Well corn harvest is over and if my fuzzy math is correct my whole farm average is right at 18 bushel/ac or so. The two farms that I had hope to make a yield did but not near what was estimated.
Aflatoxin was mostly a non issue minus the best 12 acres where one load tested over 30. It seems like the lower the yield the lower the aflatoxin and as the yield went up so did the aflatoxin. I am still hearing some wild numbers on aflatoxin from some guys and some even have put some high numbers in a bin, why I don’t know, but they are trying to find a place to go with it I guess. Maybe they didn’t have insurance or think that they can move it later a lot easier. I don’t what any of it around to mess with so all mine is at the elevator.
The mood in the country is somewhat gray as everyone is mentally tired and ready for this stuff to be over. Nerves are on edge in some places with low yields and the other stresses of a bad year. Heard a story of a guy determined to get a semi load of corn the other day and he shelled all day even into the night and quit at 4am when he ran out of corn on that farm and still had not filled the semi.
Even bean harvest is going to be a bear with all the butter beans and green pods that a lot of fields have. A lot of guys need a good break away from it all but it seems like it is piling on in some places. Rain totals ranged from a few tenths to over 7 inches and those that got the big rains are even more grumpy as it has made a bad situation worse.
Wheat has already been planted and I think that is a big mistake with all the residual N that is out in these corn fields. I even saw a field of volunteer corn that was waist high mid week. It had grabbed the N left in the anhydrous track and was dark green. Not good with warm temperatures and excessive amounts of N in the soil for young wheat.
We are in the discovery period for the fall harvest price option on crop insurance and everyone is hoping for a rally in prices. One thing for sure we will be above the spring price unless there is a drastic sell off this month.
Shelled my first corn today. This field would normally make 10-11 times as much as it did. Worse yet was that the yield estimate was about 30 bu/ac……..why I didn’t destroy it.
Anyway I still have 40 acres to harvest that might make over 50…………. then we get the bush hog out and start mowing down the rest of it.
If I can get everything together I will try to start shelling corn tomorrow. I guess I am the last one to start in the area. Since the 16th of August it has been super busy with all kinds of stuff and I have not really had time to commit to getting ready.
Crop insurance looked at over half my corn crop and estimated it a below 10 bu/ac so I will end up destroying those acres and will concentrate on harvesting my two best farms. I suspect that the one will make sub 40 bushel corn and the other might make near 100 but the aflatoxin is going to be a problem on where I can sell it I think.
Maybe once I get back in the field I will start posting more, I just have lost interest in all things as of late…….need to get back on the page.
Took a few weeks off, as I have been on the summer version of the rubber chicken and roast beef meeting circuit. Lots of info was picked up at most of the meetings with one topic being overdone, and that would be the drought. Everyone seems to have had a weather guesser, climatologist or dry weather/drought expert of some type speak. With exception of one or two they all said the same thing and a few of the weather people seemed to talk down to us farmers as if we were not aware of how hot and dry it has been.
Well, here we are at August 13 and I thought I would post a picture or two of the corn crop at this date. I took the bush hog and ran into the same field I have posted pictures of in other posts here on the farm, to show just what our final yield prospects look like.
The stalks are rubbery and have greened up a bit after we got a few pop up showers as of late. But that has done nothing to add yield, just make the corn look greener than it was.
I had to count 32 stalks (which in this field was 17.5 ft of row or 1/1000 of an acre) before I found an ear with any kernels on it. This would be typical of this field minus the 6 or 8 end rows around the field that have an ear, of about the same size, on about every stalk.
Hardly worth the time to harvest………..
I have heard of several yield and aflatoxin stories the last 72 hours for this area. One story is of a 60 acre field that, when shelled, fit easily into a tandem truck and had an aflatoxin score of 30. Another was of a corn field that did average 30 bpa but had an aflatoxin score of 300. Both were rejected. Of those shelling corn, the best field average I have heard of so far was in the 70′s, but it was also some bottom ground that you would expect to have higher yields on. Most of the upland ground that has been harvested thus far has yields in the 20′s-40′s.
I will try to follow up with some meeting highlights the next few days…………
Picture from July 24, 2012 of the same corn field and same place. Further showing deterioration of the crop. Temps today have been over 100 deg and humidity is once again very low.
There has been some corn shelled east of here with moisture reported to be in the mid to high 20′s. No yield report so I suspect its pretty low. Also the number of corn fields having been bush hogged or tilled has dramatically increased as well as a few soybeans fields are being destroyed.
Well I did it last night. I got brave enough or mad enough to walk into some of the worst looking corn I have. The same field the Farm Progress video was shot in.
Here are the results: 5 random ears pulled from 17.5 ft of row. That is representing 1/1000 of an acre, a representative sample in the ag world.
A picture is worth a thousand words they say. Well this one screams those words in a high pitch as well.
I will say that better than 65% of my corn fields looks like this, 20% may look as good as the photo I posted in the blog post before this one and the last 15 % never put out an ear.
Been on the road to meetings the last few days, will post an update on some things I learned later tomorrow.
Today while loading some wheat I went out into one of my corn fields to look around. I didn’t really want to, but the curiosity was getting to me. Things were as I expected them to be, or maybe even worse.
Here is a picture some corn from the historically best spot in one of the highest yielding corn fields on my farm. Noticed I said one of the best fields, and historically best, or highest yielding spot in that field. This is not an average field or average ears from this field. THIS IS THE BEST.
