First fieldwork for 2023

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Yesterday, we started our fieldwork for this year.  Yes, Nutrien has already visited our wheat fields twice to apply nitrogen.  But yesterday was the first day this year that one of our machines hit the field.

Even though it was not ideal soil conditions, John went out in the sprayer to apply 4 important management tools to our wheat crop.  These things were all tank-mixed and applied together in one pass.  One:  a herbicide, two:  a biological root-growth stimulator, three: a fungicide, and four: a growth regulator limiting plant height.   With the current wheat crop growth stage, and with the winter annual weed pressure increasing, this application was beginning to feel very urgent.  Plus, more rain is predicted for tomorrow, and that would stop any field work progress.  The soil was a bit better than we anticipated, but still there were soft places in the fields.  John created some muddy track-ruts in a few places, but it is a relief to get this application done.  He had to stop at dark last night, but he is back out there at it again today.  He hopes to complete this application today, and then clean the sprayer systems out and get prepared to apply some burndown herbicide for the soybean crop.  We are just grateful to see this progress made!

John makes progress at our Leser farm

Also yesterday, our Dyna-Gro wheat consultant, Landon Taylor came up from Owensboro, Kentucky to review each wheat field and check the plant health.  Our wheat crop got off to a bad start because of the extremely dry fall weather.  It looked ragged and uneven, for the emergence of the seeds was patchy and spotty.  It took a late October rain to finally get it all started.  So, we were less than impressed with how the wheat crop looked during the winter.  But, after the split applications of nitrogen which were put down a bit earlier than usual in order to spur tiller development, the wheat crop is looking a bit better.  It is at the Feekes Stage 6 to 7 of growth.  The 2023 crop is probably not as nice as the ’21 and ’22 crops, but improving from its difficult start.  We will rein in our expectations and hope for a happy surprise in June!

Landon describes what he’s seeing 

The crew from Atkinson Trenching is here today to wrap up the installation of new water lines to the farm.   We will have a period of time with no water, but that should not take but a couple hours.  We are looking forward to that upgrade being done.

Brandon is down to the final bin of corn to clean out.  He really likes the “power sweep” in the new bin.  There is no heavy lifting of motors or augers in and out, it is permanently installed, and you just flip a lever to engage the sweep.

The sweep auger in bin 8 (the new, big one) doing its thing

Brandon and Bill are out on the road today delivering corn to ADM in Newburgh.  So, things are happening around here!

Yesterday, Pat picked up the sticks and limbs that had fallen into the yard during the winter.  After that, I got out the trimming mower.  I use “seafoam” fuel treatment in the mowers.  I refilled the gas tank, and with just one pull, the engine fired up!  One pull!   I hope to mow the yard this afternoon, before another rain event tomorrow.

On my knee replacement, I’m now at 16 weeks and 1 day post operation.  No, it’s not pain-free just yet.  I can walk pretty much okay without a limp, and I can go up and down stairs, even if it is a bit slow.  But I notice that climbing up into a truck or tractor where the steps are 12″ or more apart… that hurts!   I thought that by 3 months out, the situation would be back to normal, but not yet.  The knee doctor says it may take a whole year before all the pain goes away.  Even so, it’s better than before, and I’m able to do just about anything I need to do.

As March winds down, it seems like it’s going out “like a lamb”.  We are praying for favorable April weather to allow us to get going on #plant23.

Have a great weekend.



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Chilly night

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

This morning we see some sun peeking out occasionally, but we started with frost on the roof.  It may get up into the 40s, and we should have 3 dry days in a row.  Rain is predicted again for Friday.

Sunday afternoon was a beautiful day.  Warm, sunny, 69ºF (21C).  You couldn’t ask for a nicer spring day.  Then, Sunday night, we got some more rain… on top of the 4.3″ (110mm) that came Thursday and Friday.  Oh, boy.  The White River at Edwardsport is 7 feet above flood stage, but is predicted to quickly fall back to flood stage by the weekend.  The creek bottom lands around here are beginning to have the flood waters recede.   It is several days yet before any soil-engaging work can begin.  We are hopeful we can get into the wheat fields by Thursday to make a herbicide application.  That will be pushing it quite a bit, but this herbicide need has become urgent!

This graph shows how fast White River came up after the Thursday-Friday big rain event.

