Monthly Archives: June 2010

Nothing specific today but lots of odds and ends: 

Recreational Spraying has begun!  It’s that time of year for farmers to begin spraying fungicide and insecticide on corn.  I call it recreational spraying because in a lot of instances, if one knows their hybrids and scouts, there is most likely little need of an application.  And at about $35 with the plane, that’s about 10 bu or corn you have to “add” to make it pay.  Plus an insecticide that gets a “free” ride that may or may not be needed.  I am not against fungicide on corn.  There are times and hybrids where it pays and pays big.  And it also adds plant health for some hybrids that a farmer might not get to harvest in a timely manner.  But for the most part, its not needed with a lot of our hybrids.  And this explains why I am not on the Christmas card list of the aerial applications in the area.

Canola Yields:  Got the last ticket back from Ty Jones who trucked our canola to Golden Gate and of the 130 acres 100 of it averaged 48.X, close enough to call it 49 bushel and acre with the worse 30 acres averaging 20.  Take away the 1o acres of drowned out spots and it made 30, but you can’t do that………   I am very happy with the yields knowing that we had one 26 acres make near 60 and another 40 acres make over 50.  So the potential is there for some outstanding yields, and profit vs. wheat here in Southern Illinois. 

Soybeans:  The bean crop over the country side looks mediocre at best.  Some beans are waist tall with a dark green color but there are a lot of short beans that are puke yellow and a soil probe reveals that they are root restricted.  The recent rains help color some up again but that is fading pretty fast today in the low humidity.

Double Crops in Canola fields:  I have to say that I absolutely love planting double crop beans in Canola stubble.  Sure beats wheat straw any day of the week.  And the ground plants so much better and mellower.  Another strike against wheat and a mark in favor of canola in the future. 

 Civil Air Patrol Encampment:  Is 8 days from starting and 17 away from being over.  I am looking forward to this one being over.  This is my last year as Commander and I am ready for it to end.  Just to much junk going on to make it worth the while for me personally any more.  Attendance is down 50%, with the economy the main reason, but also a lack of support in the local units where commanders are over burdened with a lot of junk for higher headquarters. 

 Civil Air Patrol:  The stupidity of the leadership at NHQ is unbelievable at times.  Due to their agreement with their “only licensed supplier or licensed merchandise” (I refuse to mention or promote in any way that company) I cant get any gifts for the staff of the encampment with anything that refers to CAP on it.  And that company sells crap for “gift” items and those products are about twice as the same thing from other companies.  I have started my own one man protest not to support CAP in any fashion with my money other than my membership dues.  Nuff said.

 And last for today……..

 I am SOOOO ready to go to an Appleseed Shoot that I can’t stand it.  Just got to get the Encampment out of the way and then I can concentrate on something important for me and Matthew to do.  Maybe even Morgan and Mom…..?

Today was  along, long day of walking bean fields.  And I am paying for it tonight.

Of note from today was the first time I was ever asked to stop walking a field and move back a quarter mile so that they could set off some explosive charges in the field across the road.  Kind of interesting to say the least.  The good news in all of that was the gentleman that asked me to “step back” and I had a great conversation and ended up having a mutual acquaintance.

All in all with the mild tempertures and slight breeze, it was down right plesent today!

I spent the first part of the morning on Saturday spraying double crop beans. It was very HOT to say the least. Then about 1600 or 4 pm I ventured out to Whittington Woods campground for Field Day. Field Day is the ARRL’s annual “get on the air and talk to as many people as you can day” in the US. It was originally designed as a test for emergency communications under “field” conditions. Needless to say it has evolved into a contest of sorts.

But the fellowship is still good even if the emergency test part is over looked a bit. I can say that the LEARS field day was not over looking the emergency aspect. And while my attendance was short, I did see several people learning new things!

If your not a Ham radio operator, why not? Its a lot of fun and its also a great learning experience!

When I watched this on Dual Survival, I thought it was pretty darn smart…………..

