It’s a start

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Yesterday afternoon we inched our way into corn harvest.  We went over to our “Harry” farm location and got several loads.  We caught up to our dryer just before dark, so we stopped for the night.  The corn moisture was running 23-26%, a bit wetter than we’d like.  Ideally, the grain moisture would run <23, but not quite there yet.  So, we hope to harvest enough to fill our September delivery corn contracts, and then switch over to harvest some  soybeans.  Some pictures from the first day’s corn harvest.

On the road, following Ross to the field.

Ross eases his way into the initial rows of #harvest21

Ross opens a new strip down the hill from me.

We try to keep the combines as close together as possible for the ease of the grain cart driver–Brandon. He’s pretty good at it. Keeps him busy to serve two 12-row combines!  He is operating a CIH 420 RowTrac tractor and Demco 1322 grain cart.

I must add a little video of unloading on-the-go!

Have a good week.

 

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Check that off the pre-harvest list

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Well, the mowing of roadsides went very well.  After 6 solid days of running the John Deere 6130R tractor and R15 rotary cutter, the roadside mowing is ‘caught up’.  After completing that task late this morning, I washed up the cutter and put it into storage.  We may get it back out for a few days after harvest has moved along… in order to mow around the perimeter of some fields–to clean up the appearance.  Time will tell if/when that will get done.  But for now, it is a good thing to have another important task completed.

Mowing the waterway at Huey

I’ve really been wanting to get this stretch of US 50 near Wheatland shaped up…

Mowing the lay-out hillside at Lett. The beans down in that main field look very nice right now.

…and now the tractor is clean again!

Here is the JD 6130R tractor, all clean on the new wash-pad. This was the first machine to get a wash job on the new concrete.

The headers came into the shop today for final adjustments.  The lock-up bolts were removed from the JD RD40F.  The MacDon was inspected and lubricated.  Brandon installed the corn head on the CIH 8250 combine.   The JD S780 combine needs a service call from the dealer for an engine ECU (electronic control unit).  That’s supposed to happen tomorrow.   Little by little, we are getting ready for some harvest coming next week.  #harvest21 is on the way.

We began today with some very preliminary thinking about the 2022 crops.  We are certain  of how many acres of wheat we will be planting this fall.  We have decided which farm locations will be planted to wheat.  In essence, we will be planting nearly the same number of acres as we harvested in 2021.  We also have consulted with our fertilizer supplier and have some preliminary cost figures for the fertility plans for 2022.  The increases in cost are significant!  Shockingly high, really.  Not doubled, but not too far from that!  So we have begun our work with the crop budgeting for ’22, and we will refine our numbers as we get more firm cost figures.   It will help to determine the allocation of acres between corn and soybeans.   The most important number for us to define is our cost per bushel.   From that, it makes our marketing much easier.   So, in our minds, 2022 is already on our radar!

Such a beautiful day here in SWIN today.  The temperature is a perfect 79ºF (26C).  The sky is a brilliant, bright blue with scattered “Andy’s room” clouds.

Puffy white clouds dot the sky

Have a great weekend, everyone.

 

 

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Labor Day along US 50

Monday, September 6, 2021

Making US 50 look a little better today.

US 50 is not very busy on this Labor Day

A pleasant task when all is working well on a sunny day like today.

I’m working closer to home today.  Tomorrow, I’ll work at locations more distant.   This will be a busy week with the rotary cutter.

Ross thinks we can start with corn harvest next Monday, the 13th.  We will do some hand sampling late in the week to see if that’s really gonna happen.  Ross’ estimates are usually pretty close; he never misses it by much…

Welcome to September!

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It’s going again

Friday, September 3, 2021

The John Deere 6130R returned home yesterday.  I had engine cooling system trouble with it a few weeks ago, and it had to go back to the dealer for repair.  They had some difficulty securing the parts for this machine… some had to come from Germany!   That delayed the repair by many days.  All in all, this tractor was gone for just a tick over a month.  During that time, I could have been mowing roadsides, but the weeds continued to grow.  I am eager to use every opportunity now before harvest to use this tractor with the JD R15 rotary cutter (“bush hog”, in common terms) to make our fields look ‘cared for’.  I may not get to all of them before harvest, but that’s my goal.

