The beat goes on…

August 1, 2012

Yesterday, we were without electric power most of the workday, as the linemen from WIN Energy were here to hang the new wires on the new poles.  They brought crews with 7 trucks!  It was like a beehive of activity, and we are grateful for their quick work.  It is not convenient to be without electricity!   And with the 90+ temperatures, we wanted to get the A/C back on soon.   They have a little ‘clean-up’ work left to do, remove some old poles, and coil up the old wires… it probably won’t take 7 crews for that.  We now have the structure to support the full electrical load of the farm again.

I looked outside last evening during the VBS program at church, and much to my surprise, it was raining!  The soybean fields that surround Wheatland Christian Church were breathing a sigh of relief!  It wasn’t a big rain by any means, maybe .2″, but it spurred conversation and seemed to brighten everyone’s day.  When I arrived at home, 4 miles west, there had only been a few drops fall into the dust.  So, it was very unpredictable which place got how much rain.

We heard reports about Oakland City, Indiana receiving baseball-sized hail last evening.  The damage there is significant.

Here are some pictures of some of the fields today.

Soybeans… ‘up close and personal’. These have suffered from heat, drought, and spider mites. They are half knee-high. Pretty short from traditional standards

Here is a field of soybeans, on the main farm. You can see areas that are stressed (yellow). Those areas are such because of the water-holding capacity of the soil is less in those areas.

This year, the best soybeans (and there are few of them) are about mid-calf in height.  Typically, we would observe them to be waist-high!  Most this year are knee-high, and other areas are half knee-high.  In a few spots, the lighter, sandy soils of the White River bottomland, the beans are dead from the drought.

Corn at the Evans farm. It had to be replanted, and then the drought took an even greater toll. You can see it did not get very tall. Only about 40% of the stalks have a ear on them, and those are very small.

Here is one of those small ears from the Evans farm. Notice the long area at the tip that has no grain. This indicates severe problems during pollination. Those 100+ temperature days severly impacted this field.

In reviewing each field, we will have areas in each one that will produce zero.  But, as of today, we will have no field that is entirely wiped out…. we will have to harvest each field, to get the areas that will produce something.  This variability will create a challenge for harvesting… it will be difficult to adjust your combine precisely, for the moisture, quantity, and quality of the grain entering will NOT be consistent, and therefore the operator will have to make adjustments ‘on the fly’ as the combine goes across the field.   The second challenge will be for the operator of the grain dryer.  Same problem:  extreme variability of the moisture level of the grain entering the dryer.  That variability will make it difficult to get uniformly dry grain at the output.

Here are some double-crop soybeans at the Ross farm. The stand is thin, but much better than the first time they were planted. The problem with these is that they are not growing very well, very few have emerged above the wheat stubble. Late rains may help, but if they don’t get taller, there won’t be much potential.

Here is a wider shot of the DCB at the Ross farm. You can see that very few of the soybean plants are taller than the wheat stubble. Not typical for this time of year. One would expect to see no wheat stubble by now, just a sea of green soybeans.

Upper 90s temperature this afternoon, and 100+ is predicted for tomorrow.

The beat goes on….

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