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………….
Well harvest 2012 is all but in the bag so to speak. I have about 3 acres of beans that are still too green to cut and a frost will help them along. I will get them when I get them at this point. With only about 10 acres of subsoiling left to do and the tillage will be put to bed for 2012 as well.
It rained last night and that brought our rain total for 2012 up to 28 inches here at the farm. We are still about 20 inches behind for the year with the year running out……..
Trying to sell seed and finish pulling soil samples, but it’s hard to get guys to meet this fall as most everyone wants to get done and not talk about another year right now.
The first deer season for shotgun is this coming weekend. I think I will go hunt just to have something to do that doesn’t require thought and is pretty relaxing.
Promise to start posting more as I am getting back in the mood for the blog after a hard and stressful year.
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.
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.
How hot is it?
Well on the 4th of July this is how hot it was around Robertson Farms at 2:20 pm:
Air Temp 99.6.
Heat Index 109.
Grass in yard, full sun 130.
Grass under shade tree 89.
Wheat stubble on surface in wheat field 150. (is it no wonder where the DC Soybeans came up that they have fried and died?)
Soil under wheat straw in field 98.
I want to try and get some bear soil temperatures tomorrow in the corn field that I have been taking the pictures of. That should be interesting. Heat index today here at the farm hit 113.
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………….
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………..
The “significant rain event” that was talked about never materialized. We got 0.18 after a bit of rain late Thursday evening.
That brings the grand total for May to 0.32 inch.
The rain last night nearly doubles the rain total for the first 30 days of May.
We are hurting for water.
Well after two attempts in the middle of a drought, we got “rained out” of cutting wheat. We got a “shower” of 0.07 that made the wheat jump up two points in moisture and made it cut tough. So everything is back in the barn waiting on the next rain event and what we will do…………..
A quick review of the rain totals collected by my weather stations show that in the month of April I have had 2.04 inches of rain here at HQ. For May as of this morning, with a “significant rain event almost a guarantee” (statement by local weather guesser), we have had 0.21 inch of rain. YTD its 9.67.
The big April rain total came mostly out of three big rains on the 4th, 13 and 16th. Each rain was a total of 0.5 inch.
It will take a significant rain event to get the moisture to meet.
On news of my soybean crop, which is not planted, as in zero or none, I am still waiting for my seed production beans to get from South America to here. Like it matters now, no moisture is no reason to plant. I just about broke the blade on my pocket knife trying to dig for moisture yesterday. Plus the weeds are about to take the field for the third time. I am running out of options on what to spray to control the weeds……….