The kids filed back into class Monday morning. They were very excited. Their weekend assignment was to sell something, then give a talk on productive salesmanship.
Little Sally led off: “I sold Girl Scout cookies and I made $30,” she said proudly, “My sales approach was to appeal to the customer’s civic spirit and I credit that approach for my obvious success.”
“Very good,” said the teacher.
Little Jenny was next:
“I sold magazines,” she said, “I made $45 and I explained to everyone that magazines would keep them up on current events.”
“Very good, Jenny,” said the teacher..
Eventually, it was Little Johnny’s turn.
The teacher held her breath …
Little Johnny walked to the front of the classroom and dumped a box full of cash on the teacher’s desk. “$2,467,” he said.
“$2,467!” cried the teacher, “What in the world were you selling?”
“Toothbrushes,” said Little Johnny.
“Toothbrushes!” echoed the teacher, “How could you possibly sell enough tooth brushes to make that much money?”
“I found the busiest corner in town,” said Little Johnny. “I set up a Chip & Dip stand and gave everybody who walked by a free sample. They all said the same thing, ‘Hey, this tastes like dog poop!’ Then I would say, ‘It is dog poop. Wanna buy a toothbrush?’ I used the governmental approach of giving people something for free, and then making them pay to get the crappy taste out of their mouth.”

I have been trying to spray 100 acres for two days to help a friend out.  OK not a full two days,  just yesterday afternoon and this morning.

I usually takes me about an hour to an hour and a half to spray 40 acres with my ATV sprayer.  I use this because it is a) cheap to operate and own b) easy to handle and use in small crops and c) saves me about $7 an acre for simple spraying like first pass or pre plant or post spraying.  It also allows me to do tip toe across some wetter ground and not rut it up. 

In my friends case he has several small fields that custom applicators don’t like to spray, you know several 5, 7 10 acre fields.  Last year he had them spray and they didn’t even spray a couple of the fields because they “couldn’t get in them”.  What ever………

So late yesterday afternoon we headed to the fields on his farm.  We didn’t even get to the end of the driveway before the Honda motor threw a rod on the sprayer pump.  That motor has several acres and hours on it so it was no surprise, you know, one of those things where it was going to happen……..

Then the hitch on my ATV broke and left the sprayer in the field but pulled all the wiring off the controller.  So we quit last night and let it be. 

I drove the last load of Canola to Golden Gate this morning and then went to Jim’s farm and rewired the controller and got hooked back up and went to spray the last 30 acres.  About half way done I looked over to see the outer third of the left boom begin to fall off.   Yea……..more repair fun.

I managed to get it held together enough to drive to Jim’s shed where I began to look for some scrap metal or metal angle iron or strap to make a temporary repair so I could finish until I get it home to rework the boom.  Well I began to question if Jim is a “real” farmer because he doesn’t have the obligatory scrap pile of metal outside his shed to scrounge from.  Matter of fact his shed, inside and out are to neat and well kept………….just a side note there.

Well after some searching I finally found what appeared to be a large U bolt that had been cut in two laying in the gravel near the shed door and used them as a brace to weld the boom back on to finish.

It worked.  I had no doubt.

Amazing what one can do with a welder, couple pieces of scrap metal and a little bit of knowledge.  I know some of your will complain or point out that I “didn’t do it right”.  Well when you MacGyver something, the beauty is in the eye of the fixer!

Took this picture of Morgan the other day during wheat harvest.  She brought out some bacon sandwiches and tea to the field in the Mule.  She is always so pleasant and has the sweetest disposition with that smile on her face.

I tell her that she is my favorite daughter.  She reminds me that she is my only daughter………..I still tell her that shes my favorite youngest child.  She reminds me that its only her and Matthew.

It is HOT. I thought Sunday was hot but this is just unbelievable.  It almost burns to breathe………..The heat index today was 115 if I heard correctly!

Well we got done with Canola harvest on Sunday and I got all the beans drilled today. It has been a hot one for sure and some of the corn is starting to show the stress around the area.

I went out in our last planted field and took some pictures. It is about to tassel and the ear shoot is emerging from the leaf collar. Color is good and we are standing the heat pretty well but when I start to tassel I want a rain! Just a rain, no wind or hail or anything else, just rain. But I am picky.

I walked out into the field and held the camera above my head as far as I could reach to take this picture.  The tassels are just about the peek out.

