It’s a gray old day

Monday, November 28, 2022

It’s a gray looking day out there, kinda feels like winter, even though that’s about 3 weeks off yet.  The skies are cloudy and gloomy, and there’s a damp feeling in the air.   That makes for a good day to work in the office, where it’s nice and warm.  We are now pretty much all planned for the farm’s fiscal year end on Wednesday.  The cash flow is planned, and the expenses are finally a known amount.  It is a good feeling to be ‘ready’ for that.

Grain deliveries will pick up again next week when December arrives.  There will be many loads to take to GPC and ADM.  That will be the bulk of the daytime work load here at Carnahan & Sons.  But there will be some bookkeeping each day to keep everything current.   So the routine of the work continues.

The machines are all cleaned up now, and stored away.  The trucks are even shiny right now, but the weather next week may mess them up a bit as they must be out on the roads delivering corn and soybeans to market.  That is also a good feeling to have your machinery looking clean… dad always told us ‘take care of your machines, and they’ll take care of you”.  We have defined a few small repairs to perform on the JD combine, and those are scheduled to take place soon.  The new ammonia applicator bar has arrived at the dealer, and we hope the set-up on it will be finished in a couple weeks, so that it can be delivered here.  We’ve been waiting since July of 2021 for that to arrive!   So, each day we make steps toward #plant23.   It’ll be here before you know it!

Genesis 8:22.

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Back Home Again in Indiana…

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Pat and I took a week to go down to Disney World… We had a wonderful time down there.  But now we’re back to the farm, and engaging in the interesting work of finishing the farm’s fiscal year… November 30.   That requires a lot of communication among the farmers here as we scrutinize the inventory, define year-end expenses, and arrange the plans with the accountant.  The guys have been delivering corn and soybeans to market to fill the November contracts.  So, it’s been busy here while Pat and I were down in Florida.

At Animal Kingdom

The studios were a fun place to visit

We met the “big cheese” himself at Epcot

Magic Kingdom is even more enjoyable after dark

Grain gets delivered most days during the winter.

 

The Tony truck is getting loaded to go to market.

In other news, my new pickup has arrived.  It took 15 months of waiting after the order for it to arrive here at the farm   I think it was worth the wait!

F-150 King Ranch Edition

We hope you take time to really think about your Thanksgiving celebration.  It is a very special and unique American holiday, and can be significant in its meaning.  It causes us to pause and ‘count our blessings’.   That’s probably something we should do each day, but at least we have a good reason to concentrate on it on this holiday.

At home, we haven’t started with the decorations for Christmas, but that may come at the end of the week.  I have a knee replacement surgery coming soon on December 7, so we will want to get done what is needed before that date.   The knee replacement will be done at our local hospital; the surgeon has an impeccable reputation, and he utilizes some kind of robot to assist his work.  I am praying for a reasonable recuperation, and that when it’s done I won’t walk like Chester on Gunsmoke!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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November duties

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The march of fall activity moves on.  The dry fertilizers for next year’s corn and soybean fields have all been applied.  We are monitoring the condition of the stored grain in each bin.  The calculations and planning for the end of the farm’s fiscal year on 11/30 continues.  Conversations with the accountant are ongoing.  The clean-up of the machines has been completed, as well as some after-harvest maintenance and repair to the JD S780 combine.  Grain deliveries will kick in again next week.  John is setting up some video monitors around the farm to enhance security.   Brandon and Jake have been cutting down some sprouts and brush from some of the farm’s ditches.   Maybe it doesn’t sound like much is going on, but there are important tasks taking place.  Admittedly, the hours at work are not as long as when we were in the crush of harvest.

John put a ceramic coating on this JD 6145R tractor. Shines like new (maybe even better!) For sure it is #Andyclean

The combines are shined up and packed away in the shed for winter

Our 2023 wheat crop has been struggling to get started.  The dry September and October were excellent for harvesting, but not-so-great for the wheat.  Now that we have received some rains recently, another flush of seeds are sprouting.  Those bare patches are now beginning to show little green plants about one inch tall finally getting started.  Not the best start for the crop, but it’ll finally look better soon.  These warm days are a bonus to help it get going.

More wheat is finally getting started!

Yesterday, I had some preliminary testing done at our local hospital in advance of a knee replacement in early December.  There was a CT scan and some blood tests, and an EKG.  I think I passed all the hurdles.  They gave me some exercises to do 2x/day to prepare.  I hope I’ll be ready.  Maybe by new year’s I won’t walk like Chester on the old TV show Gunsmoke.

