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.

Yesterday I was listening to NPR or more correctly our local public radio station, WSIU, and heard a story about who in Illinois had contributed the most money to Illinois Politicians.  The top contributor was a Chicago Law firm followed by a couple of businesses in Illinois.  The amount they contributed was staggering.  The amount they contributed would have employed several hundred people at wages well above minimum wage.

If your so inclined, get on the net and do a search of campaign contributors in Illinois for your county.  It will surprise you who in your county contributes money and to whom.   In my little search I found that some people contribute and equal amount of money to “both sides”.  As an example I saw one fellow locally who contributed to the local Democrat House member and to a Republican House member in another district.  The shocking thing is the amount of money that goes outside of the area to other states where these folks do business as well.  Even in a bad economy some people have a ton of money to use to buy a politician.

Make no mistake about what these folks are doing with their money:  They are buying access and influence to elected people.  When you donate a million dollars you just purchased a Senator, House Member, Judge or Governor. You might even get to own a President.

OK there is nothing new here is there?

Nope, nothing new at all.

So why are you bringing this up now?

I always thought the way to change America, Illinois and Franklin Co. was for good men and women to run for office and get elected.  Folks with morals, conviction, Godly values and dedication to the working men and women of this nation.

That is a grand falsehood.

I have been living in the “Land of Make Believe” with Mr Rogers.

In reality all you need is enough money to buy one or more elected officials.

Its like going to the mall and looking in the window of the pet store.  There are all the cute puppies playing and pooping and you pick out the one with the spots you like and pay at the counter and he is yours.  If the dog acts up, you jerk his chain and get him back in line.

So with an elected official, you go to the State House, Senate, Governors Mansion and you look in the window and you pick the dirtiest, lying, cheating, immoral, valueless and brainless scumbag you can find who will sell his soul for money and you buy him. Then you jerk his chain, his wife/mistress/boyfriends chain or kids chain when they act up and he gets right back in line and does your work for you.

Simple isnt it.

All it takes is money.

So my new goal in life is to make enough money to buy my own elected official…..

And from the looks of the contributors list here locally the old saying holds true………you do get what you pay for!

Dont go cheap……….even if that money could be used to feed the homeless or employ hundreds of folks…………

Thanks NPR……..you enlightened me today.


I had a few people want to know more about the barn fire I had pictures of on here  two weeks ago.

The barn was not ours, but the neighbors across the road.  They set it on fire, it was not an accident.  The 100 year plus old barn was in bad dis-repair and they tore it down with a track-hoe before they set it on fire.  There were a lot of old oak beams that had the peg and hole construction in them that they burned up.  That to me was the shame in the fire.

I posted the pictures of the fire on Facebook and David McCollum, who owns a local real-estate agency, provided a history on the old barn and the farm.  I have added some notes of the conversation on Facebook below to fill in a few details and also to note a few details that I have been told as well.

Most of the history of the barn and its owner are from David McCollum.  Edits or additions to the narrative in italics are by me.

The barn is/was located on what was the old Robert R. Ward farm. He was the President of the bank at that time (late 1920’s) in the Wood Building on the square in Benton. He and his family lived in the big brick house on North McLeansboro St. (later the  Eovaldi house) but also owned that farm where this fire was today. When the crash came in 1929, he went to this farm on his noon hour and jumped from the silo.  (It is also told by some in the area that he hung himself from the silo on his noon hour.)

My dad (George McCollum) told me that Robert’s Ward’s wife, Terzie, was a cousin of J.C. Penney. After she sold the big house on N. McLeanboro St. to the Eovaldis in the early 1950’s, she moved to a one story brick home in the 300 block of West Church St (north side of street) and lived there until her death in the early 1970’s. That house is where Dr Knapp lives.

Robert and Terzie had 6 children, 3 sons (1 was Russell “Bud” Ward), and 3 daughters, Martha “Sis” Ward Johnson (wife of Judge Webb Johnson), Sue Ward McCollum, and Mary Ward Doerr, who was my kindergarten teacher at Lincoln School. Sue was married to my Dad’s cousin Charles McCollum and they spent many years in Puerto Rico where he was a plant manager for Levi Strauss Co. Sue’s full name was Susan Esther Ward and that’s where the street next to the Eovaldi house got its name. (Susan Esther Street).

Ward also owned the Franklin Mining Company located due south and east of the farm?  I believe that is true about the mine company. (Also of note is that coal mining maps show that the only part of the east side of Benton that is not undermined from the old Franklin Mining Co is the block where the Eovaldi house is located, where Robert Ward lived as noted above.)  He also owned a dairy company that was located at the farm where the barn was.