I spent about 4 hours yesterday with Davis from Hutson, Inc.  He was here to assist me in learning two of the new features of the new soybean drill… the N550 no-till drill plus the 1910 air cart.  I had to become acquainted with the set-up and calibration of the “Tru-Set” downforce on the drill, and the “Relative Flow” blockage monitor.  Davis was very patient and methodical with his training.  He walked me through the many steps of the set ups, and then through the calibrations.  It was more extensive than I had anticipated, but by the time he left, almost all my questions had been answered.  There were 2 questions about the operation of the Tru-Set that he  could not  answer, but he has sources up the chain of command at Hutsons and at Deere that he is confident he can discover what we need.  It was so very helpful to have him here while the weather has us stopped, rather than trying to get this machine set up and calibrated on the first day in the field.  Davis will return also on the first day that I take this soybean planter to the field… just in case there are some unforeseen details that need his expertise.  That is very reassuring for me.  Although I’ve been using a similar machine for many years, the latest improvements are significant enough that this assistance is welcome.  I expect a very seamless and relatively easy start for the first day of soybean planting.  God Himself only knows what day that will be…but we have done all we can to be ready for that day!  (There’s a spiritual lesson in that statement, too!).

In order to calibrate the row units, we had to unfold the drill. Then we could move the units up and down fully.

John is preparing  the sprayer for use as soon as the wheat fields will allow.  It might (probably will) leave a few muddy tracks, but the weeds need stopped immediately.

Bill Atkinson and his crew are here making more progress on the new water line installation.  When complete, the farm will have its own dedicated water supply.  It has been quite an undertaking, but will be very helpful once Bill is done.

We hope we can make some field progress this week, but time will tell.  Once April arrives, we will begin to feel more pressure to get going.  It is always better to get planted in April, and we will do our best to do so.  But in 2022, we began planting on May 2… and that turned out okay too.    God tells us not to worry, so we will trust Him again in 2023.

Have a good day.

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Learning curve

Thursday, March 23, 2023

In between showers, John has hooked the new soybean air drill to the tractor that will be pulling it in the fields–our JD 9520R.   There are several new features in this new drill and cart, and I need the machine connected to the tractor in order to make the calibrations, perform the set-ups, and learn the new things.   This new drill has “Tru-Set”, for the down pressure on the row units, it powers the down pressure in a new manner from the Power Beyond circuit, and it has an entirely new and different blockage monitoring system called “Relative Flow”.  I think I can become familiar with most of these things while the machine is parked here at the farm yard…the weather forecast is telling us we will have many days of heavy rain on the way.  I’ll use these days to freshen up my understanding of how these new features work.  I’ve read through the set-up pages in the Owner’s Manual for both parts of this new machine.

In addition, Davis is coming from Hutson’s on Monday to assist me through the set up and calibrations.  It will be a busy day!  I think there may be a software update needed in the cart.  We’ve discovered some cables and adapters on the tractor are now fully connected to power up the 5 cameras on the new soybean planter–one in each of the 3 seed tanks, one on the back of the cart, and one on the back of the drill.

Hooked up now, I can begin the learning process.

I’m grateful for John who did the hard part, removing the ammonia toolbar from the 9520R, and then making the myriad of connections of the new drill.

I’m still at the stage of life where learning these kinds of new things is still fun and interesting.  I suppose there will come a time when I dread changes like this, but I’m not there just yet.


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Spring arrives with something new

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Happy first day of Spring!  Even though it’s not as sunny as  yesterday, it’s still a nice spring day.  And even though I’m working through the dreaded man-cold, I’m also getting better.  A visit yesterday to the local NP got me a shot and some good medicine, and I’m slowly improving.  I still don’t have much energy, and it is easy to sleep often.  But I’m breathing easier, and there is not so much nasal drainage.  I think the yucky part of the man-cold is behind me!

Yesterday, while I was visiting the NP, Hutson’s delivered our new soybean drill.  It has a larger tank, and the drill part seems to have a stronger frame.  There are some new features I must soon learn:  the relative-flow blockage monitor, and the set-up of the timing for the section control.  Since the tractor that I’ll use to pull this drill is already hooked to the ammonia applicator, I’ll probably hook the 9360 tractor temporarily to this drill to connect the electronics and explore my way through the new features.  Yes, there’s a bit of a learning curve again, but I’m confident I’ll find my way through it.  The larger air cart will give more capacity, and should allow a full day’s work with one fill-up in the morning.  So, needless to say, I’m eager to put this new machine to work!

