Mowing continues

Friday, July 23, 2021

Roadside mowing continues, along with other tasks.  Brandon is sweeping wheat bins, and delivering loads of wheat to market at Newburgh.  John has returned from vacation, and has resumed his spraying of soybeans, and double-crop soybeans (DCB).  The DCB appearance is improving, as the nearly month-old beans begin to emerge above the straw stubble.  This first application of herbicide over these will also improve their appearance, too–stopping the weeds!

The DCB will soon be out above the wheat stubble.

Mowing along US50

Yesterday, H&R Agri-Power arrived to haul our CIH 9250 combine to their dealership.  CIH is performing a significant upgrade to these machines, and this was H&R’s move to do so on our combine.  The duals had to be removed to transport the combine, and that proved to be a more difficult task than we (and H&R) expected.  After 3 failed attempts, they brought in a tool stout enough to remove the studs holding the big outer wheels to the combine!  Away it went for the upgrade work.

H&R Agri-Power, Poseyville, IN is taking our 9250 in for an improvement upgrade.

We had a neat visitor yesterday.  Joe Virgin of Clarks Hill, Indiana came by to introduce us to his business, Agrilytics.  It was a real treat, for I have been following Joe on Twitter for a long time.  He has a significant collection of antique John Deere tractors, and he often puts them to use on his farm.  It is a treat to see how he has meticulously restored those machines to  like-new status.  He is a ‘star’ of #AgTwitter.  It was neat to meet him IRL.

Got the selfie with Joe Virgin. What a great guy.

We are getting low on wheat inventory.  Only one bin to sweep left to go.  It has been a great crop this year, with good yield and superb quality.  Wheat was fun this time!  We are so grateful for a good wheat crop. PTL!

The Knox County Fair took place this week.  It was cut back severely in 2020, with 4-H exhibits being judged… and that without the public in attendance.  No public events.  This year felt like normal, and the crowds turned out even more.  Pat and I went to the 4-H goat show and that was really something.  Four hours of competitions– dairy goats, pygmy goats, Boer goats, and market goats– culminating in the 3 age levels of Showmanship.  The daughter of Pat’s cousin won the Intermediate Showmanship prize.  Fun at the Fair!

Grace Carie with her showmanship award

We drove across southern Indiana on US50 on Wednesday to spend the day with my sister and BIL, Sheila and John Hobson of Rising Sun, Indiana.  What a special day.

With the Hobsons.

Late summer in SWIN.  The crops look pretty good.  We have another flood event from White River, and the damage may be a bit more extensive than the early June flooding.  The river is not receding nearly as fast this time!  Even so, we are hopeful as we move down the stretch of crop time for the summer and look ahead to fall harvest.  It’ll be here soon.

This is today’s river report at Edwardsport, Indiana. River levels at Edwardsport reach our fields along White River about 1 day after.  

 

Have a good weekend.

 

 

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Various clean-up tasks

Thursday, July 15, 2021

There are several varied tasks getting done today.  Brandon is cleaning up the corn planter.  He cleaned out the seed boxes and row units, and now is giving it a wash.  It will be put away today for #plant22.

On the wash pad

After the planter gets put away, Brandon will be out in the Gator to spray to field edges of waterhemp and/or johnsongrass.

Bill is delivering wheat to ADM in Newburgh.

I will be back into the JD 6130R with the R15 rotary cutter, making the waterways and roadsides look better.  There are still several days’ worth of mowing to get done.  Perhaps next week, it will feel ‘caught up’.

Mowing the grass road at the Huey farm.  I like the ‘after’ look.

Mowing a waterway at Huey

Looks better behind!

We need to apply some Roundup WeatherMax to 3 or 4 fields of soybeans, but the ground is too soft to do so.  Soon, the double-crop soybeans (DCB) will need a herbicide application, too.  That can be done in a couple days, but those fields are also too soft (wet) to get across them.