In a “normal” year I would expect to see 180-210+ corn yields in this area of this particular field. In a normal year, this field would yield in the 150-160 range.
The quarter and nickel are for size/comparative purposes.
If you look very closely you can see that these plants set some big ears to start with. Most were in the 18 round to 45 long when you count potential grains. The best ear pictured was 18 round and 14 long but you can see by the seed size that they are not much bigger than popcorn. Very shallow grains.
If they finish out and don’t shrink back, I really wonder how I am going to shell them. I mean the whole ear isn’t much bigger around than the corn stalk at this point. Setting the corn head to get these ears will be a nightmare.
Still is is better than most of the corn, which either didn’t even set an ear or didn’t pollinate.
Here is a video interview I did with Josh Flint of Farm Progress on Thursday on the drought here in Southern Illinois.
In the last 72 hours we have had two pop up thunderstorms, one with nickel to quarter sized hail and high winds, that dumped in a short amount of time, a total of 1.7 inches or rain.
It is too late for the corn crop sans one 40 acre field that I planted late on May the 5th that is just now trying to tassel, but it should be more than enough moisture to get the beans I planted 10 days ago to germinate and come up.
But there is no moisture below the seed once it does come up………and we have all of July and August, typically our dry and hot period of the year, to go.
Holding out hope that we have a bean crop of some type………….
Here are some time lapse photos of one of my corn fields showing how we went from one of the best looking corn crops ever to a complete disaster in less than a month.
Heat index temps have been over 110 this last week and they predict another week of triple digit temps. Soil surface temps are over 130 during the heat of the day.
This corn was planted on April 13. Rain fall from April 16 to July 1 was 0.75 inches with 0.9 coming on the night of July 1.
Picture taken June 5, 2012
Pictures taken June 16, 2012
Pictures taken July 2, 2012
Water math for a Southern Illinois corn crop.
Inches of rain we are behind in this drought: 14 inches for the year.
Gallons of water needed to produce 1 bushel of corn per acre: 4,000 US Gallons (some say more some say less but we will use this number)
Gallons of water needed per acre to raise 150 bushel corn: 600,000 US Gallons per acre
Gallons of water in a 1 inch rain fall per acre: 27,154 US Gallons
Gallons of water in 14 inches of rain: 380,156 US Gallons per acre
Inches of water needed to reach our current growth stage (~R1): 13 inches of water per acre or 353002 gallons of water per acre (University of Nebraska Irrigation Guide To Corn)
Inches of water needed to finish the crop out to maturity: 16 inches of rain per acre or 434,464 gallons of water per acre. (University of Nebraska Irrigation Guide to Corn)
Rainfall predicted in inches for the next 5 days: 0.25-0.5 inch of rain (NWS Hydrometeorological Prediction Center)
Gallons of water in a 0.5 inch rain: 13,577 US Gallons
A half inch rain is hardly a drop in the bucket when your dry like we are and a flood when you saturated.
But I would gladly take a half inch rain right now……………..gladly.
I keep getting asked just how bad is it really down here in Southern Illinois with the drought and the corn crop. Well below is a picture of what I would call a typical field that was planted in March or early April. Nope its not the worst picture I could post, its an average picture. There is better corn but it is the later planted corn, mid April to first of May. Pictures of that next day or two.
This is not one of my corn fields and I will not say exactly where it was but it was in Franklin Co, IL. I scouted this corn on Saturday June 16 at about 10 a.m.. The yard stick is for reference. This field was planted on March 30/April 1. It is trying to tassel in some places in the field.
While I didn’t take a picture of the field today, its rolled up very very tight and is a brilliant white color. Its currently 94 deg with 40% RH and 10MPH winds while I type this at 1745. This field has had less than 0.75 inch of rain between April 17 and today.
Saturday we loaded up in the truck and struck out for Bloomington, IL to pick up an item I had purchased. We drove up I -57 through Effingham, Mattoon, Champaign then took I-74 over to Bloomington. Our return trip was down I-55 to Lincoln, Springfield, Litchfield to Rt-4 at Lebanon then I-64 back to Mt Vernon and home.
All I can say is wow, this crop is in serious trouble. Outside of a few pockets of good looking corn, one near Effingham, Bloomington and Lincoln, the whole route looked drought stressed. Very drought stressed and in some places stands showed the effect of dry soils at planting, especially on the soybeans.
Plus there were areas that looked N deficient as well as areas that were fired.
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being “good” (not even close to normal or excellent) and 1 being “near dead” I would give my my corn crop a rating of 3. Overall I give the crop we saw from the windshield a 4 with some three pockets of 7 and an equal number rated at a 2 with one area of 1.
Most of the crop is a 4 or a 5, meaning its in the poorer end of “fair” looking.
All of the corn we saw was twisted up. It was just greener in some places than others………..
I got done sidedressing the last two fields of corn with anhydrous today. That means other than one last shot of post chemicals tomorrow, the corn crop is now on its own.
Now my focus shifts to wheat cutting which will happen next week………
And then I hope by the 8 of June (first it was the 1st of May then May 15 and then June 1) my parent seed will be here and I can start planting some soybeans.
In the meantime, we are bone dry, low humidity, windy and getting hot. More like August weather than May. The last real rain I had was about April 13.
Ready for a few days off……..