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…..?

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!

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!

Well the warm weather has caused rapid growth and is pushing the maturity of the canola crop here at the farm.  Larry Cooper from Opitcrop was by yesterday to say that we have a couple of fields that are maybe days away from being ready to spray and cut.

The cooler and cloudy weather for the next few days will slow things down but we are getting very close to pulling the trigger on a couple of fields. 


Matthew and I went out and looked later in the day and it sure is turning fast.  Got to get all the ducks in a row here pretty fast to be ready to go when the flag drops.  That includes getting the chopper in the combine!

Corn update tomorrow!

Last night we tracked the storms that moved out of Missouri into Southern (yes I know southern is not capitalized, but with Chicago dominating the state, I have moved that anything south of I-70 is its own state and therefore Southern will be capitalized) Illinois there were a lot of reds and purples in the line, along with tornado warning after warning across southeast Missouri.  We were up most of the night playing storm spotter.

It got here about midnight.  It rained hard for a while.  Then some very small hail for a short time, like a minute or two.  Then lots and lots of lightening and thunder followed by just rain.  I went to sleep during the rain part thinking that we didn’t need a toad strangler, and hoping when I got up there would not be water standing around.

Well, after I averaged out all the gauges, we got 1.5 inches last night.  We got off lucky. I have friends who got 3.5 inches and have corn fields under water.  Still even this late in the day.  Not good.

The thing that was most noticeable this morning was that all my flowers were gone from the canola.  Rain must have stripped them off.  I assume that they were fertilized and ready to drop because the plants in the thin places where they are bushed out a lot still have their flowers on them. 

But we have loads of pods.  Lots of small pods that are growing by the day and getting bigger. 

So, things could have been much worse around here last night, and we still have two more days of bad weather to go according to NOAA.  But, if all I have is this kind of water, I have it made.  Yes, I will have to spot in the low spots most likely, but that is nothing. 

And don’t judge my planting here too hard. This was before I moved the EZ Steer over and was trying to talk on the phone, plant, and film for the video.  Which brings me to another topic… computers. 

I have deleted all my media software from my laptop and reinstalled some of them and things are working better.  However, I might have corrupted the files for the auto steer video I was going to make by trying to use them time and time again.

Don’t give up hope yet. I haven’t.  Time will tell the next few days……….

The canola got sprayed with fungicide last week before the rains set in.  Things are looking good for this crop right now.  Just don’t need much rain, wind or hail!

Sorry but it is going to be little short post for the next day or so, busy and tired………….whats new?

John “MACK” Mackson has a great picture and post on his blog on fertilizer separation.  Check it out here at 

And the corn planted on April 13 here on the farm is UP!  You could row it last evening. 

And speaking of that corn field, the video I made when we worked it and planted it has been featured on a couple of websites:  AgWired and Corn Comentary.  Thanks for the recognition guys!!!

And last but not least, or maybe the least, still waiting on the Benton Evening News to show up to take pictures and do a story on the Canola, said they would be right out two days ago……………….but then again, I haven’t had time to deal with them anyway.

Well on top of everything else going on around here, we got some new neighbors. A trailer load of bee hives. Seems that, unknown to me, canola makes good honey or a different kind of honey. So one gentleman brought his hives mobile to set up next to one of the canola fields. Interesting to say the least. This has stirred as much talk as the canola has!

Speaking of the canola, it is growing at a rapid rate and putting on pods.

The fields are absolutely beautiful and are filling in the blank spots.

For all its been through this winter, it sure is growing fast and looking better each day.

Took this picture tonight just before sundown……….things are looking good!

The canola is growing, despite the weather’s best efforts to put it down for the count.  Yesterday as I made my way around the farm I noticed a couple of yellow spots in the fields and then saw one close to the end next to the road. 

Upon venturing out into the mud I found that the canloa was starting to bud and bloom.


Over all the color is good as well as the root system.

And the stems seem to be elongating and budding rather nicely.

Now, if the sun will shine and the wind will blow for the rest of the week, maybe we can get that nitrogen on!

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