Another couple significant and long-awaited things will happen today.  At home, the installers are hooking up a Generac generator, which was ordered 15 months ago.  And, I’m going this morning to bring home my new pickup, which was also ordered 15 months ago!   I’m pretty hopeful that these new items will be worth the long wait.  (Insert your comment here about the supply chain issues.)

The November weather has been holding out pretty nice.  We have had several days this week that are in the 70s, with bright blue skies.  As we were headed off to Washington, Indiana last evening for a HS girls’ basketball game, we could see the yellow moon rising over the horizon.  It was brilliant, and looked twice its normal size.  The night was almost as bright as day with the glow of that full moon!  We are expecting below-average temperatures over the weekend into next week.  That will be less pleasant, but not surprising.  This is southern Indiana after all, not San Diego!   Plus, the colder temperatures makes it feel like basketball season!

The brilliant and clear blue skies of November at Carnahan & Sons

Enjoy your day.   As Thanksgiving approaches, please remember that every day is a good day to count your blessings!

 

 

 

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Rain!

Monday, October 31, 2022

We got some rain!   It started yesterday morning, but let up in the afternoon, so that we could get our granddaughters’ soccer games in.  Then, in the evening, it came some more.  Altogether, we got .8 to 1.0″  (20 to 25mm).   It was VERY welcome.  September and October were unusually dry, which was very good for soybean and corn harvest, but not-so-good for the emerging 2023 wheat crop.  Plus, the danger of fires was pretty severe.  So, this was a happy thing to happen here!  The rain drizzled through the morning today, but the afternoon has been cloudy but dry.

We did some repairs to the S780 combine first thing this morning.   We replaced the two elevator chains.  The old chains were the originals, and quite worn.  That was a tough job, but the guys persevered.

The final wash item made it into the shop today.  The 9520 tractor got its wash late this morning.  So, now the machines are all shiny again.   That seems to put the final touch on the 2022 crop.  Of course, we have the stored grain to deliver that will occupy many days during this post-harvest winter season.

Loading the Tony truck with soybeans for tomorrow’s deliveries.

The dusty ‘before’ picture…

…and the ‘after’. Much better, no?  Is it #Andyclean?

Still quite busy with office work as we are developing our crop budgets for 2023.  We are seeing some significant increases over the costs for 2022, most notably for seeds, nitrogen, and, herbicides.  Once we can calculate our cost per bushel, it makes for more confident marketing of our products.    Yes, these are based on estimates (as far as yields are concerned), but the cost of the inputs is becoming pretty much defined by now.  It is amazing now what it costs to plant a crop!   Our crop budgeting files go back to 2002, and the changes over 20 years are really something.

November promises to be a month packed with activity….but at least there shouldn’t be any late nights!

 

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Clean-up continues…

Friday, October 28, 2022

The great clean-up continues at Carnahan & Sons.  Today, it’s time for the green combine.  The first action on it was to take it out to a nearby field, and use the air compressor from the ThunderCreek Trailer to blow off the dust and debris.  Then, it goes on the wash pad for a soaping and scrub brush.  The final rinse makes it shine like new, which is our goal on cleaning day.

The guys use the air compressor in the ThunderCreek to blow away the debris from the S780 combine.

A good wash now will make this S780 look like new again.

Not much remains to be cleaned.  I think the JD 9520R tractor is the only thing that still needs a good wash.  It saw no field action this fall, but got a pretty thick coating of dust just sitting in the open-front shed near the grain elevator!

Other things going on:  The local Nutrien plant is quite busy working for us.  Fertilizers are being spread on next year’s corn and soybean fields.  A few select fields are getting ag lime today.  Lime is a powdery substance that when applied raises the pH of the soil.  The soil’s pH is a critical agronomic factor.  It is the first consideration to get right, in order for all the fertility and the pesticide action to work properly!

We have a young neighbor, Dustin Hatton, who has brought his dozer over to perform  maintenance on some of our terraces here at the main farm.  He is doing a very good job.  Our WASCoBs need a little sediment pushed out every few years.  And every so often the terraces on contour need a little refurbishment.  They are getting Dustin’s touch this week.  Once he finishes his work, we no-till plant some rye as a cover crop on the freshly-turned soil to protect it from erosion this winter.

Lime going on today

Here, Dustin works on a contour terrace to restore its functionality

After Dustin’s repair work on this WASCoB, this is the No-till drill we use for  planting rye to protect such newly-worked soil areas from erosion over winter.