Unloading the 6130R back at the farm

Hooked up and ready to go

On the move with the R15 rotary cutter

Yes, this operation does not add any dollars to the bottom line.  It does, however, make me feel like I’m paying attention to the details.  This utility-sized tractor (130 HP) is ideal for this task, and it is a treat to operate with its IVT transmission.  The only thing I’m missing is  Bluetooth in the radio for hands-free phone calls.

 

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Another week closer…

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

We got a rain on Saturday evening, then another yesterday evening… it amounted to over an inch!  Late-August rain is a boost for the double-crop soybeans (DCB).  I don’t think it will affect the corn yields much, for we can assume it’s already ‘made’  by this point on the calendar.  It may boost soybeans a bit, helping to fill out the pods.  All in all, the rain was a happy event.   August rain has been unexpectedly abundant this summer–4.32″ (110 mm).

You can see today that the soybeans are definitely turning — more yellow than green now

One benefit of the rain is that the humidity is noticeably less today.  Temps are predicted in the mid-80s rather than the recent days’ mid 90s!  We are predicted to have 2-3 nights in the 50s!  Relief!  The more comfortable temps make for a more pleasant experience working in the shop to prepare the trucks for harvest.  We are ‘almost there’ with our preparations.   Only the truck we call “Vanna” remains to be prepared.  It will need to be switched over from the water trailer to a hopper-bottom trailer.

The 712FC came into the shop the other day to be serviced and made ready for #harvest21

We used the water trailer a bit last Friday and Saturday to support the sprayer.  We needed to put some Liberty herbicide on some areas of waterhemp in our DCB.   With current herbicide chemistry, the old problem weed of marestail has nearly disappeared, but waterhemp remains difficult (although not impossible) to control.  Our old nemesis, johnsongrass, seems to be a bit harder to contain this summer…

Waterhemp in soybeans. The red-stemmed plant with abundant seed heads at the top. From the genus Amaranthus.

Johnsongrass or Sorghum halepense It reproduces with both seed and rhizomes (underground stems).

 

Watching the monitor as the sprayer boom gets an air purge to clean it out when the spraying was completed

Ross is estimating the fall harvest beginning on the 11th, or very soon after.  We will begin with some corn, and hope that the moisture level is <25%.  We should have some soybeans ready sometime during the week of the 20th.

I anticipate the return of the JD 6130R tractor very soon.   The last remaining part for repair finally arrived at the dealer yesterday afternoon!  I am eager to return to roadside mowing, and hope to get that caught up before harvest.

A new radiator is being installed in the 6130R at the dealer

Looking forward to a busy fall season.

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Project wrap-up

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

At least one of our projects has been completed.  The guys from Hendrixson Concrete finished their work here yesterday.  We are very pleased with the quality of their work.  They built a new pad for a bin fan, repaired the concrete over the unload system on Bin #9, constructed a new apron for the old unload pit, and poured a new wash pad for us.   Once these new concrete areas ‘cure’, we will put them to use.  They really look nice, and they will be more functional and durable than before.

Putting the finishing touches on the wash pad

Other projects remain unfinished, mainly the installation of a new aeration floor in our Bin #4.  The materials should arrive next week…or so… it’ll take a couple days to install it.

We still wait for the return of the little JD tractor from the dealer’s shop.  The days are winding down for the window to mow the roadsides another time.  The shop manager thinks he will have the tractor back to us by the weekend.  I sure hope that happens.  The skill or dedication of the dealer’s shop has not created the delay, but it has taken a lengthy period of time to gather in all the necessary parts.  We are grateful this machine is still under warranty!

The weather has been more uncomfortable for about a week now.  I guess we should not be surprised by the mid-90s temps and the high humidity… it is August in southern Indiana.   I suppose we are just a more acclimated to our air conditioned homes and vehicles.  Our outside jobs this week have been done in the earlier-morning relative cool, or in little spurts with times taken to cool back down.

