A beautiful rain

Saturday, July 2, 2022

I awoke this morning to a wonderful sound–  rain gently falling.  It has been very dry here for a few weeks, and we have been praying for rain.  The double-crop soybeans (DCB) really needed some moisture.  We planted them into dry soil, and there was no chance for them to get started until it rained… we got .3″ last Saturday night.  While we were very grateful for that rain, it concerned us that .3″ would be just enough rain to let the bean seeds sprout, and then the soil might dry out around the little sprouts and they might die in the dry soil.   That would require a re-planting of all the DCB.   But this morning’s rain will certainly be a help…maybe not the complete cure for which we were praying, but enough to allow a sufficient stand of DCB.  Of course, I’ll replant whatever becomes necessary, but it would be a great boost if that is not needed!   In checking with our seed supplier yesterday, there is an adequate amount of replant seed available… he will assist me on Tuesday to evaluate the ‘stand’, and make the call on replant–or no replant.   Also, the forecast has some more chances of rain for the next 3 days, and that would be welcome, too.

Out my front door this morning…

There are a few DCB coming up!

We almost have our wheat forward contracts filled.  The wheat market has been dropping significantly, and causes us some concern about how to market the remaining unsold bushels.  It is really good quality wheat, with heavy test weight, and below 13% moisture.

Bill pulls away in the Volvo just after I finished loading his truck. The wheat looks very, very nice in the trailer!

On the bin-building project, it finally reached its 19-ring total height yesterday.  Now, they are ready to install the unloader and the aeration floor components.

The new bin now has all of its 19 rings in place.

The unload auger runs from a spot in the center of the bin towards the door. It will be underneath the aeration floor. You can see the initial parts of the floor supports beginning to be placed in position at the far side of the bin.

With most of the bin components finally moved out, we can put this equipment back under roof!

Again, we are grateful for this morning’s rain.  Have a wonderful weekend and Independence Day holiday.

 

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Busy week of varied activities

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Well, it’s the last day of June…man, that got here quick.

This week has had many different activities.  1.  Hauling wheat to market down at the Ohio River  2.  Using the bush-hog for roadside mowing  3.  Using the Gator for spraying fencerows and ditch banks  4.  The bin construction project is moving right along.  5.  John ‘caught up’ his soybean herbicide spraying.  6.  We put the soybean air drill into storage today.

Some pictures of this week’s activities.

John loads the Volvo. Bill has grown to like driving this one. The automated transmission is a plus. The wheat really looks nice in the truck.

The JD 6130R tractor with the R15 rotary cutter (or bush hog as such machines are commonly called) waits in the shade for its next run tomorrow.

This is some of the set-up we use in the Gator to spray fencerows and/or ditch banks.  Just roll the window down and spray with the hand-gun from the driver’s seat.  The A/C in the Gator also makes for a more pleasant trip… you can keep cool on the way to and from the job.

Bin project progress:

At just 3 rings assembled, you can see the beginnings of the stairway to the top

Almost halfway… 9 of the 19 rings assembled.

13 of the 19 rings assembled.,

Spraying soybeans

John works at the Huey farm to apply Liberty and Intensity to the weeds in the soybeans.

Storing the soybean air drill.

Back into the quonset building at the Huey farm. I’m always eager to get this planter out in April, and just as eager to put it back in June/July!

In other news, just this afternoon, Brandon has returned from Wilson Trailer Company at Frankfort, Indiana with our brand-spanking-new trailer.  We made the deal for it last November, and it was just built last week!   So, now, it’s finally arrived at home.  Brandon is eager to put it to work hauling some of the beautiful wheat.

Just arrived here today. 2023 model Wilson Commander trailer

Went around to check on the soybeans in the White River bottomland fields this morning.  Liked what I saw in this one…

 

 

Now, we are praying for some more rain.  Last Saturday night’s rain got the DCB going, but to keep them thriving, more rain would be a good thing.   As we wrap up June, we recall that the year has brought us some challenges, but it also brought us a record-yield wheat crop.  Remember to count your many blessings!