Once again, our friend Gene Williams brings us a new machine!

The new drill is parked for a while, it will be put to work in just a few weeks!  This model 1910 air cart has 3 seed tanks instead of 2.  More capacity, more flexibility, more productivity than the previous air cart.

The N550 drill (new model number) is a 50-foot, drill with 60 10-inch rows. I desired to go to a 60-foot drill, but the folded dimensions were too wide and tall to move around our narrow Knox County roads. So, 50 feet will do!

The service guys from Alliance were here  yesterday to apply a PIP to the R15 rotary cutter (bush hog).  They welded a small reinforcement to the frame/hinge.  While the R15 is in the shop, John took the opportunity to replace the blades.  Now we’re ready for some great mowing this summer!

This little U-shaped bracket was welded to reinforce the area where the wing axle turns up and down.

John is removing the blades from the center section. See the new blades on the right wing?

Although the NCAA tourney play of our Purdue Boilermakers was disappointing, we must reflect a bit on how our expectations climbed during the season.  They had many unexpected accomplishments, winning the Phil Knight tourney in Portland, moving from unranked to first in 32 days, winning the B1G regular season by 3 games, and winning the B1G tournament!  So, with modest beginnings, those guys still had a great season!  Gives us all excitement to see how it goes for next year!

One exciting thing this weekend was the play of local guy Adam Schenk in the Valspar Classic.  He led all through the 4 days of play, right up until the last hole on Sunday.  His best finish ever!  It was so exciting to watch him on TV, and to see him interviewed.  He grew up golfing at our local South Knox High School, and my youngest son Ben was a golf teammate of his, (Adam was 1 year younger than Ben).  So, we had great interest in watching Adam!    Congratulations, Adam…that first trophy is coming your way someday soon!  And to top it off, he and his wife Kourtney are expecting their first child in about a month.

Nutrien was able to apply the second application of nitrogen on the wheat crop yesterday.  There is now some urgency to getting the herbicide applied.  The weather conditions have not been favorable to get that needed practice done.  The temperature needs to stay above 45ºF  (7C) during the nights for 4-5 days.  Yes, we’ve had some really warm days, but not enough of them in a row.   Looks like it will all break loose one of these days soon, and we’ll have a multitude of tasks to perform all at once!    It’ll all work out…

Have a great week.


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End the week on a holiday…

Friday, March 17, 2023

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!   With our Irish heritage, it seems like this holiday should have more significance to us that it actually does.  It was 5 generations ago when William Carnaghan ( somehow the silent ‘g’ in our name was dropped in America) emigrated to the USA from County Donegal.  Why he landed in southern Indiana is a story lost to history.  But we do know his offspring: William’s son John, then Enoch, then Welker, then Lowell (my dad), then me, and then my son John–and his daughters, the 7th generation of this Carnahan clan in southern Indiana.  No, there is no special celebration here, except for wearing a little green (my favorite color) on this day.   One interesting fact is that there is still a small community on Inch Island in County Donegal that bears the name “Carnaghan”.  Yes, I’d like to visit there one day.

It has been a mostly quiet week, with Brandon sweeping out two bins of corn.  He has also delivered a few loads to both GPC and ADM.  John has been servicing tractors.  While performing some annual service, he put $1600 worth of new filters on the CIH 420 Rowtrac tractor.  Next, he will give the JD 6145R tractor its annual servicing.  It only has 185 hours on it so far, but it will get a thorough inspection and servicing with new fluids and filters.

I understand that our JD 9360R tractor will be coming into our shop next week so that the local dealer can perform an update to it called a “PIP”, the acronym for “Product Improvement Program”.  Along with that, the relatively new JD R15 rotary cutter (bush hog) will also get a PIP.

I took some time this afternoon to bring the JD 6145R tractor into the shop for a good wash.  It gets really dirty setting in an open-front storage building, and now it is looking good again.   I used some “Andyclean” soap to help make that tractor shine!

I like it when the tractor looks shiny!

I have one more Gen 4 screen that needs the spring 23 update.  That will take about an hour, and I’ll get that done next week.

We will be watching the Boilermakers this evening as they begin play in the NCAA tournament.  After a season of above-expectation basketball, we are hoping for a deep run into the tourney.  Those hopes are tempered, of course, by the now-43-years-since making the Final Four.  Let’s hope that long drought ends this year and that our team can play in the Finals at Houston.

Have a lovely weekend.

