Out The Door Picture

Out the back door picture at 12 noon today.  10 inches of snow and still falling.  So much for any more work this December.  Grain hauling and paperwork will fill out the rest of the year.



Well a first for us is that we are cutting soybeans before we shell any corn.  Corn was still running in the high 20’s for moisture but the beans were dry.  So we went to the bean field.

I shot about 2 hours of video with the GoPro on a small tripod in the cab before I decided it was not the thing to use.  It kept falling over with every bump I hit.  I moved on to a Ram Mount ball where I could tie it down good and tight.  Anyway I managed to get three plus minutes of video to show how things were going on Saturday to make this video.

I will shoot some more and make another bean video and most likely a few corn videos as I work on perfecting my technique.

BTW the beans were good, averaging almost 50 bu/ac across 70 acres.  The more dust that rolled out of the combine the higher the yield was…..  seeing upwards of 70 in the real dusty places.  No dust, no beans or low bean yields in the 30’s.


My nephew Cormac Glascock visited earlier this month all the way from Arizona.  He enjoyed showing off one of the ears of corn that we will harvest this year.  It is sure a lot different than last year.  About 200 bu/ac different than last year.

This was this time last year…….


Well here it is the first of February and the weather in January has been all over the board.  We have now had three snow events but between the snows the temperatures have been almost to the upper 60’s in one case.  So you leave the house with you winter and spring clothes depending upon how long you will be gone.


I took this picture on Sunday after a 40% chance of snow on Saturday night turned into a 2-3 inch snow event.  It was down right cold with temps in the upper teens this after a Tuesday of short sleeve weather, high winds, down pours of rain and tornado watches and warnings.

This coming week we start off today with snow or rain shower, warm up to rain and possible severe weather on Thursday again followed by thunderstorms on Saturday and Sunday again with temps approaching 60 by the weekend.

Is it no wonder everyone is sick………….

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…………

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.

Thought I would take a picture of the Valentine Day snow we got this morning.  First snow of Winter 2012.  Had to take the picture fast………snow will be gone before noon as warm as it is……..

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.



I guess we can let the cat out of the bag now and make the first of two major announcments that I alluded to earlier in January of some changes here on the farm.

Not only is this  a shed we are building, but it will also be a warehouse for Pioneer Seed.  Robertson Farms is now officially a Pioneer seed dealer.  We will be servicing farmers mostly in the western part of Franklin Co.  It is a natural fit for us.  We have enjoyed a long and productive relationship with Pioneer as a seed customer and seed grower, mainly because I have felt that their agronomy and sales staff have always had my success at heart when offering me products and services.  So when the opportunity presented itself last fall we began the process to become dealers for Pioneer.  We have a lot to learn but are eager and ready for the challenge!

The end of day 5 on the new shed…………….now we are ready for metal!  The nice sunny days have allowed for quick progress, but the bottom has fallen out of the ground around the site. We had to pull their forklifts and tellehandler out today.  The telehandler  was setting on the frame with the last truss suspended in the air………fun!



Meanwhile, while the last truss was going up, we spotted smoke accross the field and found that our neighbors old barn was on fire.  By the time we got over there the major part of the black smoke was gone but the flames were still going as high as the silo tops!

The old barn has been a land mark on Rt 14 east of Benton and the silos are also the site where the original farm owner killed himself back in the 40’s or 50’s…………more on that later………

This is the progress on the new shop, Day 4.  Beautiful 60+ deg weather for February 1st makes things go fast…………

Paul Miller Construction had started on our new shop/office/warehouse.

Lots to do today, will have a write up on KARTA for tomorrow……..

Short Sleeves and working ground on Monday……….

This is what it looked like Friday morning………………………….

An out the backdoor picture for today, this is between showers and doesnt convey how cold it seems outside.  Part of me wishes I would have pushed and got more corn planted on Thursday and Friday, the other part of me isnt sure what I got planted was a smart thing.

I am in need of a severe Geritol injection (some of you will get that joke later) or a big bowl of peep flakes.  I feel like my attitude and altitude have had a mud hole stomped in them and then walked dry.

It was 81 here on Tuesday…………snowing this morning. Welcome to Southern Illinois!

Well the snow had just about disappeared today.  More in the forecast for Sunday/Monday. 

Current Farm Weather


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