I skinned back this plant and cut the ear out.  If it pollinates and if it fills…………it looks to be a good corn crop come fall.  If it doesn’t………………well all you farmers know. 

All in all we had a very good canola crop for the year and the adversity it faced from the day it was planted. The wheat crop was pretty good despite the rust and disease late. And the first DC beans are poking through the soil!

Now, to spray, spray, spray and hope for a bit of cooler weather and a shower while we tassel and pollinate!

I love James…………… is a taste of his humor

Short note for today on yesterday: We got another field done yesterday afternoon and got all the auger wagons full before we had to stop. No trucks. Got the bean drill caught up with the combine, or at least to the field it was in, so its only 40 acres behind.

Last night I had trouble sleeping and got up to see that we were about to get hit with another storm at about 4 am. Once again for the third day in a row, two tenths of an inch of rain. Just enough to make things pretty sticky today.

So we sit……..and wait for trucks and dryness.

Got up at 0400, that’s 4 am for you civilians, to run over to the farm and put a tarp on the bean drill to keep it from getting wet on a night where there was no rain forecast.  It lightening and thundered and carried on and then rained a whole two tenths.

Then I got up and was taking my time about getting things ready when Lori called and said that I had better not drag too many things out, big rain coming.  Rain coming on day with forecast as partly sunny and no chance of rain?

Well I filmed about 4 min worth of the front before it got here.  It came with a special weather statement of 60 mph+ winds, hail and heavy rain.  All we got was a gentle breeze and another two tenths. 

Needless to say, no progress yesterday and most likely little today………………….


Day 5 of winter wheat/canola harvest continues.  First was son Matthew becoming a wheat cutter and now expert combine operator at harvesting standing canola.  There is a word for standing canola, but I cant remember it right now.  He has mastered the art of it at the age of 12.  I am proud.


Next was my wife Lori learning how to run the tractor and autosteer and drilling beans yesterday.  She kept the drill going all day and got us in good position to get it caught up with the combine today. 

The field of canola we are in now is Hornet and is making pretty good, maybe even better than the best field of Citro.  Would like to get it done today while I have a trucker still available.  Will loose him for a few days starting tomorrow.

Anyway here are two videos I shot yesterday, one of me using the autosteer while drilling beans and the other of Mrs Lori making a pass in the field drilling herself.  Sorry for no fancy editing, not enough time last night to get it done. And yes to my friends, I listen to NPR while drilling beans, it keeps me from going postal during the day. Something about the mellow tone and sounds, they relax me!

I got to down load my phone a while ago and remembered I took these pictures of the storm as it built up last night. 

These storms of late have some very high tops and anvil clouds.  From my storm spotter training, I know that means trouble.  Trouble we don’t need!

When I said we just got the tractor and wagon in the shed before it rained, I mean it.  Nothing got wet and all is on the way to Golden Gate to the elevator. 


More pictures from yesterdays harvest.  Christopher Johnson brought the Pioneer weigh wagon over and Larry Cooper and Tim Sickman from Opticrop were on hand to weigh some of the canola from the second field.  Check Strips were 66 bu/ac, 60 bu/ac and the last one that also had sprayer tracks in it was 51 bu/ac. 

Pretty good canola for the growing season we had.  The first field averaged 49 bu/ac based on the yield monitor and I am waiting on the last ticket to make a final call on that one.  The second field is 8-10 bu better than the first. 

We got rained out just as we got done, one inch of rain in the guage when it was all said and done.  So we will load trucks and get ready to drill soybeans behind the wheat and canola.  This will help things a lot for the double crop beans. 

Anyway, we move forward, 60 acres cut, 60 acres to go.  The lowest yielding is yet to be harvested and a different verity to be cut on another that should yield close to the others. 

Well we got started yesterday on our Canola. Got 35 acres cut and ready to ship. We will be moving fields today and weighting some to calibrate the yield monitor and such.

Setting the combine was fun as I have never cut canola before so it was difficult to say the least. David Hale came up and took part of his Sunday afternoon to ride a few rounds and give me some pointers on harvesting and setting the combine.

Three words will best describe today:  HOT, dusty and tired. But we move forward!

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