 

 

 

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Done.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The wheat is harvested and the double-crop soybeans (DCB) are planted.  Both tasks went well, and it took some effort.  “Wheat Week” is always a very busy one.   We did have some trouble with one of the trucks, but we were able to work around that.  Also, toward the end of DCB planting, Nutrien delivered seed to the planter in the field!  We had Larry and Bill here to help with wheat harvest, and that made things go better, too.

The wheat crop yield was our best-ever, surpassing even 2021’s good crop!  We are grateful for such a good wheat crop.  My anticipation was for less-than-2021, because of the very wet and chilly April and May.  But God provided a very good result!  Another benefit to this year’s wheat crop was that the grain was dry at harvest– 13.5% moisture or less.   Thus, we did not need to run it through the dryer!   Also, the ‘test weight’, or density, was 61.0 pounds, exceeding the standard 60 pounds per bushel.  All in all, a happy harvest.

Cutting wheat at the Crook farm

Loading a truck in the field

Sunset at the wheat harvest was drawing to a close on Tuesday evening…

After the wheat harvest wrapped up Thursday afternoon, Brandon began cleaning the combines and placing them in storage.  John returned to his sprayer.  I went immediately to begin planting the DCB.  The soil is dry and hard, the beans are lying in dry soil.  Until a rain comes those little soybeans will not sprout.   In a typical June, we have a ‘rainy spell’ towards the end of June, and that is always helpful for the DCB.   For 2022, we are praying for another ‘rainy spell’.    Perhaps I should re-read my devotion from this morning:  Isaiah 41:10  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  God will provide.

Planting DCB

Planting DCB

One thing that is not ‘done’ is the spraying.  It feels as if that job is never ‘done’.   John is out again today spraying soybeans at the Burke farm, stopping some pesky waterhemp and johnsongrass.  While we were busy in the wheat fields, John had to hire some spraying done that just could not wait until after harvest.   I’m glad we have that option, but I’m also glad that we don’t have to do that very often.

July will soon be upon us, and I will be mowing the riparian strips along  some of our ditches.  Because those areas are entered into the Conservation Reserve Program, we must wait until July 1 to mow them.  I’m gonna try to reduce my mowing this summer because of skyrocketing price of diesel fuel.  Maybe our fields along US 50 will only see the mower once this year… but who knows?   Maybe it’ll get looking so ragged I cannot stand it, and I’ll mow a couple times!   I enjoy that mowing task, and I really appreciate the ‘cared for’ look afterwards.

In other news of the week, the crews from Kiesel Enterprises in Princeton, Indiana have arrived (ahead of schedule by 2 weeks) to begin assembling the new grain bin on its concrete foundation.  I am amazed at how complex is the design of the roof, stiffeners, and staircase systems.  It has been decades since we added storage here at the main farm.  This bin will be our biggest – 48 feet in diameter.  Even though it looks the same as the others at first glance, it will have better safety features and will be easier to unload.

Assembling the first (top) ring

Next the roof panels get added

As of Saturday evening, the bin is 3-rings high.

So, as summer harvest season has come and gone, and the planter sits over the weekend to be stored away, we are reflecting on counting our blessings.

Have a good weekend.

 

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Good start

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Well, we did get wheat harvest started yesterday, and it went pretty well…mostly.  There were a couple surprises:  The grain was drier than we expected which allows us to place it directly into storage or deliver it to market without going through the dryer.  The other surprise was that one truck had a problem with the brakes, and it is now back at VoMac in Vincennes to get repaired.  So, the first day had one thing that was tough to deal with, but we are grateful for the yield and moisture content. Thank the Lord for the good yield!

The combines were pretty shiny at the start of the day. But they are coated with dust now!

Unloading some pretty wheat into the grain cart.

