Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 25, 2021

We have lots of reasons to be thankful.  Good crop.  Reasonably good health.  Great folks who make up the members of the team here that work together very well.  Families will be together for this holiday.   Brandon’s household grew last week with the arrival of new baby Hudson!  And the list goes on and on.

Thank you, Lord, for your goodness, your lovingkindness, and your graciousness to us.  We declare our dependence on you and our gratitude for your provision.

We love this truly American holiday.  May the attitude it encourages remain with us through the year.

Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving Day from all of us here at Carnahan & Sons!

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Back from WDW

 

Monday, November 22, 2021

We returned home Saturday evening from a nice week at Disney World.  The weather there was just about perfect– 78-80º each day!  We certainly enjoyed our time down there, and we were able to experience a few of the new things introduced for WDW’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.  We enjoyed the new fireworks at Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and the Remy’s Ratatouille ride at Epcot.  We certainly walked a lot of miles each day.  A little rest is in order!

At Epcot

Part of the new HarmonioUS show at Epcot

At our favorite restaurant in Disney Springs… Art Smith’s Homecomin’.   This place salutes the farmers of Florida…and the food is great!

Cinderella Castle just before “Disney Enchantment” fireworks, all decked out for the 50th Anniversary of WDW

During the special Very Merriest After Hours event, the highlight of the Once Upon A Christmastime Parade… The Toy Soldiers!

The humongous lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort. That gingerbread house is 1-1/2 stories tall, with a candy shop inside!

We piloted the Millennium Falcon

We dropped by our favorite resort, the Wilderness Lodge… breathtaking as always…

One of our favorite rides, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Back now at home, Brandon has the combines washed and stored away, and John has begun his work to assemble the new blend/load system on the Demco sprayer tender trailer.  Brandon and Bill are delivering corn to market.

The new Demco sprayer tender trailer is in the shop to begin John’s customization

One of the main components is the hose reel. John is getting 12V power connected to it today.

It is a sunny day here in SWIN, but much cooler (by about 40 degrees!) than central Florida.

We are looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday.  It is not only the scrumptious food, but also the humble attitude of gratitude that makes it a special occasion.  It will be a specific time to ‘count your blessings’ and express our thankfulness to our Maker.  We hope this atmosphere of being thankful extends far beyond Thursday’s official holiday.

 

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Clean-up continues…

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Brandon has been quite busy with the clean-up.  He has given his touch to several machines so far.  He uses compressed air to blast off caked-on dirt along with loose dust and leaves.  Then, he uses a garden hose, bucket of suds and a long-handled brush to do the final cleaning.   The results are pretty good.  One could say it’s almost #Andyclean.  (Andyclean is one of the stars of AgTwitter).   The weather forecast tell us this will be the final warm day for quite a while, so the “washing’ part of the clean-up will probably move into the shop.

Here are some of items he’s made look almost ‘like new’.

First was the Demco 1322 grain cart

 

The CIH STX420 Rowtrac

The Mack Vision

The MacDon FD75

The JD RD40F

The Mack CH model we call “Vanna”

The combines will get the treatment soon.  First, with compressed air…

Fertilizer continues to be spread for the 2022 crops.  We are meeting with our Nutrien folks to nail down the costs for the herbicides, fungicides, and other treatments.  We did finalize our seed choices for corn and soybeans on Monday.  We are working diligently to develop a clear picture of the plans and costs for the 2022 crop year.  It is rather startling to discover how the input costs have dramatically risen over 2021.  My work on the crop budget has been more critical than ever.  But once we get that as accurate as we can, it does make us more confident marketers of our bushels.

John is deep into the design and execution of the chemical mixing and delivery system for the new Demco sprayer tender trailer.  It is quite a project, but he is thorough in his planning.  At least we have the experience of the previous system we built on the old water trailer to draw upon, as well as viewing various sophisticated and elaborate (and expensive) systems online.