Mornings have been foggy recently

We performed the over-the-air software updates to the JD equipment.  Each one took about 45 minutes to download and install.  It is very convenient to do these twice-a-year updates.  Our John Deere tractors and combine are all connected to JD Link, and that makes such convenience possible.

Fall harvest preparations continue.  John replaced a big batch of filters on the JD S780 combine yesterday.  The fuel and engine oil filters will be changed at the next oil change, but air filters, and such were switched out yesterday.   Just another step on fall harvest prep.  Brandon has been doing maintenance on the trucks.

Brandon keeps the trucks ready

The 780 is in the shop for new filters

As we look ahead, harvest could begin in about 3 weeks.  You can see the corn and soybeans are definitely ‘turning’.   It will be amazing here in this neighborhood over the next 75-80 days and we see the crops come in.   We hope that the weather is cooperative, with mostly dry and sunny days.   And cooler nights would be more comfortable, too!

You can tell the soybeans are ‘turning’

You can tell it is fall when you finally notice that the sun feels hot, but the air is cooler.

 

Enjoy the rest of your week.

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Concrete projects moving along

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The crew of Hendrixson Concrete is making progress toward some new concrete surfaces for the farm.  There are four parts to this month’s work.  We are replacing the homemade concrete apron from 1973 at the unload pit.  It was breaking up, sinking a bit, and making it hard to clean up after unloading a truck.  We are replacing our outdoor ‘wash pad’, where we clean up tractors, trucks, and combines.  It was also a homemade concrete pad, made up of a patchwork of different additions over the years, and was not holding up very well.  They will repair the hole where the concrete was broken out to replace the unload augers from Bin #9.  And finally, Bin #9 gets a new concrete base for the newly-installed aeration floor’s fan.  So, lots of concrete work this month.

Larry Branch works to break out some more corners near the old unload pit. The forms and rebar for the new unload apron are pretty much in place. Looks great– much more substantial than our homemade work back in 1973!

As is normal with concrete work, the ‘getting ready’ is lots more work-intensive than the actual pour and finish.  The crew has been working diligently to bust up the old, cracked and faulty stuff, level and compact the underneath surface, build forms, and install the rebar.   It looks like some initial concrete will be poured today near the shop, where they are making a ‘curb’ by the adjoining buildings– before they pour the wash pad.

The ‘curb’ forms are in place.

It’s started…pouring the curb near the shop

It is exciting to think what the finished product will be!  These high-traffic areas will be much more functional and user-friendly.  Farm improvements like these are very satisfying to see developed and completed.

In other news…

As we anticipate the fall harvest, Brandon and John are doing preventive maintenance on some of  the trucks today, and making sure they are ready for fall.

New brake pads and drums are needed on the Vision semi today. All part of preparation for fall.

We look around at our maturing crops, and we are hopeful.  Even the double-crop soybeans (DCB) have now emerged from the wheat straw and have carpeted the golden field with a beautiful, deep-green covering.  I think you can see just the faintest hint that the earliest-planted corn is beginning to ‘turn’.  Our preparation must follow suit, for #harvest21 is only about 4 weeks (or so) away!  Another ‘busy season’ will soon be upon us.

DCB looking pretty nice.  We are grateful… we only plant them…God makes them grow

 

As we anticipate what looks like (at least right now it does) a very promising harvest, we pray for safety for all those who will be working extra long hours to bring in the 2021 crop.  Be safe out there, everyone.

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Farmer Salute for Jeff Jackson

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Late yesterday morning a group of many local farmers banded together to pay tribute to a neighborhood farmer who unexpectedly passed away last Tuesday.  It was decided to honor Jeff Jackson with our farm equipment.   All along the 12 miles of Indiana Hwy 61 used by the funeral procession– from Monroe City to Vincennes– farmers parked dozens of combines and tractors and trucks.  As the procession passed by the combine augers were extended to salute Jeff and his family, flashing lights were operating, and many farmers stood by in solemn respect.  It was an impressive sight.

There were two locations that were the primary sites of the tribute, one at the Little League field near Monroe City and then at the front lawn of the South Knox Schools.  But there were many other locations where farmers placed their machines along the highway, especially those whose farmsteads and fields were along the route.

