Yes, it was…

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Yes, we did finish off the corn harvest early yesterday afternoon.   We wrapped up the corn portion of #harvest23 at the Crook farm, and it was pretty good corn, 3rd best yielding farm location of ’23.  It was not quite dry enough to move directly into storage, so John had to run the production from the Crook farm through the dryer.  All that was completed by evening.

The last pass of corn harvest

Immediately after finishing the corn, Brandon took the red combine to the 2 Hills to cut some double-crop soybeans (DCB).  But he discovered that they were just not quite ready (dry enough) to move on through the DCB in earnest.  So, we are stopped from harvesting today, mostly because of the .3″ (8mm) rain this morning, and because the DCB are not ripe and ready.  Looks like it will be sometime next week until we can return to the harvest.  We will need 4-5 good days to get the DCB cut.

In the meantime, I’m in the office working financial information for the end of our tax year on 11/30.  There is much preparation that must be done in order to work with our accounting firm to plan the end of the year.  I’m working on projections for costs for seed, fertilizers, chemicals, and other inputs for the 2024 crops.  Inventories of stored grain, and contracted sales and values are factors.  We have a couple special projects in the works, one of conservation work on the Waldo farm, and the construction of a new machine storage building.  All these affect the numbers for FYE 11/30.

The guys are in the shop today, catching up some of the repairs we delayed until a ‘rainy day’:  A new A/C blower in the Peterbilt truck.  A seal kit in a hydraulic cylinder and a bearing on the grain cart.  An engine oil change and chassis lubrication on the JD 9520R tractor.  Replacing a broken CB antenna on the Pete.  The list is being shortened today!

A big bearing at the top of the auger is being replaced today.

Our wheat consultant, Landon Taylor, came by today for his first look at the emerging 2024 wheat crop.  He says he found the beginning stages of the first tiller.  His comments are very encouraging about the current condition of the wheat.

Landon’s examination of a very young wheat plant. He is optimistic at this stage.

For a few days, I have been experiencing some trouble with the “Combine Advisor” feature on the JD S780 combine.  That system uses internal cameras to examine the grain as it is being harvested and then it makes on-the-go changes to the 5 different threshing components to maintain the quality of the grain.  Yesterday, just before the corn was completed, the mechanics from Hutson, Inc. made the correct repair to make the system work again.   Yes, I could still harvest without Combine Advisor, but once you run a combine with this type of automation, you want that feature in operation!   It works well again, and I’ll be ready for the DCB when they are.

This screen tells me Combine Advisor is working properly

I think I can go out this afternoon with the JD 6145R tractor and R15 rotary cutter (bush hog) and trim around a few fields to make them look nicer for the winter.

We are celebrating the results of corn and soybean harvest.  Each crop came in with a new record yield for us, surpassing by a little bit the record numbers of 2021.  We are grateful to our Maker for the favorable weather conditions that made such numbers possible.   Good yields are very common around SWIN, and as a neighbor remarked to me this morning, “We are very blessed”.  Amen.

So, there will be a pause to #harvest23.  A frost would help, and we will need some sunny days to cut those DCB.

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Final Day?

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

This could be the last day of corn harvest for 2023.  If we have a reasonably productive day, we should be able to finish off the corn for the year.  Yes, we have a truck out of commission, two flat tires yesterday, and a broken chain on the red combine (should be an easy fix).   But, even with those challenges, we are in the last field of corn, and hoping today wraps up corn #harvest23.

These were the culprits that flattened two trailer tires on Tuesday.

If the weather allows, we have a couple fields of double-crop soybeans that will be ready for us tomorrow, but rain is predicted tonight.  Not all the DCB appear to be ripe and ready for cutting. If that is really the case, we may have to pause the harvest a few days to allow them to dry down.  But hopefully, we can finish off #harvest23 completely next week.

It’s been a good fall harvest, with a new record yield for soybeans for us.  I don’t think the corn will finish off with a record yield, but it will be close.  For all the dry weather we experienced in August-September, the crops are coming off pretty good.  We are grateful.

Ryan loads a truck at the Huey farm. The trees around SWIN are just beginning to show some fall colors.



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Saturday, October 14, 2023

Yesterday afternoon, I had my first run-in with a deer antler.  The inside dual tire of my S780 combine was punctured by a 7-inch-long antler.  The guys from Knox County Tire responded quickly to my call, and had me going again soon.  I had heard of other farmers who have had encounters with deer antlers, but this time it was up close and personal.

