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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Flag Day 2021

Old Glory flies at our place every day.


And also, the painting crew from Memphis, Tennessee is here today prepping the surfaces of the shop and another building for a soon-to-be paint job.  Great day for the pressure wash job.

Ross says the wheat is about 10 days away!   We will be ready.

Wheat fields changed a lot in the last week. Won’t be long now.

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Thursday, June 10, 2021

It is now the turn for the JD combine to come out of storage and be prepared for the upcoming wheat harvest.  The internal work for the JD is a bit more extensive than for CIH.   Once the transition is finished, it should perform very well in making a clean sample of grain in the tank.

The JD S780 comes out of storage to get prepared for wheat harvest.

There are two inserts to install under the front of the concave, and some cover strips to place over a portion of the separator grates.  It takes a contortion artist to install those strips, especially those on the right side of the separator.  I’m so glad for these younger farmers here, to get these modifications made!

Refueling is the first step today.

Once inside the shop, the outer gull wing doors are swung open

Next, we remove the inner covers of the concave and separator of the rotor.  This is the LH side of the combine.   The concave appears on the left side of the photo, the separator grates of the rotor appear at the right.

Brandon installs a separator grate cover, 12 on this left side.  The 8 covers for the right side are much harder to get into position.

These are the curved filler bars to be installed in the first two sections of the concave.  In the box are the 20 separator grate covers.  These will all be removed before fall harvest of corn and soybeans.  

After the combine receives its lubrication, it will be ready to hang the new header on the front for calibrations and testing.  The new header is not here yet, but should come any day now.

Our banker was here this morning to finish off the paperwork for our annual line of credit renewal.  It is always a pleasure to meet with Steve from ONB.  Our financial ratios have improved from the prospects we were observing last August.   Financial health still requires diligence and discipline, but we have a bit more optimism.  The concern is the rapidly rising cost of our inputs.  What will it cost to put out that 2022 crop?  There are many factors that are simply un-knowable just yet.   I guess that’s one of the many things that keeps farm life exciting!

Last night, I was able to observe some lightning bugs hovering over the soybean fields surrounding our home.  They haven’t reached peak performance yet… we can expect that once the first day of summer arrives.  But those little green blinking lights bring a smile to my face.  They are so beautiful anytime you can see them, but something very special when they reach their peak.

We thought we would have a dry day today, but we have received more rain, with showers off and on all afternoon.  Tomorrow, we are predicted to go above 90ºF (32C) for the first time this year!

The yard needs mowed, and we will get there as soon as it dries off again.



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Rainy week

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Rainy week.  We received rain Monday, Tuesday, and today.  All in all, about 1.7″ (43mm) has come our way.   It is welcome.

Wheat harvest is about two weeks away.  You can really tell it is “turning”, or changing from green to gold.  It is standing pretty well, not much has gone down.  We increased our nitrogen fertility for this 2021 crop, with hopes to increase the yields.  Heavier nitrogen amounts can cause the wheat stem to get ‘lazy’ and lie down flat.  To counteract this tendency, we also treated the wheat with a growth regulator to keep the plants 6-8 inches shorter.  This reduces the possibility of the wheat going down.  When a crop gets blown down by the wind, this problem is called “lodging”.  Lodged wheat makes for a particularly difficult harvest.  Cutting close to the ground to get the heads into the combine header is a lot harder than in standing wheat.

Turning from green to gold.
#wheatharvest21 in a couple weeks

The CIH 8250 combine came out of storage this afternoon to get prepared for wheat harvest.  Brandon has it in the shop, swapping out the concaves and making other internal adjustments.

The CIH 8250 is in the shop getting prepared for wheat harvest.

We’ve had alternating periods of sun and rain all day.

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Wheat prep

Monday, June 7, 2021

The combine headers came out of storage today to begin preparation for wheat harvest.  The MacDon FD75 header is being checked for soundness of the cutterbar knife, and it will get a lubrication.  Soon, we will hang it on the front of the CIH 8250 combine to check the calibrations and make sure they are functioning properly.  The JD 640FD is getting replaced with a new JD RD40F header, which has finally arrived at the dealer…just in time to be ready for wheat harvest.  I will request a tech to come and validate the calibrations and adjustments on the new header once we attach it to the S780 combine.  All this will have to happen in advance of the first wheat harvest day, which will likely arrive in the last 7-8 days of the month.

There was another rally in the corn market today, and Ross took the occasion to sell the remaining bushels of corn from our inventory.  Soon, we will be MT (empty) of all grain from the 2020 crop.