Ross has been marketing more of the 2021 crop and early portions of the 2022 crop.  Bill has been delivering many of those loads to the markets at Washington and/or Newburgh, Indiana.

Loading the Vision for Bill to take to Newburgh

Bill Berry. He knows the road to Newburgh well. Says “he knows every bump in the road”.

I guess it may be easy for a person unfamiliar with the nature of grain farming to think that when the field work in caught up, there is nothing else to be done.  So, when someone asks, “Are ya done farmin’?” we say, “well, the crush of harvest is over, but the work goes on”.    At least after harvest, the pace lets up and we have a more ‘normal’ work day.  Home for supper, for example.

We will certainly enjoy the warmth of this day, and respond appropriately to whatever the next few days bring us.  As always we remain grateful for this privilege of being farmers in SWIN.

Gonna be an even more special Thanksgiving this year.

 

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#harvest21 is complete

Monday, November 8, 2021

Last week was a wonderful November weather week.  Even though there was frost each morning, the afternoons were beautiful!  The fields dried down enough by Wednesday that we could return to the DCB fields.   We were able to finish on Saturday afternoon.  It is a good feeling to have that bulk of work behind us, and reflect with gratitude for the good yields.   It took 54 days start-to-finish, not every day was field work, but every one was needed to deliver grain, repair machines, and keep the bookkeeping current.  We already are deep into the planning and beginning steps for the 2022 crops.  Much of the fertility for ’22 corn and soybeans has already been applied.   The folks at Nutrien continue to move ahead as we cleared off the fields of ’21 crops.  There are some challenges as we look ahead to the ’22 crop season, but today we will rejoice in the good harvest of 2021.   The Lord has blessed us (and the farmers of the region) with a harvest of bounty.

Here are some last-day-of-harvest pictures.

Nearly finished at the Steen farm, along Hwy 241 near Wheatland

Last pass of DCB

John spent some time with me on Saturday afternoon.

Here’s the team that leads this farm.
Dennis, John, Ross, and Brandon

Next Gen

Combines wait quietly in the shed for their turn on the wash pad!

It’s another beautiful November day today, and some clean-up will begin today.

Brandon’s already working on the Demco 1322 grain cart to prepare to be stored away. Since it stores behind all other things, it gets cleaned first.

We brought home a new Demco sprayer tender trailer this week.  It replaces a very old Fruehauf grain trailer with a home-made set up that we first utilized in 1989.  This one will have a bit more capacity, should speed the sprayer pit stops, and be safer and more convenient.  John will have a big project over the winter in order to get this fully set up ahead of next spring’s spraying.

out with the old…

…in with the new

We meet this morning with our seed reps to figure out the hybrid/variety mix for ’22.  As the old Sonny and Cher song says…”the beat goes on”.    I guess that shows my age, huh?  In other words, we stay engaged in the management of Carnahan & Sons grain farm.  But now, the pace will be more like normal life, since we have #harvest21 in the rear-view-mirror.

Have a great week.  Keep looking forward to Thanksgiving Day.  We have many reasons to be thankful.

 

 

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Frosty morn

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

This morning we had our first frost of the season.  You could see it sparkling on the grass as the pickup lights shone across it.  The sun is coming up rosy today.  The forecast has us kinda hopeful that we can return to the DCB field today.  We have no rain in the forecast for about 9 days, so that should allow us the opportunity to get our double-crop soybeans finished.   The work days may be shortened with the frosty mornings, making for a later start to the harvest work.  But we are thinking we may be looking at the last few days of #harvest21.

C’mon, sunshine!

 

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Some fixin’

Friday, October 29, 2021

Yesterday afternoon, we had a busy time with some repairs.  Mechanics from both our CIH and JD dealers came by to do some fixin’.  On the CIH 8250 combine, Brad worked on the programming of the engine, to make it run smoother in ‘road mode’.  He also assisted in replacing a sensor on the grain loss monitor.