Tribute at Monroe City Little League fields

Tribute at SKHS

 

One of the most touching moments (at least for me) was passing by Joe and Phyllis Holscher–high school classmates of Jeff.  It may be a bit hard to see in this little video clip, but Joe had his farm hat in hand, over his heart as the procession passed by.

It was a beautiful day, in the low 80s.

We are grateful for the many farmers who made the effort to bring their machines to the processional route for Jeff, and who offered their respect for this good man.

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Rainy week

Friday, August 13, 2021

Friday the 13th?  Nothing scary here.

Yesterday evening, just before dark, we got a significant rainfall.   A little over an inch came down in about 30 minutes.  It was raining so hard that the satellite TV signal was blocked, and prevented us from seeing part of the “Field of Dreams” baseball game.  I got a warning this morning from Climate.com that said we had potentially received some hail on 8 of our fields.  But after a drive-by this morning, there seems to be no hail damage.  Even so, many of our soybean fields are showing lodged beans (not standing straight up), or kinda ‘mashed down’ from the heavy rain.

Last evening’s radar showed what was on its way.

Last night’s rain was the 3rd rain event for us for the week.  We have received about 3.5″ (89mm) since Monday morning!   Other parts of the corn belt are experiencing a major drought, but not here in southwestern Indiana.  We have had an abundance of rain.  We are grateful for the blessing of adequate ( and really not too much) moisture for our crops.  One guy told me today that “you must be livin’ right”, but that’s not the correct measure.   Matthew 5:44-45 lets us know our attempts at piety do not affect the weather!  Let’s hope our faithfulness remains no matter what the weather.

I have kept fairly busy with the Gator, spraying ditch banks and roadsides for weeds.  I need to make another trip out today.  The thing I’d prefer to be doing is mowing roadsides.  That isn’t possible yet, for our little 6130R tractor is still in the shop–waiting again for parts from Europe!   The roadsides along our fields are looking a bit ragged again, and I am eager to make them look ‘cared for’.  It’s not really that I enjoy that task, but I appreciate what the fields and roadsides look like afterwards.  Maybe by the time the little tractor returns, it will be late enough for that mowing to be the final one before harvest.  We shall see.

Brandon has the machines looking nice…they’re clean and ready for fall harvest.

The 780 combine is shiny again.

We are making some small improvements at the farmstead.  Some patches of old cracked and uneven concrete have been removed, and we await the pouring of new areas to replace them.  The main one is our outdoor ‘wash pad’.  Our electrician, Russell Lashley, is here for a few days to wire up the changes we have made to one bin’s aeration flooring, and also its unloading system.   Little improvements like these will make future harvest seasons go more smoothly.

John installs a replacement frost-proof hydrant for the new wash pad

One thing that hasn’t let up has been the mowing.  With a summer of abundant rainfall, the yards and farm lots could be mowed 2x/week.  It only gets mowed once… we haven’t reached that time of year when the yard turns brown and crunchy.  I hope I can find a window today dry enough to mow the yard at home.   That’s the plan anyway.

As the weekend approaches, we prepare for the funeral services of our dear neighbor Jeff Jackson.  His untimely and quite unexpected death has rocked our community.  But we will pull together to honor Jeff, and to support this wonderful family.

We hope your weekend is a pleasant one.

 

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Tragedy strikes in the neighborhood

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

We received news last night we did not want to hear.  Our good neighbor, Jeff Jackson, was killed in an ATV accident.  They say he was spraying ditch banks, and the 4-wheeler overturned and landed atop him.  He died at the scene.  Our hearts are broken for this wonderful family.  Jeff was 63 years old, and a happy grandpa.   He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.   This community lost a terrific leader, who served others in many ways.  He led the local township volunteer fire department, and many times he was the first responder to any 911 call.  He seemed tireless.   Jeff was our DeKalb/Asgrow dealer, and delivered unparalleled service.   Jeff continued his family’s legacy of superb farm management.   He was an admired and respected farmer, and always maintained a proper spirit of humility.   Best of all, he was a fellow believer in Christ, and his faithfulness was always quietly apparent.

We will do all we can to support this family.  Please pray for them.

Philippians 4:6-7

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