This was the culprit that stopped my combine yesterday afternoon.

The service truck crane helped the technician handle the big tires. Still, it was hard work to make this repair.

We received a small rain, .3″ (7 mm) Friday evening, but we are back at the harvest today.  We are grateful for the rain, hoping it will help launch the planted wheat.   An inch would be great, but we will be happy with what we did get.

We are now down to 3 farm locations for corn to be harvested:  Huey, Burke, and Crook.  Still several rows to run down, but the end is in sight!

After the corn is completed, we will move directly into double-crop soybeans (DCB).  They are getting pretty far along with maturity, only a few areas of yellow leaves clinging to the beanstalks.  By the time we are ready for them, they will be ready for us.

Fertilizers and lime are being applied to the fields for next year’s corn and soybeans.  A prescription map is created for each field, using the results of soil testing.  Then, the nutrients are applied according to the prescription.  The rate of application varies as the spreader machine travels across the field.  It is very precise.  There are both agronomic and economic reasons for such precision.

Here, Nutrien applies next year’s soybean food!

We have a short list of conservation work we want to accomplish this fall.  The Waldo farm is going to get some attention to receive a new grass waterway and 3-4 new WASCoBs.  We are still trying to minimize the soil erosion on that steep hillside.  Contractor Dustin Hatton should arrive at Waldo next week.  Little by little, we are making progress.

Have a good weekend.

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Last day

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

We should finish regular-crop soybeans today.  We moved in to the Freddie farm yesterday, and had a good day cutting there.  Although the dew is quite heavy and there was some fog in the area, we will cut again there this afternoon.  The Freddie farm is in the White River West Fork bottomlands, and is our most distant location.  If we get done there this afternoon, we will move the machines home and get them ready to harvest corn.

Cutting soybeans at Huey last Wednesday

We have about 3/4 of the corn acres yet to harvest, and all the double-crop soybeans (DCB).  The DCB are mostly yellow now, and should be ready by the end of the month.  So, weather permitting, we should get #harvest23 all complete in October!

After harvest, there will be several days of clean-up of the machines.  And there is still many loads of corn to deliver to fill the fall contracts.  If the field work is done, there is still many tasks to perform!

Now that many fields are ‘cleared off’, we have engaged our local Nutrien  plant to begin applying the granular fertilizers, mostly P & K and micronutrients, to prepare for the 2024 crops.

Applying food this morning for some 2024 soybeans.

Have a nice Tuesday.



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Thursday, October 5, 2023

At about 11 am, the rain began to fall, very light at first, and more is on the way.  The radar predicts that this rain event will last until about 5pm, and we should receive .6″ (15mm).   This should help the newly-planted wheat, and settle the dust for a couple days.  The rain is falling gently, and the parched fields are soaking it in.

Speaking of wheat, the planting of the 2024 crop was completed last night about 830pm.  Larry has now finished disking in another crop, probably his 45th or so for us.  For the first-planted wheat from 9/28/23, we are just today beginning to see a faint green cast to the fields as the wheat begins to emerge.

Larry uses a disk to work the wheat and granular fertilizer into the soil. He has grown to like driving the new JD 8R 340.

The is is Operations Center map showing Larry’s progress on Tuesday afternoon. OpCtr makes it easy to check in on work that is taking place in the fields.

We are now down to two fields of regular-crop soybeans to harvest.  Today’s rain will put that off, but if the rain is light, (<.75″), we will probably return to harvesting them tomorrow afternoon.   We need two good days to finish off the soybeans.  After that, we will return to corn harvest.  The double-crop soybeans (DCB) have started to turn yellow, and may be ready by the end of the month.  Even the very latest-planted soybeans that we put in after the conservation work at the Harry farm, are now beginning to “turn”.

Yesterday morning, there was a beautiful sunrise.

Sunrise over Palmyra Township, Knox County, Indiana on October 4.

Wednesday afternoon, I had a problem with the JD S780 combine.  While harvesting soybeans at the Huey farm, the belt that runs the clean grain elevator broke.  I called Alliance Tractor for some help, and JR was here very quickly.  It turned out that there was more wrong than just the belt… the inclined auger in the grain tank was not engaging with its drive gear, causing the belt problem.   That required a new drive cog and inclined auger, as well as a belt.  JR got them ordered, and John helped him install those new parts this morning.  When we return to harvesting, that problem should be behind me!