Today is a very hot one, with 90+ degrees expected.  I’m glad I can do a task that calls for being in the cool cab of a tractor.

 

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Rainy days

Monday, July 12, 2021

Wow, a very rainy time has set in.  We received 1.5″ Saturday and a couple more tenths yesterday.  That was on top of Friday’s .7″.  And rain is predicted for tonight and tomorrow night.  If this was Arizona, we’d call it monsoon season.  But these rains are welcome events to help the corn, soybeans, and newly-planted double-crop soybeans (DCB).  It just makes it a little more difficult to find a window to apply some herbicide to soybeans, and do the mowing on roadsides.   The roadside mowing is beginning to feel a bit urgent to me.

Gotta get this rig rolling again this week. Dad called this kind of work “beautifying the homestead”.  He’d really like this JD 6130R tractor and the R15 rotary cutter.

We had a visitor over the weekend.  Steve Conaway from Kansas, came to SWIN to attend the 2021 Purdue Farm Management Tour.  We became acquainted with Steve through #AgTwitter.  We met up with Steve Thursday afternoon at the Indiana Master Farmer event associated with the Tour.  On the Friday of the Tour, he got to meet several great people including the Dean of Agriculture at Purdue, the President and VP of Indiana Farm Bureau, and even the Lt. Governor of Indiana!  He spent a couple nights with us, and we certainly enjoyed his company.  We hope he had a pleasant and productive time here in Indiana, and that he benefitted from taking in the Tour.  We said our ‘good-byes’ on Saturday morning, and as he left, a light rain was falling.

Steve Conaway was a wonderful guest.

The right front tire of the Gator was getting bald, so we picked up one at the local JD dealer.  Seems like that’s the only place we can find matching tires.  But the surprise for me this morning was that Brandon mounted the new tire to the rim, and I didn’t have to take it to a tire store!  He has many talents!

Off with the old, on with the new…

So, we will work this week in between showers of rain to improve the appearance of our roadsides along our fields.  And, if the weather permits, we will apply some Roundup WeatherMax to a few areas of fields where johnsongrass is beginning to re-emerge.   Soon, we will need to put down the first application of herbicides to the DCB.  No, we don’t have a perfect stand of beans, but it’s good in most places, and adequate in the remainder.   This rainy time will help those get established.

Have a good week.  Next week, our Knox County Farm Fair begins.  Established in 1809, we claim that it is the oldest county fair in the USA!

 

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Busy spray week

Friday, July 9, 2021

We kept the JD R4044 sprayer quite busy this week.  The main goal was to get the fungicide application on the soybeans at the proper R3 stage of growth.  Between John and me, we got the job done by noon yesterday.  What a good feeling!  This removes some of the work pressure on the sprayer job.  We have some ‘clean up’ areas of johnsongrass in some fields to spray with Roundup WeatherMax (glyphosate).  But after last evening’s rain of .9 to 1.7″ (23-43mm), that will be delayed a couple days while the soil dries down.  The double-crop soybeans (DCB) are emerging from the wheat straw, and with a (mostly) good, consistent stand.  They will need a herbicide application in a week or 10 days.  Fields are looking pretty nice this early July.

Ride along with me as I spray at the Cox farm…

Another good thing happening today is that the soybean planter, a JD 1910 air cart + 1890 no-till drill, gets put away for the season!  I’m always eager to get that thing going in the early spring, but also eager to get it put away in July!  This is another milestone of the summer, when that machine goes into the quonset building down at the Huey farm.

The air drill behind this 9520R tractor will go back into storage today!