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Back home from the Commodity Classic

Monday, March 13, 2023

Today we are getting our feet back under us, catching up on the mail, and getting reacquainted with chilly weather.  We had a great time down at the Commodity Classic in Orlando.  It was so good that we now desire to go to the next year’s Classic in Houston!

It was an impressive event, with the quality of exhibitors and the displays at the highest level.  When one compares this event to the NFMS in Louisville, the Classic is just simply more professional.  The Secretary of Agriculture was there in person on Friday to address the crowd.  He received a polite welcome.   We attended a few educational sessions, and spent considerable time on the trade show floor.  We got to meet The Sharkfarmer… Rob Sharkey– and his wife Emily.   We had several helpful interactions with specialists at the John Deere exhibit, learning more about new features of Operations Center, and the new control panel/screen, GS5 and GS5+, coming in 2024.

The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack of Iowa, addresses the crowd in person.

“Sharkfarmer” Rob Sharkey and his wife Emily with Pat and me.

We just had the very best time, and found great value in this trip to Orlando.  Plus, we got a couple evenings over at Disney World, too.   Our trip was sponsored by Nutrien (crop nutrition and protection) and DynaGro (seed), and the hospitality they provided was superb.   We stayed at the JW Marriott–Bonnet Creek Resort on Disney property.   A great time.  And, of course, the weather was perfect… a sunny 84ºF (29C) by day and 70ºF (21C) in the evenings.  Today, we came home to snow flakes in the air!


The main reason we were down there was to celebrate our win as the top yield of winter wheat for the state of Indiana for 2022.  We had two entries with John and me, and they came in as #1 and #2 for the state.  John was not able to get away to attend the Classic, but Brandon was able to stand in for him.  Brandon and Emily were there with Pat and me, to receive the recognition.   This contest was sponsored by the National Association of Wheat Growers, and along with Nutrien, they made us feel quite honored to be among the state winners.

Here you see Brandon with Landon Taylor, our Nutrien/DynaGro consultant, and me receiving the plaques for First and Second place in Indiana NAWG.

We checked in today with Dustin Hatton concerning his conservation work over on the Roberson farm.  He was wrapping up building one of three new WASCoBs.  He has done a very good job with this construction, and I’m sure we will be asking Dustin to help us again in the future.

As John and I watch from the Gator, Dustin smooths back the topsoil over the newly-built WASCoB.  


Andy from H&R Agri-Power is here this afternoon to make some important updates and improvements to the CIH Pro700 system controlling the planter, and the CIH STX 420 tractor that pulls it.   There has been some difficulty with the section control, getting it to match up perfectly when we plant around a WASCoB riser.   Hopefully, this service call will correct this hiccup.  I’m a John Deere guy through and through, but I must admit that the red planter does do a good job placing seed into the soil, and this will just enhance the operations.

Our shop is too small to unfold the planter inside, so outside it is today.

Andy works the Pro700 monitor to make the upgrades.


We are also celebrating the B1G Tournament Championship won yesterday by our Purdue Boilermakers.  Of course, they made it a nail-biter at the end of the game, but still were able to pull out a win.  I’m just so very happy for this team to have some measure of success this year.  The pundits predicted they would come in 6th place in the B1G, but they exceeded those expectations!  Winning the regular season by 3 games, then becoming tournament champions was really special.  We are, of course, hoping for more success for them in the upcoming March Madness NCAA.  Go Boilermakers!

B1G Champions
Purdue Boilermakers!





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Windy… and how!

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Today, the sun is shining and we have a clear blue sky.  But yesterday… boy, oh, boy!  It was an unpleasant day.  We had wind gusts over 50 mph (80 kph).  And it rained…hard.  We received 3″ of rain, (76mm) and it came down in waves.   It would rain so hard you could barely see, then it would let up for a while, then pound us again.  We lost a few more shingles off the roof of the house.  I think the hardest part of yesterday’s thunderstorms was the relentless wind.

Here is Kevin Orpurt from Channel 10 in Terre Haute reporting on the wind yesterday. Notice the strongest was in our part of SWIN.

But now, this morning, the wind is calm, there is a bit of frost on the roof, and the sunshine is brilliant!  Quite a contrast to yesterday.

As I work in the office this morning, catching up the day’s invoices, the bright sun is streaming in the windows.

We didn’t get much accomplished outside yesterday.  John and Brandon did some work on the Pete in the shop, but it was just too execrable to be outside yesterday.