John is wrapping up the first pass of post herbicide on soybeans today.  He will return to those fields about a month after this pass in order to apply a layer of Roundup WeatherMax to stop the johnsongrass.   The sprayer is John’s summer home!

The weather this week is predicted to bring us a little rain every day, with temperatures in the low 80s.  We won’t refuse that, for sure!




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Warming up

Friday, June 4, 2021

Warmer days are in the forecast.  Mid 80s are coming, or at least we hope so!  We have not had many days in the 80s.  Instead, we’ve mostly had days in the 60s with nights in the 40s for much of May.  But now that June has arrived, it appears we will be getting some much-needed warmth!  We look forward to many clear and warm days this month.  According to poet James Russell Lowell, “What is so rare as a day in June?”

This forecast from my Weather Channel app on the phone shows some warmer days ahead.

The corn crop has had its over-the-top herbicide application.   Almost all the first pass of post soybean herbicide has been applied, only two fields remain.  Those two may have to wait a few days, for we had almost 3″ (76mm) of rain Tuesday night and Wednesday.  The warmer days will allow those fields to dry down a little sooner.  John is out pressure washing the sprayer now.  He keeps it pretty shiny, and services it exactly as directed by the owners’ manual.

The pressure washer helps John clean the sprayer.

The combines will be coming out of the storage barn soon to prepare them for the wheat harvest, only 2-3 weeks away now.  It’s usually pretty hot during the time we cut wheat.  Also, we are waiting for our dealer to deliver a new JD platform that will see its first use for wheat harvest.  It has arrived at the dealer, and they must complete the set up.

There remains quite a bit of assembly to get this new header ready to hang on the front of our JD S780!

Wheat harvest week is often hectic, to get the grain brought in safely and timely.  There is also some urgency to the planting of double-crop soybeans (DCB) in the wheat stubble.  There will be a herbicide application to the DCB, and perhaps we will then call the summer crops “laid by”.

Once the wheat is delivered, we have some concrete projects here at the farm.   A grain bin is getting a new aeration floor and completely new unload system.  There is some painting that needs to occur.  We are constantly looking for ways to improve, to make the work more convenient, safer, and/or more productive.  Preparations for fall harvest will start in late July or early August.

It is astonishing how fast we got to June!  The calendar pages are turning quickly in 2021.  June is an exciting month to watch the development of our crops.  The soybeans and corn seem to push upward very rapidly during this particular month.  And it is always a happy thing to have a new crop to harvest–the wheat.  There is also time for Ross to participate in a few horse shows, and for me to take in the granddaughters’ softball games.   Until the wheat crop is ready, we can have a little bit of a normal life!

The cycle of farm life is set on “repeat”.  Although most days have some unpredictability built into them, the system of grain production evolves, but yet stays the same, too.  Planting and harvest, spring and fall, bring us new challenges and opportunities.   All in all, it’s pretty neat.

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A good rain, and another repair

Friday, May 28, 2021

Yesterday afternoon and evening, we received a really nice rain.  We got between .7 and 1.0 inch (18 to 25mm), depending on the location.  It was wonderful, just what we’ve needed for the crops, and we’re grateful.   John finished the corn crop post-herbicide application yesterday afternoon.  We think that the corn is now ‘laid by’– a term that means you have finished with any maintenance or treatment needed until harvest.

This was the radar as the storm passed through SWIN. We were just on the north edge of the more intense storm, at the mix of green and yellow radar signatures

This was leading edge of yesterday afternoon’s rain clouds

John took the water trailer to the local Nutrien plant, and got it switched over to apply soybean herbicides next week.   Also, now today, Brandon is performing another brake repair, this time to one of our Wilson trailers.  I think he will be replacing the tires, too.  Stuff only lasts so long.  Gotta have it up to par when it’s time to haul wheat next month!

Another brake job…

Have a wonderful holiday weekend.


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Jobs at the end of May

Thursday, May 27, 2021

John is out with the sprayer, applying a post-emergence herbicide treatment on corn.  I think he is in the last corn field today, down at the Freddie farm.  He is very cautious about spraying if there is wind, making certain that he does not damage the neighbors’ crops.  The wind is quite low right now, making it more feasible to apply this treatment.  Hopefully, the conditions will allow him to complete this task today.  He will return to applying post herbicides to soybeans next week.

After a quick refill from the water truck parked at the Huey quonset, John is off to spray at the Holscher farm. This was yesterday evening.

