Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Join us this weekend

Please join us this weekend at the Dau farm.  2334 N 42nd road Sheridan.  October 18th 10:00 am

Truly there is nothing like it.  We start with worship representing 25 churches of many denominations.  Share music, food, and friendship.  We entertain and educate with activities for old and young alike.  And our goal is to raise awareness of world hunger and raise $70,000 this year for designated world hunger projects.  If you have enjoyed my blogging about the crops stop by where we are cooking the pork and say hello I like to hear what you want me to cover for the next year.  Ask for the cooks special and chat with us.
 You can see we will not run out of pork sandwiches.  Make sure you reserve a bag to take home.

                                                                                                      Serving together,  Dean

Sunday, October 5, 2014

4th grade science

 Remember studying photosynthesis?

   Below is a chart of normal cloudy or sunny days for northern Illinois.  from my posts you have seen how fast the corn is growing in May, June, and July.  We get enough rain to accommodate this especially this year.  It takes water and sun to build the healthy plant.  The next stage occurs in last half of July continuing into August and September.  That is when the grain is developing.  The plant is fully developed so not as much moisture is needed but the amount of sunshine is critical for the leaves to convert this energy into grain.
   Normally September is our sunniest month which makes this area ideal for corn production.  However this year turned out to be slightly cooler and cloudier than normal.  As a result the grain did not get as much energy to fill with starch.  Because of this each kernel weighs less.  Although we have a lot of kernels the combined weight of a bushel is less.  Less lbs per bushel equals less yield per acre.  So the first reports of harvest in my area are a little disappointing.  When we were scouting the assumption was for normal weights with this correction yield estimates would be up to 10% less than expected.

                                                                                   Serving together, Dean

Sunday, September 28, 2014

sharpen those pencils

The difference between $5.50 and $3.50 corn

     Farmers are looking a much lower prices this fall and probably for the next 3 years.  Production has made up for the shortfall in 2012 and now a surplus of grain exists worldwide.  There were several things that farmers were doing when corn was over $5.00 per bushel to get that extra yield.  Now with the prospects of $3-$4 dollar corn not all of these will create an economic return.  On my farm I was spending $22.50 for a aerial fungicide and $22.50 for starter fertilizer put on at planting. If those got me an extra 8 bushels at $5.55 per bushel I had a return on investment.  Now the same investment would need to return 13 Bushels if the price per bushel was $3.50.  As you see response needs to be much higher to make up for lower prices.  I have already decided that those probably will not work for me in the 2015 crop year.  The next thing I will be looking at is my seed cost and especially "traits".  There is an extra cost for different levels of insect resistance and herbicide tolerances in corn hybrids.  Is it cheaper to apply insecticides or get that protection from the plant?  To determine this I will be looking at yield results and seed costs for each hybrid.  Most of this information will not be available until next month and my decision will be soon after that.
    On the bright side the last few weeks has let the corn dry faster in the field than I thought it wood.  Expect to see harvest progress and use caution when you see farm equipment on the roadways.  They are traveling at a much lower speed and at times cannot see what is right behind them.  Be safe and slow down.  Every year I see a car that forgets common sense.

                                                                                                 Serving together, Dean

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What we are about

Sharing our Blessings

Harvest:                                              Corn near harvest
maturity line at 80% 

Ten days ago corn maturity line was 50% Great progression considering cool weather

We will be heading to the fields soon this corn was planted on April 22nd and has experienced good weather although cool all summer.  I am pleased on the dry down this week and know that while still to wet to begin another 10 days will get me to harvestable moisture.  A portion of this field is pledged to our local FRB growing project and it will be harvested prior to the Harvest Celebration on Oct. 18th.  40 farmers have combined to donate some of their harvest to this group.  

   The Farmers will join members of 25 churches that share our goals of alleviating world hunger.
Together we will worship, pray, eat, socialize, renew friendships, and make new friends.  Oh! we will also raise awareness of world hunger and about $70,000.  We then send 100% of these funds to overseas projects that work in communities uplifting them, helping them, and getting them to self sufficiency.  They in turn help others by teaching what worked for them and what they learned.