I attended the 2021 Indiana Master Farmer event yesterday down at New Harmony, Indiana.  This award is sponsored jointly by Indiana Prairie Farmer magazine, and Purdue University’s College of Agriculture.  One of this year’s recipients is Craig and Kim Williams, long time friends from Oaktown, Indiana, and I went there to celebrate with them.  It was a very wonderful ceremony, with 250+ farmers from across Indiana in attendance.  It is hard to imagine that it was 20 years ago, when I was blessed to become an Indiana Master Farmer.   Attending the annual event has become like a grand reunion!   This award ceremony is held in conjunction with Purdue’s annual Farm Management Tour, where 3 farm operations host visitors and conduct mini-seminars.  This year was in Vanderburgh and Posey Counties, and concludes today.  We were honored to serve as one of the host farms on the Tour in 2011.

It’s VBS week at Wheatland Christian Church… what fun!

 

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Rain and other good news

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Rain today.  That’s good.   With last night’s .3″, we have about .6″ (15mm) total.  And it looks like the light rain will continue until early this afternoon.  I guess we could not ask for better.

Weather station report from 11 am today. 0.31″ rain since midnight.

We received more good news yesterday.  Our crop consultant Greg Anthis of Nutrien went with Troy Clawson of Bayer to evaluate the 3 fields of soybeans that had been flooded by White River.  In their report, they recommend a very limited number of replanting be done–only in the very lowest strips in the sloughs.  So, I’m looking at <20 acres of replant instead of >200 acres!   I hope to get that replant done next week, or as soon as the soil dries from this rainy spell.  Then, the soybean air drill can be cleaned out, washed up, and put away.  Yes, I’m always eager to get the soybean drill out and prepared in late March, and by July I am eager to get it put away.

Mowing went well yesterday afternoon.  I worked at the Ross, Watjen, and Lett farms.  At Lett, we planted fescue on a small and very steep area a few years ago.  It gets mowed each year.

More good news:  The first tassels are coming out on the earliest-planted corn fields.  Oh, how I love that aroma–better than fresh-cut grass!  The  old saying about “knee high by the 4th of July”, has now become “tasseling by the 4th of July”.  I think most of the soybeans are now “knee high”.

It’s good to see these tassels, and good to smell them, too.

Before taking off with the KW to deliver wheat to ADM in Newburgh, Brandon washed the grain cart and placed it into storage.  It shines like new.  You might say it is #Andyclean.

Next week could be hectic with the replant and sprayer needs, but today, it is a time to be thankful.

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Mowing and other stuff

June 30, 2021

John is feeling a bit overwhelmed today.  Looming ahead of his next week is a number of acres of soybeans that will need a herbicide application, and then every soybean acre needs an application of fungicide.  And to top it off, the stage of growth is not quite ready for these applications.  So, the work is piling up… and when it does get to be ‘just right’, he’s gonna be under the gun to get it done!

We pulled the JD R15 rotary cutter (what JD calls a bush hog) out of storage yesterday.  It is connected to the JD 6130R tractor.    We used it a bit in late May to mow some roadsides, and now it is time to get it rolling again.  After tomorrow (July 1),  we will be able to mow the riparian strips on ditch bank levees.  So, next week will have some potential to be packed with activity… spraying herbicides and fungicides, mowing roadsides, and delivering wheat to market.

Pulled the rotary cutter out of storage again to place it into service. I really enjoy this task, and appreciate the ‘after’ look.

Rain is predicted for this afternoon.  We got some drops of rain yesterday afternoon.  You could see the rain just on the other side of US 50.  And there were scattered storms yesterday, with .1 to .4″ in various locations across Knox County.  So, we have received a bit of rain here and there, but no general inch+ of rain across all fields.  Hope that happens today!

You can see the rain across US 50 from the farm.

Have a wonderful Independence Day holiday!

 

 

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Is #plant21 done?

Monday, June 28, 2021

The answer is a firm ‘maybe’. The wheat harvest is done as of Thursday evening.  The double-crop soybeans (DCB) are planted.  That is a cause to celebrate!  But, of course, there is another factor to consider.  Last week, there were BIG rains to the northeast of here, and all that water had to come down the West Fork of White River…and it did.  The river rose over 10 feet in one day, and got to a tick over 20 feet (flood stage is at 15 feet!).   Driving by the Grubb field during the flooding, you could see that the beans were completely submerged.  But the water was only on the beans for a couple days, and the flood waters receded just about as fast as they came up.