This morning, JR from Alliance Tractor used his service truck’s crane to remove the old auger and lift the new auger into place. This is the new one being placed in the housing inside the grain tank.   After the auger was installed, the rain began, and we had to move the combine inside the barn to complete the repair.

Even on this rainy day, the trucks are busy, with Larry, Bill, and Ryan making deliveries of corn to GPC at Washington and soybeans to ADM in Newburgh.  Since harvest started 3 weeks ago, they are making good progress to fill our fall contracts.

We are rejoicing over today’s gentle rain.


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Back in Beans

Saturday, September 30, 2023

After a day harvesting corn on Thursday, we moved back to soybeans yesterday.  The Wednesday night small rain caused us to switch over to corn for a day, and now the weather forecast looks like we will be in the soybean fields for several days in a row.


We start this Saturday with some fog in the valleys around the neighborhood. That will have to ‘burn off’ before we can harvest soybeans today.

Larry has caught up the wheat planting.  Our plan for 2024 wheat includes more fields near Wheatland where we have not yet cut the soybeans.  So, the remainder of the wheat planting is “on hold” until we get those fields harvested.  It has been going very well for Larry; he likes the new JD 8R 340 tractor, and best of all, there seems to be sufficient moisture in the soil to get the wheat to sprout and grow.

Larry heads off to work in two wheat fields on Friday morning.

This is a screenshot from Operations Center on my phone showing Larry’s progress.


Yesterday was a good soybean harvest day, even though it started with some fog in the valleys.  That delayed our start to almost noon, but there were other things here at the farm to keep us occupied until then.  John discovered an elevator bucket that had detached from the belt and was lodged in a valve at the top of a bin, restricting the flow of grain.  This caused him to examine every bucket on that elevator, and he discovered two more that were loose.  That repair took some effort and a couple hours during the morning.

All in all, the fall harvest is going well.  Each day seems to sprout a little challenge, and so far, they have been manageable.

One thing about the soybean harvest this fall is the strange occurrence that the soybean plants have some green leaves clinging to some green stems.  I have heard about ‘green stems’ before, but this is my first experience seeing it in person.  The greenish appearance of some areas of the fields can fool you to think, “Oh, those beans are not ripe and ready yet.”  But when we cut through them, we find moisture levels that don’t ramp up…they go in the combine tank at less than 13%, some as low at 10.5%!  So, we move ahead, even if the fields don’t look fully mature.

The view from the combine driver’s seat.

Check out how the MacDon header on the CIH 8250 combine flexes, even on this relatively flat field.

Have a great weekend.

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Foggy morning

Thursday, September 28, 2023

The morning fog is burning off pretty quickly.  There is not a cloud in the sky, and so it should clear away soon.  We received another small rain last night after we stopped cutting soybeans.  It was kind of a surprise, for there was no indication from the weather folks that any rain was coming.  We have a few little puddles around the farmstead this morning, but it was only about .15″ last night.  The trucks are away this morning taking soybeans to Newburgh, Indiana ADM.

Larry planted some wheat last evening.  He has completed the first field of 2024 wheat!  He is out in one of the trucks this morning, but he may be switched over to wheat planting again this afternoon.  I’m going to go over to Wheatland and inspect the fields to see if they are not too wet for that work.  It feels good to get started on the wheat planting.

You can see Nutrien’s speader truck in the background putting down a blend of granular fertilizer and wheat seed. Larry uses the new JD 8R 340 and disk to work the mixture into the soil. John assisted Larry in getting started with the new tractor. I think Larry really likes it now that he has a few hours experience under his belt.

Yesterday afternoon and evening, when we returned to the Pond farm for soybean cutting, the soybeans started at 13.3%, but soon fell to 12.8% for the rest of the day.  We finished there last night, another 129 aces behind us.  Thinking there would be no rain, we left the combines and grain cart at that location.  We may have to switch over to corn for a day or so, but we will see what the late morning brings.


Ryan sent me this picture from his grain cart tractor as we were harvesting at the Pond farm.

Just before dark, these clouds caught my eye

We will see what the day brings.  I’d prefer to stay in the soybeans, but we will do what we must.  Together, we will make a plan for the day.

Enjoy a beautiful fall day!



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Pause for a little rain

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Hallelujah!  Some rain this morning!   Hasn’t rained a whole lot, but it’s sure soaking in.  .13″ (3mm) so far, but it looks like more is coming.  This sure is welcome, and we are grateful.  The dust is settled for now.