If you know any more history on the barn, farm, mine, dairy or house please leave a response in the comments section.  I have to approve comments before they show up……so don’t worry if it doesn’t show up right away.



Last week, as you know by now if you read this blog or follow me on Twitter, I attended the KARTA meeting.  KARTA (Link Here) stands for Kansas Ag Research Technology Association.

KARTA (originally KARA) was organized in May 2000 by a group of innovative Kansas producers, university researchers, and industry members who shared a common desire to learn more about production agriculture and continue to be a part of the leading technological and informational changes taking place on today’s farms

This year was the fifteenth annual conference. It was an applied workshop consolidating information about new and old technologies with a focus on supporting scientifically valid on-farm research efforts and increasing overall farm business profitability.

Topics included precision ag, social media, economics of travel logistics between fields and farms, on farm research, and crop nutrition as well as various presentations by industries on their new, current or trending technologies.

The Thursday night after dinner topic covered land rents and land values.  This particular discussion was led by Dr. Terry Kastens & Dr. Kevin Dhuyvetter.  I would call it the “Bear Pit” of KARTA.  It was a fantastic discussion involving any and all attendees of the meeting.  The topic was batted back and forth and ripped apart…and that was just the three hours or so that I stayed for it!  Very good discussion…….

While the evening session or Bear Pit was my favorite part of the meeting, I must say that I give the entire meeting a “10” as far as meetings go.  It was very well organized, very well attended by producers and industry. It was an open exchange of information. Information was CURRENT, RELEVANT, FORWARD LOOKING and it was HONEST.  It was everything that an agriculture producer meeting should be.

I think so highly of the meeting that I believe we need something like it here in Southern Illinois!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know how much I hate the usual “rubber chicken and roast beef” agriculture meeting circuit here in Illinois.  Well, this wasn’t a rubber chicken meeting by a long shot………in my opinion it very closely resembled, for the production and precision side, what Farm Futures Management Summit is for the economic and business side.

I left there with that good feeling, that positive feeling of knowing that I had been rubbing shoulders with the progressive life long learners of agriculture.  When that happens you know you have been to a good meeting……….yes their world is different than mine here in southern Illinois, but that doesn’t matter.  It’s the mindset I look for.  The mindset of being proactive vs reactive.

KARTA is a great proactive meeting………I highly suggest you attend the 16th meeting if at all possible.


I was at local business today when a guy asked me how much new iron I traded for this winter.  I had to laugh and say “none, I am not into that game”.

He laughed and said that “I must not be that good a farmer if I wasn’t spending all my profits on trading equipment to avoid paying taxes”.

I laughed back and said that an “old tractor worked just as good as a new one for the same job as last year”.

He shook his head in agreement and we talked about all the new iron that is showing up in driveways the last few weeks.  I have noticed several million dollars of combines and tractors moving up and down the roads around here as of late.  Guys have had a couple of good years and with the government and their squirrelly tax laws, especially the lack of a continuation in the large deprecation write off, they are spending the money to avoid the tax and also to insure they have some depreciation to write off in the future.

He then commented that he would like to invest some money into farm land and asked what it was going for right now.  After talking about some land sales around here where ground went for anywhere from four thousand to ten thousand he then laughed and said that he would leave his money in the bank.  He thought that the land market was over valued and headed for a bust.

I don’t know about the land market, it could bust or plateau.  I just don’t know.  I don’t seem to know much anymore when it comes to the farm economy.

The one thing I do know is that new iron will eventually rust.  And if there is a land bust, then that new iron will be hard to pay for in the future, rust or not.

I have been working on a whole bunch of small stuff in the office, mainly fertility recommendations but also some “what if” crop planning.  A few years ago I wrote a simple spreadsheet to do some what if type comparisons.  Then the thing grew to a not so simple monster of a spreadsheet.  I guess the correct term would be a worksheet or work book with something like 15 or 20 different linked spreadsheets in the workbook.  You change your corn acres and all the sheets update:   seed needs, fertility, chemicals, insurance, fuel and so forth as well as what your insurance coverages are and what your marketing price targets should be.

In running the spreadsheet the last couple of days I have had to put in acres of corn, beans and wheat as well as landlord split acres.  I never realized how many sets of “acres” I have for the same acreage.

There are FSA Acres, Rented Acres, Share Acres, Spray Acres, Harvest Acres and GPS Acres to name a few.

None of them are the same.

If you farm you know……..its 40 acres you pay rent on that only has 38 acres in it by planting and spraying but is 37.2 by GPS around the boundary but shows 41 on the yield monitor and the FSA office has it down as 40.5 acres for the farm program.

