Farmer Salute for Jeff Jackson

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Late yesterday morning a group of many local farmers banded together to pay tribute to a neighborhood farmer who unexpectedly passed away last Tuesday.  It was decided to honor Jeff Jackson with our farm equipment.   All along the 12 miles of Indiana Hwy 61 used by the funeral procession– from Monroe City to Vincennes– farmers parked dozens of combines and tractors and trucks.  As the procession passed by the combine augers were extended to salute Jeff and his family, flashing lights were operating, and many farmers stood by in solemn respect.  It was an impressive sight.

There were two locations that were the primary sites of the tribute, one at the Little League field near Monroe City and then at the front lawn of the South Knox Schools.  But there were many other locations where farmers placed their machines along the highway, especially those whose farmsteads and fields were along the route.

Tribute at Monroe City Little League fields

Tribute at SKHS


One of the most touching moments (at least for me) was passing by Joe and Phyllis Holscher–high school classmates of Jeff.  It may be a bit hard to see in this little video clip, but Joe had his farm hat in hand, over his heart as the procession passed by.

It was a beautiful day, in the low 80s.

We are grateful for the many farmers who made the effort to bring their machines to the processional route for Jeff, and who offered their respect for this good man.

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Rainy week

Friday, August 13, 2021

Friday the 13th?  Nothing scary here.

Yesterday evening, just before dark, we got a significant rainfall.   A little over an inch came down in about 30 minutes.  It was raining so hard that the satellite TV signal was blocked, and prevented us from seeing part of the “Field of Dreams” baseball game.  I got a warning this morning from that said we had potentially received some hail on 8 of our fields.  But after a drive-by this morning, there seems to be no hail damage.  Even so, many of our soybean fields are showing lodged beans (not standing straight up), or kinda ‘mashed down’ from the heavy rain.

Last evening’s radar showed what was on its way.

Last night’s rain was the 3rd rain event for us for the week.  We have received about 3.5″ (89mm) since Monday morning!   Other parts of the corn belt are experiencing a major drought, but not here in southwestern Indiana.  We have had an abundance of rain.  We are grateful for the blessing of adequate ( and really not too much) moisture for our crops.  One guy told me today that “you must be livin’ right”, but that’s not the correct measure.   Matthew 5:44-45 lets us know our attempts at piety do not affect the weather!  Let’s hope our faithfulness remains no matter what the weather.

I have kept fairly busy with the Gator, spraying ditch banks and roadsides for weeds.  I need to make another trip out today.  The thing I’d prefer to be doing is mowing roadsides.  That isn’t possible yet, for our little 6130R tractor is still in the shop–waiting again for parts from Europe!   The roadsides along our fields are looking a bit ragged again, and I am eager to make them look ‘cared for’.  It’s not really that I enjoy that task, but I appreciate what the fields and roadsides look like afterwards.  Maybe by the time the little tractor returns, it will be late enough for that mowing to be the final one before harvest.  We shall see.

Brandon has the machines looking nice…they’re clean and ready for fall harvest.

The 780 combine is shiny again.

We are making some small improvements at the farmstead.  Some patches of old cracked and uneven concrete have been removed, and we await the pouring of new areas to replace them.  The main one is our outdoor ‘wash pad’.  Our electrician, Russell Lashley, is here for a few days to wire up the changes we have made to one bin’s aeration flooring, and also its unloading system.   Little improvements like these will make future harvest seasons go more smoothly.

John installs a replacement frost-proof hydrant for the new wash pad

One thing that hasn’t let up has been the mowing.  With a summer of abundant rainfall, the yards and farm lots could be mowed 2x/week.  It only gets mowed once… we haven’t reached that time of year when the yard turns brown and crunchy.  I hope I can find a window today dry enough to mow the yard at home.   That’s the plan anyway.

As the weekend approaches, we prepare for the funeral services of our dear neighbor Jeff Jackson.  His untimely and quite unexpected death has rocked our community.  But we will pull together to honor Jeff, and to support this wonderful family.

We hope your weekend is a pleasant one.


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Tragedy strikes in the neighborhood

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

We received news last night we did not want to hear.  Our good neighbor, Jeff Jackson, was killed in an ATV accident.  They say he was spraying ditch banks, and the 4-wheeler overturned and landed atop him.  He died at the scene.  Our hearts are broken for this wonderful family.  Jeff was 63 years old, and a happy grandpa.   He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.   This community lost a terrific leader, who served others in many ways.  He led the local township volunteer fire department, and many times he was the first responder to any 911 call.  He seemed tireless.   Jeff was our DeKalb/Asgrow dealer, and delivered unparalleled service.   Jeff continued his family’s legacy of superb farm management.   He was an admired and respected farmer, and always maintained a proper spirit of humility.   Best of all, he was a fellow believer in Christ, and his faithfulness was always quietly apparent.