In addition to working the water truck to support the sprayer, Brandon has been delivering a few loads of corn to market, down at Evansville.  The river market (Ohio River) has been quite competitive lately, and that’s why we are delivering there, about an hour away.

The Kenworth has gone undergone extensive repair work, but it is road-ready now, and Brandon says it is great to drive. Powerful.

I have spent some time mowing roadsides with the new 6130R tractor and the R15 cutter.  Most of that is now wrapped up, until after wheat harvest.  I’ll hit it again in early July, and mow the roadsides and the riparian strips along our main ditches.


Each evening, after a day’s mowing, I use a blower to remove the debris from the top of the cutter.

Of course, every 5-7 days, this little beauty needs to run.

And yes, after every mowing session, we blow the debris off the mower, and then wash it.

Even though it is foggy morning, the work moves ahead, day by day.  Wheat harvest is approaching, about 3 1/2 to 4 weeks away.  We think we can begin to see just a hint of the wheat beginning to ‘turn’ (change from green to the beautiful golden color).   The combines will come out of storage soon to prepare them for that harvest time!  We are hopeful about the wheat.

Yesterday morning’s rain was very spotty.  Here at the main farm, we received .02″(.5mm), and (according to Fieldview) a few fields received .3″ (7mm).  No, it’s not critical yet, but a good, all-day inch of rain would be a happy event!  It’s amazing how you can go from too wet to too dry pretty quick.

The official ‘state flower’ of Indiana is the peony.  They are in full bloom right now, and they are beautiful in appearance and fragrance.  Many people simplify the name to call them “pineys” (PIE-nees).  I’m not sure where that originated, maybe it is just from rural Indiana!  We have in our yard some peonies that were in my grandmother’s yard.  Those are pretty special for sentimental reasons.   When Pat cuts some to bring into the house, the aroma is terrific.

The peony, State Flower of Indiana…and these are from my Grandma Carnahan’s yard, probably more than 60 years old.


Monday is Memorial Day.  In Indiana, it’s “race day”!  Our son Ben and his wife Kierstin will be going to the 500.  I can remember when Memorial Day was always May 30th.  Back in those days before Monday holidays, the 500 was always held on the 30th, unless it fell on a Sunday, then it was moved to May 31.  Nowadays, with the holiday always being on a Monday, the 500 is held exclusively on Sunday of that weekend.  My, how things have changed.

Mom called this holiday “Decoration Day”, for it was a time to decorate the family graves in the cemetery.  She would clean the gravestones and adorn them with flowers.  Pat continues this tradition.

Have a good Memorial Day weekend.

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Post spraying

Monday, May 24, 2021

John is out with the sprayer again today, applying a post-emergence herbicide to selected corn fields.  The herbicide mix includes Atrazine 4L, Laudis, and Roundup WeatherMAX.  There is bit of anti-drift agent in the mix, too.  There has not been much wind since Friday, and John is taking advantage of this window of opportunity.  He was occupied with spraying soybeans all weekend long, and made good progress on that, too.

Here is a screen capture from JD Operations Center. With OpCtr, I can observe John’s location and check his progress.

This page of OpCtr shows the ingredients in the sprayer’s tank, and the rate at which they are being applied to the corn field.

It feels like summer out there today!  90ºF (32C).   A nice inch of rain would be welcome; there is a chance of that coming on Wednesday.  We are predicted to have another day of near 90F, then 10 days of high 70s and low 80s.

More good news… all the replanted corn and soybeans are now sprouted and growing!



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Summer (like) work

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Summer is still about 4 weeks away, but some summer jobs are being performed now.

John is out putting down a layer of post-emergence herbicide, which includes some Roundup WeatherMAX and Liberty.  For our Asgrow XtendFlex soybeans, we opt to use the dicamba exclusively for  pre-plant burndown, and then use the Liberty for any post needed.

The new JD R4044 sprayer with ExactApply technology is working pretty well.

John makes the first pass along the edge of the Roberson farm

I have also been out with the JD 6130R tractor and the R15 bush hog (JD calls it a ‘rotary cutter’).   I work mainly on roadsides this time of year.  I must wait until July 1 to mow the riparian strips along ditch banks.  (FSA regulations).   And, this afternoon, I took out the Gator to do some spraying of sprouts and thistles on the ditch banks at Huey.  It’s been a busy day.

This is how the R15 looks from the cab of the tractor. It is doing a nice job of mowing the grass road at the Huey farm.

2021 is going by very fast.  It’s hard to think that in about 4 weeks, the days will start getting shorter again…

Have a wonderful weekend.


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