 

It’s a pretty nice day, about 60ºF (15C).  The cloudless skies reveal bright sunshine.

Have a great weekend.

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2023 already underway

Thursday, October 27, 2022

We are already working on the 2023 crop.  Today, Nutrien is applying some fertilization for next year’s soybeans.  They’ve been at these applications for next year’s corn and soybeans most days since harvest finished.

Nick from Nutrien spreads the P, K, and micronutrients for this field of 2023 soybeans.

A tender truck re-fills the spreader truck on-site to speed the process

Clean-up on the equipment has begun also.  Three of the trucks have been washed, and now the red combine is on the wash pad.  The CIH 420 Rowtrac Tractor is also clean and shiny.

Jake is working on making the 8250 shine!

The JD 9520R is waiting patiently for its turn on the wash pad. The CIH 420 Rowtrac has already been there. Can you tell the difference?

We met yesterday with our seed dealer and his area rep, and made our seed selections from the DeKalb and Asgrow line-up.  It took almost 3 hours to get through those discussions.

All these are signs of getting ready for #plant23

The nights are chilly, but the days are sunny and in the 60s.  Not bad at all.

Have a nice weekend.

 

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#harvest 22 is in the books

Saturday, October 22, 2022

We finished the fall harvest yesterday about noon.  We were in the Steen Hill field.  It was a brilliant and bright day, with a little wind and good field conditions.  It has been so very dry throughout the fall harvest season.  Those dry conditions are making it difficult for the 2023 wheat to get started, but also make for  a much easier harvest.  You can drive your trucks out in the fields, taking them close to the combines’ action, making it more efficient for the grain cart operator to keep the combines moving.

Looking back over the past one month and one day of harvest activity, (we started Tuesday, September 20) we did experience a few ‘bumps’ along the way… but those are to be expected in any fall harvest.  There are things that occur that you just cannot anticipate.  We had a truck in a ditch, some spills in the field with the grain cart, a broken snout on each corn head, and a few flat tires.   We rolled with the punches.   No one was hurt.  We must remember that we have only one ‘rookie’ on this very veteran team.  And that rookie brought a good attitude when he showed up early every day.  So, we can say this was a very good harvest.

The yields were affected by the July flooding, and the fall drought.  But the effects were not severe enough to qualify any of our fields for a crop insurance yield claim.  In fact, the final corn yield was the second-best I can remember.  Soybean yields were below the recent years’ APH, but still decent.  The DCB made 49 bpa, and that was a second-best number, too.   And if we look back a few months, we can recall our wheat crop in June was the best-ever!  In fact, we learned last week that the wheat field we entered into a national yield contest, was the top winner for the State of Indiana, and 13th-best in the USA.   So, we are grateful for the results.  It’s always amazing how our Maker provides, no matter what.  It’s easy in this post-harvest period to wax a bit philosophical about the results of our year’s work.

I think today about how everyone went ‘above and beyond’ to get this crop brought in.  We had help from Ross’ widow Rhoda, who spent hours and hours operating the grain cart. She pulled headers as we moved the machines from field to field.  We had Bill (a retired farmer) coming in the dark each morning to take a load off to Newburgh, Indiana or over to GPC at Washington.   Jake, the newest team member, also arrived early each morning to make a truck trip to Newburgh, or wherever we needed.  He was also a skilled operator of the grain cart.  Larry, who is working through his 55th year with us, planted the wheat crop, and came every day to drive trucks, or plant cover crops, or whatever we needed.   John ran the dryer and elevator, which is a monumental job, and often required staying into the wee hours of the morning to make sure the dryer unloaded into the proper storage bin.  He was also on demand for any field repair that came up.  He is the guy we call when we cannot fix it ourselves… he arrives with a pickup loaded with just the right tools, and the strength and know-how to get you going again.  (In fact, as I write this on Saturday morning, John is off to help Larry with a flat tire on the disk.)  Brandon ran the red combine, and made the extra effort to direct the trucks where they needed to go.   That is often a complex matrix of contracts, deliveries, and drivers.  Seemed like the trucks then showed up at the field  at just the right time to keep the field harvest work flowing pretty smoothly.  My task, in addition to running the green combine, was to take care of all the paperwork each morning, documenting the previous day’s harvest, and making sure the settlement sheets corresponded to each delivered load, and that all that information reconciles with the bank.  And, I get to make sure each bill gets paid on time, and that the Friday payroll goes out to the employees.  It’s feels complex during the busy season, but with each of us performing our tasks, it seems to pull together.