For the JD, I had been experiencing some uneven lift on the reel of the new RD40F.  The reel is the black, rotating cage-like device on the top-front of the header whose fingers rake the crop into the cutterbar and move it onto the draper belts.  The broad draper belts move the crop toward the center of the header to be fed up into the combine.  Merely bleeding the master/slave cylinders did not keep it level.  So, Devin replaced the little valve block that controls the oil flow on the reel.  It is working well now, and we will see if it stays that way.

This was not a difficult repair, but I’m glad the header is still under warranty!

Devin replaced that silver valve block right at eye level. The block came with the color-coded fittings already installed. They connected back to the color-coded hoses very quickly and easily. Then he bled the end cylinders to re-phase them with the masters. The reel is lifting evenly now.

Before we return to the DCB field, Ross intends to swap out the spare knife in the MacDon header.  It will take sharper cutting parts to cut through the straw from this summer’s wheat crop.   That will make the remaining days of #harvest21 go more smoothly for him.

We had both corn and soybeans going to market yesterday.  Some to Robinson Grain, the local elevator, and some to ADM in Newburgh, Indiana. (on the Ohio River).  The trucks are busy again today.

It’s a weird looking, gray and overcast day today.  When you still have DCB to cut, this is not what you’re looking for!  But the forecast is improving, and the first week of November looks to be colder but clearer.  It’ll take a few dry days before we can return to the DCB harvest, and then 2.5-3 field work days to finish them off.  This will be the first year in several now that we will not complete harvest in October.  I guess we’ve been a little spoiled in the past few years with dry October days!

Gray skies, damp, a bit foggy. Reminds me of some of the days I experienced in Oregon when my son Philip lived out there.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Two outta three

Thursday, October 28, 2021

It’s raining again this morning.  Only .14″ (3.6mm) so far, but it looks and feels like more.  After the weekend heavy rain, we were able to return to corn harvesting yesterday, and we finished off the final field of 2021 corn.  That felt good to check that task off the list.  But, rather than celebrate, we switched the combines over and moved over to Wheatland and started on some of the DCB (double-crop soybeans).  We used the rest of the day into the evening.   Cutting went better than I expected with the beans running 13.4 down to 12.9 moisture… a pleasant surprise.  After completing two fields, we moved the combines back home and placed them in the shed ahead of today’s predicted rain.  They are situated there now, waiting patiently for the next opportunity to cut more DCB.

These were the last rows of corn for the fall harvest

Working in a DCB field on the east edge of Wheatland

DCB on the Steen farm.

The rain total so far this morning. It’s predicted to rain off-and-on through today and tomorrow.

It’s a gray, drizzly, Oregon-like day here in SWIN… but the wheat crop looks great!

The combines are tucked away in the shed, awaiting dry conditions to finish off DCB harvest.  Yes, it’s gonna take some effort to get them clean again!

So, of the 3 crops we harvest in the fall… corn, soybeans, and DCB… two of them are complete!

 

 

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A good week behind, an uncertain week ahead.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Last week was a pretty productive week of harvest here at Carnahan & Sons.  We went to the corn field down at our ‘Freddie’ farm on Monday.  We worked diligently there for Monday and Tuesday… and got all that corn harvested.  It is our largest single field, and the farthest away from home base… 13 miles of Knox County roads.  It takes a while for the trucks to make the round trip.  During those two days, we were able to send a few loads directly from the Freddie field to GPC in Washington, when it happened that the appointments coincided with the loads.  That helped speed the trucking, for that field is closer to GPC than to home base.  There remains only one field of corn to harvest.

Wednesday, we switched over to soybeans.  We used Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and most of Saturday for soybean harvest…until the rain drove us from the field.  We were able to complete the harvest of the regular-crop soybeans by Saturday afternoon.  That means that all our crops in the White River bottom fields are done!  So, no more crops in danger from flooding!

This was the view of the final pass of regular- season soybeans from Saturday afternoon.