Today is 12 weeks and 3 days post-knee-replacement.  What I’m noticing today is stiffness, not pain.  Is is pain free?  No.  But it has gained quite a bit in just the last 2-3 days.  One exception:  Wednesday evening, the pain was really bad, but much better Thursday when the day started. I don’t know what I did to cause that pain, but I hope those kind of evenings don’t return!

Have a wonderful weekend.

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Glimpse of Spring

Thursday, March 2, 2023

There are some early flowers popping up these days.  The recent several days of warmer weather has most of the daffodils (mom called them ‘Easter flowers’) in full bloom.  I can see some tulips coming through the ground at home, and the faintest hint of the tips of the peonies, too.  Sure feels early to be seeing such things, but that’s what we’ve got going on here.

I’m not sure just what kind of flower this is, but it certainly looks nice for late winter.

The wheat crop is improving in its appearance.  We were able to put on the first pass of nitrogen fertilizer a few weeks ago, and it is responding well to that nutrition with a deep green and healthy color.

We are making an improvement to our water supply for the farm.  We are installing a dedicated line from the water company just for the farm’s use.  Soon, we won’t be sharing water service with two homes, for each will have a meter and supply of its own!  It’s a big project, because of the distance from the county road, but we look forward to a more consistent supply of water for the farm.  Another increment of farm improvement.

The trench is socked down there about 3.5 feet!

As the trench is dug, the crew from Atkinson Trenching fits the sections of the pipes together, along with a locator wire, and lowers them  down into the ground.

Will have to stay up a bit later tonight because the Purdue at Wisconsin basketball game starts at 9pm!   A win up there tonight would lock in an outright B1G championship, the first since 2017 (Pat and I were there that night!).   Go Boilermakers!

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Conservation work

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

We have a young neighbor working over at our Roberson Farm.  Dustin Hatton is repairing some WASCoBs (Water and Sediment Control Basin) and building 4 new ones.  He did some of this type of work for us last fall.  It was a very good experience, and we have him back this spring to do more.  Although he is just starting out with his earthmoving and construction business, we see signs that he is going to be a really good contractor upon which to call.

Dustin has hooked into an existing WASCoB riser and is extending the tile up the hill for 2 more WASCoBs.

You can see where the new tile has been installed. Next, the terraces will be built below the risers to complete the system.

Dustin is operating his nearly-new dozer to build a WASCoB terrace

Rain is predicted for tomorrow night and Friday, with 2+inches (51 mm) forecast.   This will stop Dustin’s work for a few days, and he will return as the conditions merit.

Today’s weather is really kind of “too much of a good thing”.  Current temperature this afternoon is 77ºF (25C).  Days like this are so very pleasant, but they are often followed by a storm.   We will see what comes in the next couple days.



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Busy trucks

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

It’s a busy trucking day, with both Bill and Brandon out on the roads.  There are 9 loads scheduled to be delivered to GPC today…and one to Newburgh, Indiana!  We are grateful for today’s sunshine; it makes it more pleasant to be out and about… clean, dry roads and a bit warmer temperatures.  It’s 58ºF (14C), with very little wind.  Quite a contrast to yesterday, when the wind gusts were up to 40+ mph, and steady in the 30s.  Lost a few shingles off my roof at home yesterday.

Loading Bill and the Volvo for another trip out.

The ‘Tony Truck’ is ready to go…

John used this beautiful day to replace the flag on our taller grain leg today.  It was getting pretty tattered, but now it’s beautiful…again.

John replaced the flag this afternoon. Looks great flying up there.

John and I saw a bald eagle flying over the farm today.  I know the population is increasing, but still it is a very special sight to spot one of these magnificent birds.

What a big wingspan!


The calendar page flips over again tomorrow.  My, oh my… how the days fly by.  I hope we are in the fields by the end of the month.  It would be great to get most of the nitrogen applied for the 2023 corn crop before April arrives.   Easter comes on April 9 this year, and it is rare to get much done in the fields before Easter.  We will see.

The Indiana HS Boys’ Basketball tourney begins tonight.  Our local team, the South Knox Spartans will play Sullivan in the opening game of the ‘sectional’.  There are five other teams in this sectional, and the championship will occur Saturday evening.   Our sectional is one of the toughest in Class 2A in Indiana… with several highly-ranked teams.  We are hopeful for a sectional win.

Class 2A Sectional #47 at North Knox

Have a good week.






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