 

Here are some recent pictures from the last few days of #harvest22.

Unloading some soybeans into the grain cart.

Hutson brought us an X9 demonstrator for a day.  It was fun to watch that 50-foot header do its work.

Jake working the grain cart

View from the driver’s seat while unloading

Working at Steen Hill, the last field for the fall.

Brandon getting the last of the 2022 corn

How it looked to bring in those last rows of corn.

The last hopper of ’22 corn goes into the grain cart…

The evening of our final harvest day was a beauty.

On our plate now, is the fall fertility program.  Choosing and scheduling the fall application of lime, phosphorus, and potassium, along with micronutrients.   Along with that goes the year-end tax planning for our FYE November 30.   There are still some grain deliveries to make this month, and early next month.  The office is a busy place after harvest!  We will be meeting with our seed advisors soon to choose the seed for the 2023 corn and soybeans.   The work rolls on!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Praise the Good Lord for another safe and bountiful harvest.

 

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DCB

Monday, October 17, 2022

On Friday evening, after a big week’s worth of corn harvesting, we took the combines back to the main farm.  On Saturday morning, each machine took a turn in the shop for a servicing.  The engine oil and filters were changed.  That took most of morning.   In the afternoon, Brandon took the red combine out to the field to get a sample of the double-crop soybeans (DCB).  To my surprise, they more than dry enough to cut, so we began Saturday afternoon in earnest to begin harvesting our 2022 DCB crop.  It was a good Saturday.

The JD S780 came into the shop Saturday morning for an oil change.

Loading the Pete

The grain dryer doing its thing on Thursday night.

 

It was good to get back into soybean harvesting.  The weather has been exceptionally favorable for our fall harvest.  (Although, we do need a rain on the emerging wheat crop)  The corn has been producing pretty good yields, but not very much of it has been dry enough to just place into storage, without going through the dryer.  These days of soybean harvesting will allow the ‘solar dryer’ to do some additional work on the standing corn, and hopefully when we return to finish it off, the grain will be dry enough to go straight into storage.  The other benefit of some soybean harvesting days is that it will allow the guys to deliver corn to market on our fall contracts and make room for the corn we will bring in on the last few days of harvesting.  Yes, even with the new grain bin, we ran out of room in our corn bins!  The guys are delivering already this morning, creating space for the last of the corn to come in.  We have about 200 acres of corn yet to harvest…that should take two days or less.

Pat captured these pictures Saturday afternoon as we worked in the DCB field around the house.

Brandon’s working in the ‘mailbox field’.

We are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.  With some good days, #harvest22 could come to an end next week.  It’s been good.  PTL!

Have a great week.

 

 

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The sunny days continue

Thursday, October 6, 2022

The long streak of sunny days continues!   It has been almost ideal weather for fall harvest of soybeans and corn.  They say we got a sprinkle of rain about 6am today, but I don’t see any evidence of that.

We ran out of soybeans that were dry enough to cut on Tuesday evening.   So, we began back in the corn field yesterday.  That will continue for 5-7 more days as we await the remaining soybeans to get ‘ready’.  We ran across one corn field yesterday that had been subjected to major flooding in that July 25th humongous rain.  Any area that saw the waters above the ears had significant damage to the grain quality.  And surrounding areas that were flooded less deeply had some diminished yield.   Even so, it could have been much worse!  We are grateful for the corn that those fields did deliver.  Plus, most of the corn we harvested yesterday was at or below 15% moisture, and it could go directly into storage without using the dryer!   The test weight was good, too.

We will likely continue harvesting corn the remainder of the week.

Here are some photos from this week’s work.

Here, we are loading the Pete with soybeans at the end of the day, so that it will be ready for the early trip to Newburgh the next morning.

Getting the combines fueled and serviced in the morning as we wait for the dew to ‘burn off’.

Unloading corn on-the-go

Hope you’re enjoying the great October weather.

 

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Sowing wheat.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Larry has been working most afternoons last week to sow (plant) our 2023 wheat crop.  After delivering some grain to market in the mornings, he has dedicated his afternoons and evenings to the wheat.  Today, he should complete that task.   So, we look forward to moving that important job from the “to do” list to the “done” list.

Harvest continues.  It was great to have a ‘day off’ yesterday.  The weather forecast for the next 10 days is favorable. PTL!

Have a great week.

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