We will do all we can to support this family.  Please pray for them.

Philippians 4:6-7

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Getting ready for fall

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

August already?  Another calendar page has flipped!

We continue our march to prepare for fall harvest.  Bin work continues, with the guys from Montgomery Welding working to wrap up the new unloader and drying floor/aeration in bin #9, and the flooring repair and new fan on bin #4.   It’s getting there.  Soon, the electrician can hook up all these new items to get them powered up.

Matt fashions the transition cone that will adapt the fan to the bin.

Ready for the electrician.

Brandon has washed the CIH 8250 combine, the last remaining machine to get cleaned after wheat harvest.  It’s a big job, in two stages.  First, he uses air to blow away loose debris, then the machine gets a thorough soapy scrubbing, and a final rinse.  Looks great afterwards.

The scrub brush removes any trace of surface dirt.

We have elected so far not to apply more fungicide to any corn.  Most of it is now ‘made’, and the treatment would not add bushels to the yield.  It may make the stalks stand better, making for an easier harvest, but we will hope there is no severe windstorm to knock the corn over.   The soybeans are looking healthy right now.  We are hopeful for a good yielding crop this fall.  Of course, it’s a long way from being in our bins, but so far, so good.

Soybeans at Lett.  

The trucks need to be washed and serviced in advance of the fall harvest.  One by one, they are brought into our shop and made ready.

The KW has a turn in the shop

I’m hoping to get the little JD 6130R tractor rolling again today.  I’d like to mow the roadsides one more time before fall busy season.

…and to top it off, the weather is a cool 59ºF (15C) this morning.  It feels like fall!

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End-of-July news

July 30, 2021

Well, the oppressive heat from the past week has broken, at least a little.  Highs near 80ºF (26C) rather than the mid-90s today.  And, of course, the humidity was high on those hotter days making for heat index numbers over 100ºF!  Better today.  There must have been a front pass through last evening.  Just before dark we had some thunder and lightning, and got a wonderful .6″ (15mm) of rain.

Gotta mow the yard this afternoon.  It probably needs cut 2x/week yet, but once is all it gets!

I’ll drive this little JD this afternoon to mow the yard.

Even though the weather is cooler today, still, it’s hot for one of the jobs John is working on today.  He is in our bin #4, with the guys from Montgomery Welding, scooping up loose grain.  The aeration floor was removed this week, and now they are cleaning up the debris and spoiled grain that somehow worked its way beneath the flooring.  Once cleaned, the perforated metal floor will be reinstalled and a new centrifugal fan will be hooked up.  That one should run much more quietly than the old axial fan it replaces.  The axial fan is being moved to another bin, in a location away from the unload pit– where the noise won’t be a factor.

Yucky job, but necessary.

Inside the bin with the metal flooring removed. Soon, it will be ready to be reinstalled

This new fan will be placed on bin #4, near the unload pits. It will be easier on the ears than the axial fan it replaces

Jason from H&R Agri-Power came today to facilitate attaching the dual wheels to the CIH 8250 combine.  H&R had taken the combine to their facility in Poseyville, Indiana in order to perform a special update to the cleaning system.  The duals had to be removed so that the combine could be hauled to the dealer.   We needed their help to reattach those big wheels and get them tightened down correctly.

Jason helped guide the forklift driver (me) to get the duals into position.

His $8000 air-powered torque wrench fastened the duals exactly to the 1000 ft-lbs specification.

Our soybeans are looking pretty nice right now.  There may be some weed escapes come during August, but hopefully not bad enough to spray again.

Our soybeans at the Crook farm location. About waist-high tall, and still standing well.

Yesterday’s rain will help these little pods fill

The Indiana State Fair opens today in Indianapolis.  They expect record crowds this year.

Hope you have pleasant weekend.


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Summer jobs

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Just some routine tasks happening today.  Brandon has been mowing some of the 6-7 acres of farm lot areas here–a weekly task.  Today, he has washed up the JD RD40F and the MacDon headers.  He is now working on the JD S780 combine, to clean the air filters, fuel it up, and give it the post-wheat-harvest wash.  He will also remove the inserts from the threshing system that were installed for the wheat crop.  Things will look better this evening!

The headers are now clean and ready for fall #harvest21

Looking out the office window, I can see Brandon adding fuel to the JD combine.

Brandon scrubs the combine to get it clean…

The little JD 6130R tractor is parked for a few days, waiting for some parts to come from Germany, where the tractor was built.  The cooling fan was not working correctly, and this break-down prevents me from continuing to mow roadsides until it gets repaired.  I’ll get it going again as soon as they get it fixed.  I have also done a bit of ‘spot spraying’ with the big JD R4044 sprayer to stop some johnsongrass–mainly in the bottoms of WASCoBs.  It may not be a task that gives a big return, but it helps make for cleaner-looking fields, and will reduce the weed pressure for ’22.   When I get done with this type of spraying, the sprayer has an automated clean-out system built into the controls.

