Monthly Archives: August 2010

There seems to be the greatest interest in VRT this fall.  From lime to P and K producers who never gave VRT a second thought seem to be fascinated with doing it.  Its about time for many of them.

With fertilizer cost where they are and the prospect of a below normal or less than normal crop in many areas because of the heat this summer producers are looking for small ways to cut back on cost.  This is funny in some ways because not to long ago when Potash spiked at $1200/t producers either put some on or didn’t put any on at all.  In that year I wrote many a VRT recommendation, more than I had ever done, but it still is nothing compared to this year.  This year has seed a whole new level of interest. 

I think that we have found our point of “balance” between the price of an input and yield.  Kind of like $4 gas for our cars.  When gas gets to a point we watch our trips and how much we run in the tank.  When gas is $2.50 we buy gas and don’t think to much of all the running around we do.  But when gas is $3.00 we all at once buy gas and watch were we go because we know we are only going to buy what we need at $4.00. 

So I think we have reached that balance here in Southern Illinois.  Price is to the right of the middle.  Its not as high as it has been but its going up.  Yields are average to below average.  So between the two, farmers say lets buy but lets buy with caution and apply it in a conservative manner.  And VRT fits that line of thinking.

This is not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.

A few more shots from corn harvest last week.  Plus a short video!

Here is a short 45 sec video, I just love the sound of that combine………

Time doesn’t allow me to do to much today with the pictures or video other than post them.  Busy week and a lot to get done.  Harvest will be put on hold for a few days:  rain in the forecast and then we don’t have any more corn that is ready.  But it wont take long!

Couple of quick observations from the pictures: 

  • You will note the black dust on the combine and the difference a little water makes. 
  • Also look at the black water that stained the driveway after washing. 
  • The yield has been great fo the year so far, above trend line. 
  • The foder is increadable!


I attempted to update the site today and have encountered many problems……

So I have returned to this old format for now……if you have any problems let me know



When I saw this it brought back memories of the Muppet Show. which I loved to watch back in the day when I was a kid. I still think these two old farts do some of the funniest put downs I have ever heard.

I wish I could find the bit they did at the end of one of the Muppet movies……….that was excellent!

First days of corn shelling and we have our usual first day follies to report. (sorry for poor quality cell phone pics) 

We went to the field with red combine but quickly it turned into a black combine as the corn was dry and dusty once we got inside the field.  The yield monitor shows 15.5 avg moisture but we are seeing moisture in the 13.5 to 14.9 range in the middle of the field.  So it is dusty and hard to see!

The yield has been great!  the first ten acres or so had run about 180 then it began to drop off a bit, which is normal in this field and we are running a 150 avg.  That will pick back up as we finish out this field but things are running very close to my yield estimate.  Good corn and we will take every kernel.

The dry corn is creating a lot of header loss in the form of butt kernels shattering off the ear when they hit the stripper plate on the head.  Not much that can be done about that but we are losing about 2% at the head.  Good news, nothing lost out the rear of the combine!

As for our mandatory first day break downs: 

  • Blew fuses on the fan on the grain bin and then found out that the kill switch isn’t working.  So that will be something to address this morning. 
  • The feeder house speed sensor came unhooked and it took a while and a phone call to find where it was located and then to hook it back up.  No problems after plugging it back in. 
  • And the hitch pin in the big auger wagon broke/fell out/ bounced out / or just disappeared while driving across the end rows.  Bad deal but it was EMPTY thank goodness.  So a quick chain and three point hitch jack improvising and it was back in service in 30 minutes. 

So I am off to check the bin, grease the head and get in the good ole red/black combine and hit it again today!

Be safe out there!


Not that I have time right now for this, but I have to stand up and make my voice heard.  The liberal left media that tries to run this country from our TV sets and newspapers, has gone and attacked The Appleseed Project. 

For those who don’t know, and haven’t read my tab, and take on The Appleseed Project, here is a brief overview of it from my participation.  Appleseed combines rifle shooting instruction with a historical review of the Revolutionary War.  They teach shooting based on the Army Marksmanship Technique using Army Qualification Targets in the standing, sitting and prone positions.  Between instruction and shooting you get to hear, in my opinion, the real events and accurate accounts of what happened at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.  This history review is the non politically correct and watered down version taught in our liberal feel-good public school system.  So don’t be surprised if you learn a few things that you didn’t learn in grade or high school history class. 

Anyway, the liberal left is trying to paint this as a militia training recruiting ground, and a TEA Party rally.  Wow! How they could get that is beyond me. What happened at the Carmi, Illinois event that my son and I attended is quite the contrary:  The first thing that was said by Mudcat, the lead instructor or line boss, was that this was NOT a militia meeting or training and he didn’t want to hear about militias from any of the participants.  We also didn’t discuss any political views other than that in the re-accounting of the history of the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

Yea, I know, Fox News isn’t exactly middle of the road.  They, in my opinion, lean right.  But they present both sides and report down the middle.  Fox did a report on Appleseed.  I think it is a fair assessment of what it is and what it is not.  Read it or give this a view if your interested in the truth. 