   Please be part of us.  Visit the FRB site to see if there is a project in your area that you can become a participant of.   or join us on the 18th.

*   Interesting fact:  It costs 13 cents to move my corn to the river. $1.12 to barge it to the Gulf, and $1.23 to ship it to China for a total of $2.48 

                                                                                Serving together, Dean

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Checking corn maturity

Corn maturity as marked by "milk line"
I have marked where the kernel changes from a more liquid stage or "milk line" to the more solid stage of starch on the right side of the ear shown.  Maturity on this one in 1/2 Milk Line and will move towards the cob as heat units accumulate.  In approximately 2 weeks this will complete the process and a membrane layer will form at the base of the kernel that will later allow the separation from the kernel form the cob.  This membrane is black.  So if you hear us farmers talk about "Black Layer" it means maturity.  From this point on yield does not increase but moisture levels continue to drop.  Black layer is over 30% moisture and safe storage levels are 15% moisture.  The decision will be made to harvest and dry the grain or wait for corn to dry and then harvest. But you can expect to see harvest to begin soon.

Ear showing full dent

This is the same ear sometimes called full dent as each kernel is dented which is an indicator of starch shrinking as moisture leaves.

Can't help but smile

John visited the corn grown for our local FRB project.  This year will be one of the best on record for this field.  Fortunately it can also bring smiles to our overseas project as with every ones help this will be sold and the money sent to aid those farmers become self sufficient.

                                                                                        Serving together, Dean

Sunday, September 7, 2014

One last push to get ready

Harvest is fast approaching.  And there is one last push to make, or make that several.

One push to prepare for the Harvest Celebration Oct 18th at the host farm by our gracious hosts Gary and Jean Dau

Another to have all the committee's line up a fantastic event that will be educational and entertaining

Another by all the farmers making sure that they are prepared for the large harvest while also preparing for next years crop planning

Yet another by the Crop it's self.  The corn really has a challenge to dry down to harvestable moisture levels and the Soybeans need to dodge the increased disease pressure that has arrived thanks to the cool wet weather.

I have over 800 tons of lime delivered for application to the fields this fall prior to tillage.  Dry fertilizer is booked to replace the phosphorus and potassium that this years large crop is to remove, plus an additional amount to build up areas that were below optimum levels. Both of these will be variable rate spread using GPS grids.

Seeds are being booked to get the best pricing available, and other inputs ate getting close attention.
Farmers need to make some projection about income and expenses for the 2015 crop year and many are getting very worried that profits will be hard to achieve at current corn prices and current expenses of land costs and inputs.

I just read an article that farming has the highest suicide rates of any profession.  Let us all remember that God can give us the strength if we can only look to him for guidence.  And also sometimes that guidence is in the form of helping hands or one of us.  Continue to pray for each other and get involved.

                                                           Look forward to seeing everyone Oct 18th
                                                           Serving Together, Dean

Monday, August 25, 2014

US crop conditions

crops look great but how much?

    There is an extensive in field survey taken in August by Pro Farmer each year.  Many fields are visited across the corn belt.  They released their estimate from this data that forecasts 169 bu of corn on 83.24 million acres.  If this is true production will be over 14 billion bu of corn.

Corn: Acreage by Year, US
Chart shows reduction in corn planted acres from last year's record amount.  Between now and next april farmers will be deciding how many acres to plant next year.  Corn is at 50% of the prices from 2012 and the drought reduced crop.  How will that impact 2015 corn acres?

So we are looking at 14 billion bu. from less acres.  Unfavorable weather in the northern corn belt was the major impact on the reduction.  For yields, many producers will have record levels.  If you look at the "eye in the sky" from last post you can see portions of the field yellow.  Where this field shows some there will be other areas that receive too much rain causing nitrogen loss or the inability to do timely field applications.
Corn: Yield by Year, US
Chart showing yield per year.  I know we just reduced the possible top yield because of too much rain but am glad it was not the drought of 2012 that had a severe impact on many more acres.  The phrase rain makes grain will always hold truth even if it is too much rain.