We will take some time late this morning to measure two areas for a special yield check.   That will require some extra trips to Robinson’s for empty and full weights, and formal grading.  Our wheat consultant has entered 2 of our fields into a ‘yield contest’.   That’s very unfamiliar territory to us, but he is optimistic that our yields will be competitive.  We will see!

Having most of the wheat here at the main farm sure makes it more convenient for John to keep up with the trucking, and it allows that 2 trucks are sufficient to keep up with the combines.

Gonna be a very hot one out there today, predicted 98ºF (37C).  Should be comfortable in the combines.

Keep cool and have a great week!

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Start on Monday

Saturday, June 18, 2022

With no rain in the forecast, we are now thinking that we will begin wheat harvest on Monday.  The combines are ready.  Bill and Larry are making arrangements to be here to assist with the work.  Looks like we will be rolling next week!

It will be interesting to gather in that crop.  Despite the cold and rainy months of April and May, the wheat crop has looked pretty healthy.  We are hopeful for a decent yield.  As always, we regard a good yield as a blessing from God.  We do everything we know how to do to plant and care for the crops, but without His blessing, it doesn’t amount to much.  James 1:16-17.

The weather this morning is much more comfortable, starting the day at about 62F.  The humidity is down, too.  As I went down to the Burke and VanVleet farms this morning in the Gator, I didn’t even need to run the A/C!  Next week, a return to the high 90s is predicted.   That’ll make for good (and typical) wheat harvest weather.  It is our goal to get the wheat cut and the DCB planted by next weekend.

Enjoy your weekend.  Happy Fathers’ Day!

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Not yet…

Thursday, June 1 6, 2022

Well, we tried… the guys got the last parts of the grain system ready today, finally spraying an insecticide in the storage bins, scraping clean the load-out hopper bins, and cleaning the big unload pit.  The grain dryer is prepped and poised for action.  Those tasks (some of which began on Tuesday) took the morning today, while we waited for the dew to burn off.

Brandon took the CIH 8250 combine with its MacDon header to the wheat field about noon.  He eased around the first field between the house and the old silo, getting a few thousand pounds of wheat in the combine’s grain tank, mainly for the purpose of obtaining a proper sample to test for moisture content.  The combine read-out was about 21%, but when the sample hit the official tester, it reported 25.2%!   This moisture level caused us to hit the ‘stop’ button on harvest.  If the reading had been less than 20%, we would still be rolling.  Our best judgment tell us to allow the solar dryer to do its job for a few more days  The new thinking is that we will return with the combines on Monday.   As wheat harvest commences, we will calibrate the moisture meters in the combines, and make sure the yield measuring systems are as accurate as we can make them.  (In wheat, the combines are usually within 1% of the actual weighed yield.

First pass of wheat harvest 2022

We had to try…

 

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Rain again.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

It’s raining here in SWIN again this morning.  Just a light rain so far, but storms are possible.  We are praying for no severe hail or wind storms… that would be bad for all our crops, but particularly for the almost-ready-for-harvest wheat crop.

This morning’s rain.   Just wet…no storms, please!

 

The CIH 8250 combine is receiving its inspection today.  After 3 full years of harvests, it is a good thing to have the combines go through this process.  We found some minor but significant wear items during the inspection on the JD S780, and now we are feeling more ‘prepared’ for the upcoming wheat harvest.

The mechanic from H&R Agri-Power at Poseyville, IN is here to give the 8250 a thorough going-over.

I checked on the newly-planted soybean fields this morning.  In the last-planted fields from June 5, the little beans are about a half-inch from bursting through to the soil surface.  The soybeans planted on June 1 are now up and growing.  A gentle rain will be a good thing.

Two weeks (more or less) until we cut wheat!  It still looks pretty good out there.  It will be good to discover just what the yields will be.

Have a great Wednesday.

 

 

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#plant22 done!