Better yet, visit the Appleseed website and then ATTEND a shoot near you and find out what it really is all about.  If you like to shoot and you like history, then Appleseed is for you. 

Don’t let the liberal left destroy the truth.

Wow there seems like lot of stuff I could post right now but I don’t have the time.

Getting ready to start shelling corn, finishing up a couple of VRT recs, kids starting back to school, doctor visits and in the middle of all of this, someone went and scheduled a fish fry! 

Looking forward to the fish fry just to catch my breath.

Promise I will be back to regular posting later this week.

A short update here this morning. 

I would say based on the comments over the weekend that about a third of the farmers in the area are about to head to the field today to start shelling some corn.  Early corn is anywhere from 15 to 20 and everywhere in between. 

It is also the first day of school for the kids around Benton.  So some added excitement (not for the Robertson kids) to add to everything else going on.

I hope to replace this update with something more substantial later…………..

Well at least it is a dark green this week.  Last week before the rain we were a greenish yellow wilted color.  That color isn’t good for indicating plant health. 

Out the back door picture(s) for this week showing the drought and heat stressed beans here behind the house. The cool weather of late has helped and the rain of a week ago has the beans blooming again. But those pods that are being set are only 2 bean pods. That ain’t good! We will see what the weekend brings as we have another slight chance of rain.



Of all the farm jobs, the one I hate the most is greasing the combine.  Its not the maintenance I hate, its the fact that there is no way in the world to perform the maintenance or repairs on a combine without getting filthy.  Combines are dirt magnets.  Not just dirt magnets, but the most powerful dirt magnet in the world.  Dirt will accumulate out of no where and to a depth that seems impossible for such a short time of use. It’s the kind of dirt will cause you to itch like crazy.

This dirt is also dangerous.  It can catch fire and burn if it is an area that gets hot.  Especially if it accumulates in those areas.  So besides being a nuisance, dirt and dust are also a fire danger. 

Matthew is becoming the official combine operator.  Note the word operator, not driver.  My new motto is that if you drive it, you clean it.  If Matthew will clean it, I will repair and perform maintenance on the clean equipment.  Fair enough exchange I think.  Besides, Matthew loves to use the power washer and he doesn’t mind getting wet and dirty in the process. 

So Matthew washes today and tomorrow and then we hook up the corn head and wash it.  Then I will begin the process of performing maintenance and greasing the head and box while Matthew cleans up the cab.  By the time this operation is done, we should be ready to get grain bins in order and set augers for corn harvest.

Then we wait.  Wait for the corn to dry down.  I suspect that we will be shelling corn by the first of September. 

Ahh, shelling corn, my second favorite thing to do on the farm.  Second only after side-dressing corn with nitrogen.  Funny you get to do the second favorite thing after doing the first hated thing.

Was cleaning out a bunch of junk from under my desk trying to find a bunch of other junk when I came across a milk crate full of old equipment manuals.  I had took them out of the shed when we cleaned the shed out last winter and had forgot all about them.

There is a manual for just about everything it seems.  All of them for equipment we don’t have anymore.  Technology changes, thank goodness.  I would hate to have to harvest on a combine with no cab!  Not only that, but our efficiencies and our productivity increases when we adopt new technologies. 

So, it is still amazing to me when some of the older generation out there doesn’t get it about technology.  Yes, it costs money.  But just because something worked then doesn’t mean it works now.  Or maybe it works but it is not efficient or as productive.  Maybe we didn’t have a choice “back then” and we do now.  Maybe to be competitive we don’t have a choice but to adopt the newest technology, no matter short lived it might be. 

GPS is one of those technologies that has brought about change.  Chemicals are another.  Things have changed greatly, but in some respect they haven’t changed all the much lately.  You don’t see many cultivators anymore.  You don’t find anyone with a rod and chain for measuring off acres.  Yet there are those who say that cultivation is better than chemicals.  There are also those who say that we don’t need all this GPS stuff to farm with either. 

Those few loud voices are right to some extent.  We don’t need all of the latest and greatest technology to farm.  But it sure makes it much easier.  And it makes it more productive.

Shot some video of the rain as it came in with the wind.  It got pretty sporty here for a while.  Lots of limbs down in the area, some homes damaged and barn doors ripped off.  But it RAINED.  That’s the sugar that makes the rest of the bitter be OK.

Today was another hot one but we have a chance of rain tomorrow……….lets hope we have primed the pump with the last rain to keeep it going for a while.

Sorry for such a short video, all I could bet before it got sporty.

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