The sprayer screen read-out in mid rinse cycle.

John is removing cables and control boxes from the JD 9520R tractor.  We have traded off the JD 2510H toolbar for a different kind of application system.  Yes, we will still use anhydrous ammonia next spring, but we are upgrading this tool to a more conventional applicator.  The new one will be an Unverferth “Renegade”.

It’s a big task to remove the cables and controls for the ammonia applicator bar.

We are monitoring our corn crop for disease pressure, and the appearance of ‘Southern Rust’.   If the need arises, we will contract with an aerial applicator to get that put on.  There sure have been lotsa crop dusters in the area recently!

The local temperature will get into the low 90s today; it was 91ºF (33C) yesterday.  The ‘heat index’ puts the temp near 100, after you factor in the humidity.  That is just tick too high for corn and soybeans, which would prefer about 85ºF (29C).  But there is still plenty of moisture in the soil to support the crop.  Yes, the soil surfaces are getting quite dry, but the root system is drawing water from down deeper.   A nice inch of rain would be welcome, but it’s not yet in the forecast.

We are now in the post-county-fair period, and local schools will begin in two weeks!   Summer has flown by, and it seems strange to think that school will be starting soon.

Keep cool out there, and have a good week.


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Mowing continues

Friday, July 23, 2021

Roadside mowing continues, along with other tasks.  Brandon is sweeping wheat bins, and delivering loads of wheat to market at Newburgh.  John has returned from vacation, and has resumed his spraying of soybeans, and double-crop soybeans (DCB).  The DCB appearance is improving, as the nearly month-old beans begin to emerge above the straw stubble.  This first application of herbicide over these will also improve their appearance, too–stopping the weeds!

The DCB will soon be out above the wheat stubble.

Mowing along US50

Yesterday, H&R Agri-Power arrived to haul our CIH 8250 combine to their dealership.  CIH is performing a significant upgrade to these machines, and this was H&R’s move to do so on our combine.  The duals had to be removed to transport the combine, and that proved to be a more difficult task than we (and H&R) expected.  After 3 failed attempts, they brought in a tool stout enough to remove the studs holding the big outer wheels to the combine!  Away it went for the upgrade work.

H&R Agri-Power, Poseyville, IN is taking our 8250 in for an improvement upgrade.

We had a neat visitor yesterday.  Joe Virgin of Clarks Hill, Indiana came by to introduce us to his business, Agrilytics.  It was a real treat, for I have been following Joe on Twitter for a long time.  He has a significant collection of antique John Deere tractors, and he often puts them to use on his farm.  It is a treat to see how he has meticulously restored those machines to  like-new status.  He is a ‘star’ of #AgTwitter.  It was neat to meet him IRL.

Got the selfie with Joe Virgin. What a great guy.

We are getting low on wheat inventory.  Only one bin to sweep left to go.  It has been a great crop this year, with good yield and superb quality.  Wheat was fun this time!  We are so grateful for a good wheat crop. PTL!

The Knox County Fair took place this week.  It was cut back severely in 2020, with 4-H exhibits being judged… and that without the public in attendance.  No public events.  This year felt like normal, and the crowds turned out even more.  Pat and I went to the 4-H goat show and that was really something.  Four hours of competitions– dairy goats, pygmy goats, Boer goats, and market goats– culminating in the 3 age levels of Showmanship.  The daughter of Pat’s cousin won the Intermediate Showmanship prize.  Fun at the Fair!

Grace Carie with her showmanship award

We drove across southern Indiana on US50 on Wednesday to spend the day with my sister and BIL, Sheila and John Hobson of Rising Sun, Indiana.  What a special day.

With the Hobsons.

Late summer in SWIN.  The crops look pretty good.  We have another flood event from White River, and the damage may be a bit more extensive than the early June flooding.  The river is not receding nearly as fast this time!  Even so, we are hopeful as we move down the stretch of crop time for the summer and look ahead to fall harvest.  It’ll be here soon.

This is today’s river report at Edwardsport, Indiana. River levels at Edwardsport reach our fields along White River about 1 day after.


Have a good weekend.



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Various clean-up tasks

Thursday, July 15, 2021

There are several varied tasks getting done today.  Brandon is cleaning up the corn planter.  He cleaned out the seed boxes and row units, and now is giving it a wash.  It will be put away today for #plant22.

On the wash pad

After the planter gets put away, Brandon will be out in the Gator to spray to field edges of waterhemp and/or johnsongrass.

Bill is delivering wheat to ADM in Newburgh.

I will be back into the JD 6130R with the R15 rotary cutter, making the waterways and roadsides look better.  There are still several days’ worth of mowing to get done.  Perhaps next week, it will feel ‘caught up’.