As I drove by the Grubb field yesterday after church and on our way to lunch, I was surprised by what I saw.  I was expecting the beans to be brown and dead.  Not so!  Yes you could detect a tan cast to the soybean plants, and you could see where the muddy waters had been on the beans.  But they were definitely NOT dead.  That may come with the high temperatures of this week, but as of right now, I’m not certain that any replant will be needed.  It may require some expert consultant’s opinion to make the call.  Is a flood-damaged soybean that was planted in early May better than a more healthy soybean planted in July?  We will evaluate these over the next few days to figure that out.   The 3 fields affected by the flooding amount to about 210 acres.  I’m hoping I won’t have to take the planter back down there, but we will do what we must do.  We will have more and better information for that decision in a few days.

We are celebrating and expressing thankfulness for our best-ever wheat crop.  It was our goal to manage and invest in this crop to get to 100 bpa.  It made it!    107-110 bpa.  I’ve never seen wheat roll into a combine header like this.  I’m reminded of the super-cold February days, when our Maker provided a white blanket of protection over the wheat crop.  We were blessed with favorable weather.    So grateful.

 

I had many visitors to the combine, and Pat went with me a while after she brought lunch on Wednesday.

John is very busy at harvest time. He manages all the inbound grain, and operates the grain dryer. He makes sure there are no ‘hiccups’ in the system, and gets the dried grain into storage.

This picture was just after lunch on Wednesday.

 

It took two big days of planting to complete the DCB.  The DCB went into the ground quite well (mostly).  There is one field east of Wheatland about which I have some concern.  The straw on that field was extra heavy, and it was damp last Monday evening when we harvested the wheat.  The straw in that field just did not chop well in the back of the combine, and it was difficult to get the soybean drill row units to slice through the residue. Other than that, I am quite hopeful about the DCB.  With support from John to bring fuel and seed to keep me going, I was able to push extra hard and complete the DCB planting on Saturday evening.

On Saturday, John not only brought seed to the field, but also brought fuel and DEF.

All folded up and ready to go home on Saturday evening.

Bill and Brandon are out delivering wheat to ADM in Mt. Vernon, IN.   Instead of going to the elevator, this wheat is going directly to the mill there.  They seem to be pleased with the quality of this year’s soft red winter wheat (SRW).

Another load of wheat is headed out for Mt. Vernon.

Bill Berry keeps cool in the Mack Vision on his way today.

The farm work this past week was extraordinarily packed with activity.  No wonder I was so tired on Saturday night!

This morning, I took the Gator out the spray some field edges to stop some johnsongrass. I also worked at the Waldo farm to spray under a power line tower to stop the weeds.  We simply cannot get the big sprayer under that tower anymore, so hand-spraying is necessary.  I am eager to get the rotary cutter hooked back up to the JD 6130R tractor.  I enjoy making the roadsides look ‘cared for’.  And after July 1, I’ll be able to mow the riparian strips along ditch banks.  That’s a plus, too.

We are praying for some rain.  Last week, the forecasts included days of heavy rain, with amounts of about 6″ here, and up to 8″ to the northeast, up the White River basin.   That did not occur, but we are hoping for an inch or so!  All in all, summer 2021 looks pretty good right now.  I expect to see some corn tasseling by the 4th of July!   My, how the calendar marches on.  Days are getting shorter already, but it is hard to perceive that just yet.  Dusk arrives about 945 pm each evening.  The lightning bug light show hit a peak about June 20th and it is still quite sight to see!

These little green blinking lights fascinate me.  I wish the camera did a better job capturing the show.

Have a wonderful week.  Keep cool.