 

Thursday, while working at the Nellie field near White River, the combine picked up this chunk of wood that had drifted in with the July flooding. This one broke the drive belt on the feed accelerator at the top of the ‘throat’ of the combine, under the cab.

Saturday afternoon, we moved to the DCB (double-crop soybeans) fields near Wheatland, but we only had about a half-hour of cutting before the rain set in.   We loaded our headers on the carriers and moved the combines home.  We got more rain in the wee hours of Sunday and Monday mornings, totaling over 1.2″ (31mm).  We think we will return to that final field of corn harvest tomorrow, although that field will be a bit wetter than we’d like.  It is something we can do, for we see the forecast of more rain on Thursday and Friday.  It would be good to finish off the corn for 2021.

Here, we are leaving a DCB field near Wheatland after the Saturday rain stopped the harvest.

Yesterday was a busy shop day.  We changed the engine oil in both combines, and lubricated them.  We did a repair on the spill saver on the end of the JD S780 combine unloading auger.  Then, in the late afternoon and evening, we replaced the back rockshaft of our old JD 1560 NT drill.  The rockshaft is a 4″ square steel tube, 15 feet long, on which 12 row units pivot up for transport, and down for planting.   That job was a hard one.  We had to remove the row units, which were heavy and awkward to handle.  Then the old, broken rockshaft had to be dropped out.  The new one was lifted into place and fastened in the end and center carrier bearings.  The actuating hydraulic lift cylinder was installed.  Then, the 12 row units were re-attached.  Whew!  Of course, John and Brandon did the most, especially the heavy lifting, but I was under there too, working the Milwaukee battery-powered wrench!  I gotta admit to being a bit sore today!   But it felt good to get that old drill in working order again.  I’ll use it again as soon as field conditions allow to plant some rye over some recent conservation repairs done by Mr. Worland and his bulldozer.  The rye that was planted with this drill a couple weeks ago is now beginning to emerge.

The JD S780 is in the shop for an oil change and some minor repairs.

Here we have the row units removed from the back rockshaft of this JD 1560 drill.

..and here we have everything put back together again!

So, back to corn tomorrow.  It will be less than ideal, but we will push ahead to try to finish off the harvest of of 2021 corn.

Back at home, we have surely missed the songbirds all year.  There was some kind of disease that decimated the bird population in southern Indiana this summer, but they are now slowly making a comeback.  It’s nice to see and hear the birds again in our backyard.  And, best of all, our favorite, Mr. Cardinal has returned!

It’s a treat to see this Cardinal show up at Pat’s bird feeders!

Yes, the rainy October has presented some challenges to #harvest21.  But we must remember the good things, too.   Both corn and soybean yields have been very good.  We have our soybean crop completed.  The newly-planted 2022 wheat crop looks very good.  Prices for our commodities are still holding above our per-unit costs.  No serious injuries during harvest.  Our river-bottom fields are done, and there is now no danger to them from flooding.  So, it is always a good thing to ‘count your blessings’, and realize the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Wheat at home is lookin’ good!

We need 4 really good harvest days to get this crop completely done.  We hope those field days come sooner rather than later!

Enjoy these last few days of October!

 

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Back at it

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

We returned to harvest on Monday.  We moved to our most distant location, the Freddie farm-13 miles from home base, and started in the corn there.  We had a good and big two days there, and finished it off late Tuesday night.  The best news was that the corn was <16% moisture, and we did not have to run it through the dryer.  Also, when the timing worked out, we could deliver a few loads directly to appointments at GPC!    The corn bins at home are filled, and we need to haul out about 15-20 truckloads in order to finish the last remaining corn field.  Yes, we are down to one farm left for corn harvest!

Because of the sunshine and warmer temps this week, we will return to the soybean harvest this afternoon.  We spent the morning moving the combines and grain cart (other names are “auger wagon”, “auger cart”, “grain shuttle”, and -one I heard from an Aussie- “chaser bin”)  to the Burke farm location.  We expect to cut dry (<13% moisture) soybeans there today.