Mowing the grass road at the Huey farm.  I like the ‘after’ look.

Mowing a waterway at Huey

Looks better behind!

We need to apply some Roundup WeatherMax to 3 or 4 fields of soybeans, but the ground is too soft to do so.  Soon, the double-crop soybeans (DCB) will need a herbicide application, too.  That can be done in a couple days, but those fields are also too soft (wet) to get across them.

Today is a very hot one, with 90+ degrees expected.  I’m glad I can do a task that calls for being in the cool cab of a tractor.


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Rainy days

Monday, July 12, 2021

Wow, a very rainy time has set in.  We received 1.5″ Saturday and a couple more tenths yesterday.  That was on top of Friday’s .7″.  And rain is predicted for tonight and tomorrow night.  If this was Arizona, we’d call it monsoon season.  But these rains are welcome events to help the corn, soybeans, and newly-planted double-crop soybeans (DCB).  It just makes it a little more difficult to find a window to apply some herbicide to soybeans, and do the mowing on roadsides.   The roadside mowing is beginning to feel a bit urgent to me.

Gotta get this rig rolling again this week. Dad called this kind of work “beautifying the homestead”.  He’d really like this JD 6130R tractor and the R15 rotary cutter.

We had a visitor over the weekend.  Steve Conaway from Kansas, came to SWIN to attend the 2021 Purdue Farm Management Tour.  We became acquainted with Steve through #AgTwitter.  We met up with Steve Thursday afternoon at the Indiana Master Farmer event associated with the Tour.  On the Friday of the Tour, he got to meet several great people including the Dean of Agriculture at Purdue, the President and VP of Indiana Farm Bureau, and even the Lt. Governor of Indiana!  He spent a couple nights with us, and we certainly enjoyed his company.  We hope he had a pleasant and productive time here in Indiana, and that he benefitted from taking in the Tour.  We said our ‘good-byes’ on Saturday morning, and as he left, a light rain was falling.

Steve Conaway was a wonderful guest.

The right front tire of the Gator was getting bald, so we picked up one at the local JD dealer.  Seems like that’s the only place we can find matching tires.  But the surprise for me this morning was that Brandon mounted the new tire to the rim, and I didn’t have to take it to a tire store!  He has many talents!

Off with the old, on with the new…

So, we will work this week in between showers of rain to improve the appearance of our roadsides along our fields.  And, if the weather permits, we will apply some Roundup WeatherMax to a few areas of fields where johnsongrass is beginning to re-emerge.   Soon, we will need to put down the first application of herbicides to the DCB.  No, we don’t have a perfect stand of beans, but it’s good in most places, and adequate in the remainder.   This rainy time will help those get established.

Have a good week.  Next week, our Knox County Farm Fair begins.  Established in 1809, we claim that it is the oldest county fair in the USA!


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Busy spray week

Friday, July 9, 2021

We kept the JD R4044 sprayer quite busy this week.  The main goal was to get the fungicide application on the soybeans at the proper R3 stage of growth.  Between John and me, we got the job done by noon yesterday.  What a good feeling!  This removes some of the work pressure on the sprayer job.  We have some ‘clean up’ areas of johnsongrass in some fields to spray with Roundup WeatherMax (glyphosate).  But after last evening’s rain of .9 to 1.7″ (23-43mm), that will be delayed a couple days while the soil dries down.  The double-crop soybeans (DCB) are emerging from the wheat straw, and with a (mostly) good, consistent stand.  They will need a herbicide application in a week or 10 days.  Fields are looking pretty nice this early July.

Ride along with me as I spray at the Cox farm…

Another good thing happening today is that the soybean planter, a JD 1910 air cart + 1890 no-till drill, gets put away for the season!  I’m always eager to get that thing going in the early spring, but also eager to get it put away in July!  This is another milestone of the summer, when that machine goes into the quonset building down at the Huey farm.

The air drill behind this 9520R tractor will go back into storage today!

I attended the 2021 Indiana Master Farmer event yesterday down at New Harmony, Indiana.  This award is sponsored jointly by Indiana Prairie Farmer magazine, and Purdue University’s College of Agriculture.  One of this year’s recipients is Craig and Kim Williams, long time friends from Oaktown, Indiana, and I went there to celebrate with them.  It was a very wonderful ceremony, with 250+ farmers from across Indiana in attendance.  It is hard to imagine that it was 20 years ago, when I was blessed to become an Indiana Master Farmer.   Attending the annual event has become like a grand reunion!   This award ceremony is held in conjunction with Purdue’s annual Farm Management Tour, where 3 farm operations host visitors and conduct mini-seminars.  This year was in Vanderburgh and Posey Counties, and concludes today.  We were honored to serve as one of the host farms on the Tour in 2011.

It’s VBS week at Wheatland Christian Church… what fun!


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