So you rent 40 acres but insure 40.5 because that’s the official government measurement, you plant and spray 38 acres of inputs but combine 41 acres of crops and figure your coffee shop yields off the 37.2 acres of the GPS unit…………

All those acres add up…………

Well its that time of year again, time to sign up for the Farm Futures Management Summit.  This is the second year that I have been asked to speak and am looking forward to not only speaking but just attending the meeting itself.  I just love this meeting and think it is the best meeting of the year and not because I am speaking.  It is just one of those meetings where the line up of speakers is relevant, current and forward looking and not reflective and re hashing the same old wore out research or topics.  

Its fresh.  Its alive…………..that is the best way I know how to describe it.  I always leave St Louis with a positive outlook even in those years when their wasn’t a positive outlook to see on the horizon.

I think the reason why is that all the other meetings I attend during the year are based on reacting to what is happening in the agriculture world after it happens.  The speakers at the Summit focus on being proactive and managing what is happening in the agriculture world before it happens.  The information gained at this meeting has help me be a more profitable farmer each year.  No its not one big thing that David Kohl or Mike Boehlje say or that Moe Russell or Daryl Dunteman point to but its the trends they talk about and all the little things that add up to something big that make the difference.

So I have taken to labeling meeting invites I get anymore into two categories:  Reactionary and Proactive.  Then I try hard to make all the Proactive meetings I can attend and fill in with the Reactionary if I need to.

The problem is, in my opinion, that most of agriculture is focused on being reactionary…………  A result is that a lot of meetings beat the same old dead horse to death.  Reactionary meeting invites fill my inbox and mail box.  Proactive meetings seem to be few and far between these days.  They exist and you must seek them out and you will have to travel to get there but that is a small sacrifice to pay for the empowerment they give you.

So I hope to see you in St Louis for what I anticipate will be the great PROACTIVE meeting of the year………….  I wouldn’t expect anything else at the Summit.


I came across the following two pictures on Facebook via a friends link.  I think they tell a very big and important story about our country and culture today.  No not Democrat vs. Republican or liberal vs. conservative or what other political group your for or against.  I think it tells the story of just how disconnected and how stupid, yes stupid our population is anymore about the REAL world and not the synthetic world that they all live in.

I said these people are stupid and I stick by that statement.  I think I have told the story here before but here it is again, Ignorant vs. Stupid.  Ignorant is lacking knowledge on a particular topic:  I am ignorant of rocket science (I have no formal education or study of the subject) yet I understand what rockets do.  Stupid is mental dullness; foolish; senseless, as in not having a clue.  Stupid is standing in the rain and wondering why you are getting wet.

These folks are STUPID.  They don’t have a clue, they have to be mentally dull, foolish or senseless to think or believe what they written is true or even has a chance of being true.  But in case you think I am stupid or to harsh, I will let you be the judge.

If your involved in agriculture these two things should SCARE you.  These folks not only believe what they have said, but they vote, call their elected officials, influence school boards and in the end just mess up life for all of us.  Yet, yet, they are more the norm than we might want to believe.

I read a study done with intercity folks on where they believe their food comes from.  The top five answers were:  1.  The Store  2.  The Phone Book  3.  A Box  4.  A Bag  5.  A Delivery Man.  The study was done by some professor in Nebraska I think.  The point is that people are so disconnected from their food, from the land, from nature that they think food comes from the grocery store where they “make it” and that deer crossings should be moved to less traveled roads.

Are we doing enough in Agriculture to educate the population about their food and where it comes from?  How about the fact that nature doesn’t follow road signs……….????  Is this our wake up call or is it to late?

One can be ignorant about the specifics of food production or deer habits but they shouldn’t be stupid about them……….

I always hold out hope for our country, but after reading these two newspaper articles, I think we are doomed.


24 hrs in a day.

60 minutes in a hour.

60 seconds in a minute,

1440 minutes in 24 hours

3600 seconds in an hour.

86400 seconds in 24 hours.


365 days a year.  (unless your Dir Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, then there is 364 see her comments here)

7 days a week

52 weeks a year (yea 7 X 52 is 364, who knew the DHS was so smart?)


There is never time to do it right but there is always time to do it over.

We waste time by burning daylight and try to make up time by burning the midnight oil.


Whos got time, I’ll make time, you got the time, when I get time, what time is it, time for a change, tying to make up time, killing time, time and time again, is it time, time time time is on my side, if I had time, the time goes by, our time is gone, where did the time go, time has expired and I have run out of time.


Wow, that post just wasted 10 minutes I will never get back.



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