Opening up the Freddie farm. It’s our most distant and largest single-field location. 309.99 acres

Although there is a slough we must work around at a diagonal in the middle of the field, on each side of this farm, there are some mile-long rows.

Yes, this combine’s ‘Gold Key’ is not in a cabinet or drawer. I decided at my age, that I was gonna use it! And more than that, I pulled the plastic off the seats of this combine. I’m gonna enjoy that heated and cooled leather seat!

The full moon last night was spectacular!   I think the weather guys call this a “hunter’s moon”.  It was easy to see to get around last night by the super-bright moonlight.

Lime and fertilizer are getting applied by the folks at Nutrien for the 2022 corn and soybean crops.  The expense for that has gone up considerably, but we anticipate the cost-benefit ratio of that investment will be adequately on the plus side.  They occasionally have to wait for the lime deliveries from the quarry–which seem to come in spurts– but I think Nutrien has enough inventory of granular fertility materials to get us supplied.  The topsy-turvy world of supply chains are even affected in agriculture!

Let’s hope the weather gives us a few days to march through some acres of soybeans.  We need 3-4 to get the regular soybeans cut, then about 3 more good days to cut the double-crop soybeans (DCB).

It’s certainly a beautiful October day.  Clear blue skies, warm temps.  Nice.   PTL!

 

 

 

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Pretty soggy again.

Friday, October 15, 2021

It’s a beautiful, sunny morning, but we got another rain overnight.  1.8 to 2.2″ (46-56 mm).  So, the progress of #harvest21 is stopped again.  Of course, the trucks are busy today, delivering grain to markets at GPC and ADM.  We are running low on room in the bins, and we still have fall delivery contracts to fill.  GPC recently closed deliveries for a week, receiving only non-GMO corn during that time.  That has slowed our corn hauling, but the trucks kept busy going to ADM in Newburgh, Indiana, and to Robinson Grain, just across US 50 from us.   Because of this bottleneck we have experienced now for a few years, we are contemplating the construction of another storage bin in time for #harvest22.

We took every possible opportunity to run the combines in the field during this week.  Monday night’s rain made us switch to corn for Tuesday, then late that evening, we cut some soybeans.   We were run from the soybean field with rain Wednesday morning, and we moved to another location to harvest corn once again.  We got done with that farm last night, and moved the combines home to the shed–we were watching the forecast.  Sure enough, we got a big rain overnight, and we are not sure we will return to the fields until Monday at the earliest!  It’s been a more challenging fall, with frequent rains, making us switch back and forth between corn and soybeans more often than we’ve seen for several years.  I guess we’ve been kinda spoiled with dry fall weather for a few years.  It’s been a long time since we’ve worked in very much mud.  Today, as we view many of the fields that we have already harvested, we see standing water– that makes us grateful those fields are finished!

We still have about 25% of our corn crop to bring in, and about 15% of the soybeans.  Then, there are the double-crop soybeans (DCB) which will take about 3 good days to cut.  They look like they are almost ready to go, too.  So, we are praying for a string of sunny and dry days to allow us to march the rest of the way through #harvest 21.

As the fields are ‘cleared off’ from the 2021 crop, Nutrien is soil sampling, and applying the 2022 granular fertilizer products, mostly for P, K, plus S and B and other micronutrients.   The price of this fertility is significantly, shockingly higher than for 2021, which causes us to scrutinize our practices even more closely.   So, even after the combines leave the fields, there is still a lot of activity going on!

We have built some new WASCoBs, and just yesterday got the cover-crop planted over them.  Those got tested in a big way last night!    But it is good to know they will greatly reduce water erosion where they’ve been built.

One good thing… this rain will allow me to go for a sorely-needed haircut!  Thanks to Darlene for working me in today!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Some pictures and video from the week…

The camera in the grain tank helps me prevent #cabcorn

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