Some improvements

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

After the crush of busyness of #harvest19, the pace has eased a bit.  We have turned our attention to making some conservation improvements that we identified during they year.  We have engaged our contractor, Olan Worland, to do this work.   He has cleared a side ditch at the Shake farm, which will allow better drainage of the field tile.  He also built a new contour terrace at the Ross farm, which will reduce water erosion, and correct some difficult-to-maneuver valleys.  This terrace deposits the water in an adjacent stream through utilizing a ‘rock chute’.  After that, he worked at the Burke farm, installing a new drainage tile with 3 risers… creating 3 new WASCoBs.   This will control more erosion in the part of the field that was ‘new ground’ (cleared woods) in 2014.  Lastly, he is currently working at the Dunn farm, installing some new drainage tile that will replace some aging clay tile lines that were failing and making tile holes in the field.  These all will be terrific improvements, enhancing the productivity of the fields and saving precious soil from erosion.  Brandon has been Mr. Worland’s partner in accomplishing these projects.

Here is one of the 3 new WASCoBs that have been built at the Burke farm.

We have reviewed our crop plan for 2020, and decided which crop goes in each field.  We have also determined our plans for which hybrids and varieties will be planted.  It is sort of interesting that we were underway with planning the next crop even before the current one got finished!   We maintain some flexibility to that plan, so that we can respond to changing market or agronomic weather conditions.   We have engaged our local Nutrien plant to apply the granular P,K, and micronutrients for the 2020 corn crop.  They will have that plan nearly completed by tonight.

We are also having some lime applied.  This application corrects (raises) the soil pH.   It is a primarily important part of soil chemisty; if the pH is not correct, it complicates and frustrates much of the rest of the crop’s ability to access proper nutrition.  So, we try to get the pH right first.  We are fortunate in SWIN to have convenient sources for the limestone.

Another part of that planning is an intensive proposal of the crop protection systems that we will use in 2020.  That includes the applications of herbicides and fungicides.   Based on our 2019 experience, we anticipate a more comprehensive use of fungicides in soybeans for ’20.

Gary from Nutrien applies a variable rate special blend of fertilizer at the Shake farm. Each acre gets just what it needs for best productivity for the 2020 corn crop. Each field has a unique ‘formula’.

The office computer is humming along as we analyze our year-end finances, and develop a plan for the accounting and taxes.

We utilized the analysis tools in Fieldview for a test concerning variable-rate corn planting.  The software made the comparisons relatively easy to identify.  Even with some minor inconsistencies, the results were encouraging, and we will expand that test again in 2020.

With Fieldview Cab on the iPad, we can compare side-by-side a flat-rate to a variable rate planting population and their correlation to yields.

Property taxes are due next week.  Normally, they are paid on May 10 and November 10, but this year– because the 10th falls on Sunday, and the 11th is a holiday– it extends this year to the 12th.  In the past, I have gone to the court house on the due date, and stood in the long line to wait my turn to pay the property taxes.   These days, I mail in the packet, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.  As long as it is postmarked by the due date, it will be considered ‘on time’.

Brandon has spent a couple days delivering some corn to market.  It is good to move some grain along at regular intervals, in order to keep aware of the grain condition in each storage bin.   Seems like it is keeping quite well in storage, as the grain is now cooling down in the bins.  On many of the days during harvest, when it was flowing out of the dryer into the bins, the daily temperatures were in the 80s; it is important to get the grain cooled down to keep it is good condition.

John has ‘winterized’ the sprayer, and now it is back in the unheated storage building until needed early next spring.  The combines and headers are clean and stored.

The JD 4730 had to stay in the heated shop until it was ‘winterized’.


All in all, November 2019 is going along a a good pace.  Thanksgiving is coming…what is on your “I’m thankful for…” list?



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