Monday, June 6, 2022

We worked yesterday to plant and replant.  Yes, it was a Sunday, and we’d prefer not to be in the fields.  But rain was predicted for Monday, and it is June already.  So, it felt urgent enough for us to be working on a Sunday.   We had lots of company.  You could see farmers all over the area who were spraying, side-dressing, planting, and/or replanting!  It was a very busy weekend in SWIN.  Every farmer was aware of the weather forecast.

We went to work in the afternoon to do more planting and replanting.  Brandon used the big CIH STX 420 Rowtrac and the 2150 24-row planter and finished off the replanting of the corn.  I was in the JD 9520R with the 1890-1910 air drill and finished off the planting and replanting of soybeans.  All in all, 56 acres of corn was replanted and 265 acres of soybeans.  These replanted acres will be great if the predicted rains this week will be not-so-heavy!

Folded up and ready to move home after the last field of #replant22

I must say it feels pretty good to have #plant22 and #replant22 behind us.  The rainy April and May extended the planting season into June.

We will begin today with the clean-up of the corn planter.  It got pretty messy doing its work this spring, but Brandon will make it shine like new before long.  The clean-up of the soybean drill will wait until after the planting of the double-crop soybeans (DCB).  It looks today like the harvest of the wheat crop may begin in about 2 weeks, and the DCB will be planted after the wheat is cut.

On to the next project… preparing the combines for wheat!

 

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…again tomorrow

Friday, June 3, 2022

I’m getting ready to return to #plant22 tomorrow.  I will be heading out early to the Freddie farm to plant around the water holes, and get done what I can do there.  Of the 310 acres, I estimate that I can do 275-280.  Time will tell if the water standing there today will be gone in time to go back down there and plant the holes… tomorrow may be all I can do there for ’22.

No doubt I’ll be driving around that spot tomorrow!

After the Freddie farm, there will be a 21 acre field that remains to planted, plus about 180 acres of #replant22.  The forecast for next week has a couple days of rain, and that will affect what we can get done.  The Huey farm has a larger spot in the corn field there that needs to be replanted, but the calendar is getting to the place where we won’t plant corn any longer… about June 10, we will need to make the hard decision about stopping.

John is out today spraying the earliest-planted corn fields.  He has pretty much ‘caught up’ with the soybeans, and he could be in the same position with corn by Monday.   The rainy days and windy days have compressed the in-crop spraying into a pretty small window.   But he is working at it with every opportunity, and his progress is promising.

John spraying soybeans at the Huey farm location a couple days ago.

So, I’ll be out in the bean planter (air drill) tomorrow, trying my best to put a major dent in what remains of #plant22.  I might even have to put in some hours on Sunday afternoon…

Dad always told us that if you want a really good wheat crop, you need “a cool, dry May”.  Well, April and May have been anything but that.  However, with our utilization of some effective fungicides, maybe the result will still be one of which dad would be proud.  We are hopeful.   It’s probably about 3 weeks away from the the wheat being ‘ready’ for the combines.  During that time, we have several tasks to accomplish:  1.  Get the combines out and converted internally for wheat.  2.  Finish #plant22 and #replant22.  3.  Get the corn and soybeans sprayed with herbicide.   4.  Start the mowing of roadsides.

The wheat is “turning” or changing color from green to gold.

“Wheat week” is always a busy one, packed with the urgency of harvest, and typically accomplished with temperatures in the 90s.   Once that is done, summer should simmer down for us… at least that is the plan…

God made a beautiful sunset on Wednesday evening.

Have a great weekend.

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One more…

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

I got to finish off the Nellie farm yesterday.  That was the place where I was run out by the rain on May 14th.   Well, I got to go back yesterday afternoon and plant the remaining 17 acres.   There is no other place where I can plant just yet, we still have mud or water standing in the other locations where I must yet plant (or replant).  But it felt good to do that little bit yesterday.  Another step on the road of #plant22.

This was my last pass yesterday across the Nellie farm.

My guess is that it will be next week before I can do any more planting or replanting.  This will give us time to get the combines ready for the upcoming wheat harvest.

 

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