 

 

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#wheatharvest21

Wednesday morning, June 23, 2021

I’ll post some pictures from the wheat harvest.  We started Monday, but Monday was gray and we got some short periods of drizzly rain.  We had to stop for part of the day.  But yesterday was the most beautiful day for wheat harvesting.  It was a pleasant 77ºF with brilliant sunshine.  There were puffy, “Andy’s room” clouds.

We have been pleased with the yield results of this wheat crop.  Seems like the extra investment of effort and management and inputs has paid off.  We followed the exact advice of our consultant, and it was helpful.  This fellow came to ride in the combine yesterday.

Landon Turner, DynaGro seed consultant, came from Kentucky on Tuesday to see first-hand the results.

End of the first wheat harvest day on Monday

John, a technician from Hutson’s, came by yesterday morning to install a software update in the JD combine.

Tuesday was a beautiful day for harvesting

The Kenworth truck sees its first action to bring in a crop from our fields.

Filling with fuel and DEF at the close of the day on Tuesday.

So, wheat harvest has been a great pleasure!

We must acknowledge and remember that with all our effort and investment, we must still rely on the blessing of our Maker.  He has provided the right weather environment for this good wheat crop.  So, as I am running my John Deere, I am offering many ‘thank yous’.  1Corinthians 3:6

The weather forecast is for a several rainy days beginning on Friday.  So there is some urgency to get this harvest completed.  If everything holds together, we can finish by tomorrow night, just under the wire.  We will see.   Planting of the double-crop soybeans (DCB) will follow as soon as the soil conditions permit.

Have a great day.. I’m headed to the wheat field… gotta get that JD going!

 

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Hot Friday

June 18, 2021

Yeah, it’s a hot one out there… 95ºF (35C).   The wind helps a bit at 24 mph, making it feel a little like living inside a hair dryer!   But these conditions are speeding along the dry-down of the wheat crop.  It’s getting close to being ready to cut.  Ross checked on it twice today, and decided to wait, but it’s not far off.  Maybe Monday, depending on the weather.

The read-out on the dash of the pickup today gives the highest temp reading of 2021.

Late this morning, Gary the delivery guy from Alliance Tractor at Vincennes brought out our new RD40F header— just in time for the wheat crop, no?  We had to install the lock-up bolts in the cutterbar, and then we performed the many ‘calibrations’ for this new header.  We lowered the 4 off-the-ground sensors, and the header height control seemed to work very well.  So, tomorrow or next week, it will see some action in the wheat field!

John and Brandon install the cutterbar lock-up bolts.

After lunch, Pat and I drove over to Wheatland and checked in on the condition of the wheat.  To my surprise I found some grains that were dried down and quite ‘thresh-able”.  But of course, there were others that were still pretty soft and squishy.  Another few days of sunny weather will bring it down to where we can start.    Marketable wheat has a moisture content of no more than 13%, but we will begin harvest when the grain gets to 18-19%.  We will run it through our grain dryer to get it down to 13%.  The practice of artificial drying wheat also has a benefit of increasing the ‘test weight’ of the grain by about 2 pounds per bushel.  Test weight is a measure of the density of the grain, and a test weight of 60 pounds per bushel or higher is preferred.

After plucking a few heads off the stalks, you rub it in the palm of your hand to separate the grains. Then you can blow the chaff away. Take a bite of the grains of wheat to examine the moisture content. You don’t want any squishy sensation in your mouth, but the grains should have a firmness… something like a peanut.

Looking good!

Have a pleasant weekend, everyone.

 

 

 

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Painting day

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Carroll Painting crew is here today.  The shop and the tractor storage building, plus the LP tank is getting a fresh coat of white.

Here’s the first coat….

John is quite busy today with applying some herbicide to soybean fields.  The wind is a bit more favorable today (<10mph), so he is being very diligent to get this application done in this window of opportunity.  He needs about 3 more days to feel ‘caught up’.

Brandon is at work in the grain bins, cleaning the interior of #4, #5, and #7 and the two load-out bins.  This will prepare them to receive some wheat, hopefully next week!

 

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