saturday before the expected rain on Sunday to finish. The forecast was correct and we were thankful to get the beans in ahead of the rains. Field conditions were still on the wet side but the beans are done.
While waiting on the fields to dry down we kept busy fixing tile lines and repairing waterways.
The spraying crew was able to get all the corn sprayed in Farmer City and get moved back home. Earlier in the week the floatation tires on the sprayer got changed out to the row crop tires for post spraying.
Daughter Kristine (17) got to try planting soybeans this week. She did well but did find out that turning on the ends does take some practice.
Below are some pictures from the week including the tired out seed tender driver catching a nap on the last load of the year. Yes he is OK.
Week Ending May 16 We were able to get back in and plant most of the remaining soybeans around Plainfield this week between the rain showers.
The first planted corn around home is up now and looking good. It could use some more heat and sunshine but at least it is out of the ground.
Karoline and I worked on some storage boxes for the horse barn over the weekend.
Week Ending May 10 We were able to get back into the fields this week to finish the corn between the rain showers. We still have some soybeans to plant but we are thankful for being done with the corn ahead of the heavy rains that hit late in the week. Up to 2 inches of rain fell in less than 1/2 an hour in some locations. Pictures below show the swollen creeks. Most of the water went down by the next day.
We went back to some tree line cleanup projects this week while we were waiting on conditions to dry out.
Below are some pictures from the week.
Week Ending May 3rd Field conditions remained cool and damp until mid week. We were able to start planting both corn and soybeans around Yorkville on May April 29th. We had a good stretch of working through Saturday when we were rained out again. We were able to get most of the corn by the weekend.
Below are some pictures from the week.
Week Ending April 26th We were able to get back into the fields by Wednesday of this week. Soil conditions were good and we were able to get done with both commercial corn and soybeans in the Farmer City area by Friday evening. We were fortunate to get things wrapped up since rains moved into the area by Friday night.
We started moving machines north to Yorkville so we can start planting that direction next week.
Weather conditions have remained cool all week which has raised some concerns about the corn and soybeans that have been planted already. Forecasts for warmer temperatures for next week encouraged us to keep planting. Dry field conditions and the desire to get moved home before rains set in kept us planting as well.
Hopefully our timing is good as we get moved home. Soil temperatures there are just getting optimal for planting.
Below are some pictures and a video from this weeks work.
Week Ending April 19 We started planting on Wednesday April 15th. We started planting both corn and soybeans on day one. We are running one of the planters in soybeans and the other one in corn. We decided to try this approach instead of running them together in the same crop to save the time in switching them between crops, make sure we got out beans in early, and save any inefficiencies of trying to run multiple machines in the same field. It does make tendering both planters a challenge but our tender driver is up to the challenge.
We are spraying a pre-plant herbicide with liquid nitrogen ahead of the field cultivator for corn. The soybeans are also getting a pre-plant herbicide. Brad had a good first week of spraying and got all the Farmer City ground sprayed between Tuesday night and Saturday.
We are using a roller on all of our soybeans after the planter. We find that the roller gives us a better seed bed, knocks down any root balls, and allows are grain heads to do a better job of harvesting the soybeans in the fall.
We are following a 60ft controlled traffic pattern using pre-set A-B lines and RTK GPS. Each pass from the 120ft sprayer, 60ft cultivator, 60ft planter, and 60ft roller all follow the same wheel tracks. This significantly reduces the area of the field that are impacted by wheel tracks and ensures that a wheel or track is never on the plant row.
We made good planting progress in our first half week of planting, getting in 1200 acres of corn and 1100 acres of beans. Field conditions were very good.
Rains came in on Sunday April 19 giving our crew a well deserved break.
Below are some pictures and videos from the week.
Week Ending April 12 More waiting on the fields to dry out and the temperatures to warm up this week. We kept busy continuing to get machinery ready for field work. Hoping to start planting next week.