Yesterday afternoon, we were harvesting soybeans up at the Lett farm between Wheatland and Bicknell, and we got a hard rain for a few minutes.  The soybeans went instantly from 9.5% to 16%, so we stopped.  But we knew if the sun would shine for just a half-hour, we could return to the harvest there.  Sure enough, the sun popped out again, so we went back to cutting beans at 630 pm.  They were 10 or 11% then.   It appeared that more rain was coming later in the night, so we stayed and finished off the Lett and Watjen farms by 1030pm.  It took about an hour and a half to get all the combines, headers, trucks and pickups moved back home.  I got home about midnight.  It was so satisfying to get those two farms on the ‘done’ list.

The combines sat at Lett for a few hours during a short rain delay on Tuesday.

Rain was coming, so we were able to cut soybeans late into the night…

We have marched through over 600 acres of soybeans so far, and we have been so pleased with the yields.  Even the Lett farm, which is reclaimed strip mine land, had one of its best yields ever.  We may not set a record for soybean yields this year, but it’s been pretty good.

Yesterday morning, we finally diagnosed the screeching noise on the right side of the JD S780 combine.  John found a bearing out of a pulley on the air vacuum blower near the radiator.  They had one in stock at Alliance Tractor in Vincennes, so a quick run to town secured the correct part.  John had it installed in a few minutes.

This bearing in this little pulley was completely shot. Good thing it got replaced. There was no useful life left in it!

The dry weather has been helpful for fall harvest, but it was SO dry that we needed this rain to help fill out the pods off the double-crop soybeans (DCB) and to have some moisture into which we can plant the 2024 wheat crop.  I think now we can start planting wheat as soon as practical.

Leaves on the trees are beginning to turn lovely colors, and there have been some beautiful sights around Knox County this week.

Monday morning clouds were pink in the emerging sunlight.

Brandon’s wife Emily caught this double rainbow over the farm during this morning’s rain

So, life will get a bit more hectic for a week or so.  Larry will leave the harvest crew for a while and devote his efforts to planting wheat.  That will put a dent in the crew for corn harvest.

So far, so good.

PTL for today’s rain.




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Started on soybeans

Saturday, September 23, 2023

We switched over to soybeans yesterday afternoon.  I was a bit skeptical that they were ready, but sure enough, they are testing as low as 10%.  The yields are pretty good, too–and for that we are grateful.   I think we can work several days now in soybeans, and allow the “solar dryer” to work on the corn.

This is my view from the driver’s seat of the JD combine yesterday evening at the Roberson Farm.


Yesterday morning, as we were chatting before work began, I took the opportunity to take a picture of the crew that is bringing in this fall’s harvest.

John, Larry Corn, Brandon, Ryan Anson, and Bill Berry. Pretty good team.  


I hope you all have a good weekend.  I know we just got started on Monday, but I’m looking forward to an ‘off’ day tomorrow!

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A tiny rain

Thursday, September 21, 2023

We got some rain early this morning!  It seems like it has been weeks and weeks since the last rain, and even though it was only .12″ (3mm), it was quite welcome!  The skies remain cloudy and that will help this little rain soak into the soil, instead of the bright sunshine baking it out quickly.  So, we are pleased to have the dust settled.

The weather read-out in the office this morning.

I had my first breakdown of the season yesterday.  I was down for about 3 hours with a problem in the DEF system of the JD S780 combine.  It was the kind of failure that causes the engine to default to idle-only, so I stopped and called for service.  Kevin at Hutsons  tracked down the needed part, a DEF coolant valve, down at Poseyville.  So, off I went on a just-under two-hour round trip to get it.  When I returned to the field, Hutson’s service tech was already here, and had the old valve removed.  In about 30 minutes, I was up and going again!   This was the first time I’ve ever experienced a DEF-related breakdown.  I’ve heard about them, but now I’ve seen it up close and personal!   Thank you, Hutson, Inc. for the quick response.

This was my warning screen alerting me that I was soon to be out of commission until a repair was made

And this is the part that failed, a gizmo that circulates coolant through the DEF tank to warm it it cold weather. It was stuck open, and allowing the DEF to get too hot.

I got going again, just in time to help Brandon finish off the work at the Dunn farm.  The wet bin at home was filled, so we brought the combines home to fuel and grease them in advance of today’s work.

We had planned to cut soybeans today, but this little rain will keep us in the corn fields today.  Perhaps tomorrow, we will switch over.

Have a great Thursday!


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