On my farm corn is beginning to  fill kernel size and weight and looks like a possible record crop for me.  The harvest moisture will be higher and increase harvest expense because of the cool summer.  My beans however enjoy the cool summer and because of that also look like they could close in on a record for me.
With harvest approaching please think of the hungry in the world and what we can do for them.   FRB is one way to get involved and share our bounty with the less fortunate.

                                                                                                     Serving together,  Dean

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

an eye in the sky

Look at the new way to scout fields.
a drone 18 inch square but great for a quick look around

I wanted to see how much drainage improvements are needed

Drones have become an easy way to get great pictures anytime in the season.

                                                                                             Serving together, Dean

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

big harvest brings questions

2014 harvest looks bigger yet.

    I was thinking I looked a little dry in the field but just got .5 inches Friday and 1.5 last night for a total of 2 inch rainfall.  The corn is pollinated and cool temperatures helped that.  The soybeans are setting pods and no insect pressure.  Both crops have lots of potential.  Can we finish with as good of weather and what then?

   Record harvest needs lots of storage space.  Will everyone have storage and will harvest be slowed down by trucking further to find it?

   Lots of bushels to dry to safe storage moisture.  We are behind normal in maturity and harvest of a wet crop with high yield might start late and take longer than normal.  Will we see standing corn in December?

   Crop prices are much lower than recent years, how will that impact fall fertilizer applications?  With lower income expected in 2015 how much do you spend on crop inputs?   This big crop just took a lot out of the soil but with income questions some may reduce applications if the soil has been built up over the years.
Others may just run out of time because of a late harvest.  How will this effect fertilizer prices?
   On my farm I have taken new soil tests and will apply lime to correct ph and fertilizer to continue to build up soils, but with grid testing and GPS application I can reduce rates where soils are higher than needed.
   I am buying the lime now and will soon price the fertilizer.

                                                                                             Serving together, Dean

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Add another Billion Bushels

What can add a Billion bushels to the corn crop?

      In 2012 during the mid june to mid july time 21 out of 30 days were over 90 degrees and rain was scarce.  This year during the same time period there was only one day over 90 and rain was several times per week.  The corn looks healthy and 10 foot tall.
  Just pollinated or pollinating in this area.  Nights have been cool but seems the growing stage of corn has kept up to normal.  Can we harvest 90 million acres of corn at 174 bu. per acre? Seems that all the right things are in place.  Good genetics, good moisture, less insects, and good pollination.  We are half way there now so if we can keep things going and fill the kernels and get them to maturity this will be one for the record books. 15.66 Billion bu.?  As with every year not every farm or every area is looking this good but enough of the corn belt is excellent that they will overcome poor areas of yields.
 Chart shows corn harvest prices dropping with the reality that the huge harvest is ahead.  Some corn farmers will not be able to cover expenses even with record yields but the livestock farmers that had lost money paying for corn at record prices for two years are now making profits with reduced feed inputs.  At these prices I do not know of any corn end user that is not profitable so the question is always how much will be left of the harvest come october 2015.  The markets try to lower the prices so that corn carryover is reduced.  

                                       Corn: Yield by Year, US                       
Chart shows corn yield trend line and this year will exceed that.
                                                                                                       Serving together,  Dean

Thursday, June 26, 2014

14.7 billion and counting

  14.7 billion bushels of corn?

 Corn is looking better than the past years.  Although we planted later, rains and good weather has the crops playing catch-up.  Pictures show corn at 3 foot one week ago and 5.5 foot today

Some areas are experiencing flooding, and if those acres are lost it will not be replaced with corn, but every year there are destroyed acres and this year will be larger than average but it look as if the remainder will more than make up for it.  Surveys show 89.2 million acres of corn planted and if we keep up with favorable weather that would be a 14.7 billion bushel corn harvest.  

     Pork exports are up 10% and I expect growth on hog numbers.  The Beef  herds will take some time to rebuild and the harsh winter put another roadblock in any real growth.  Many herds simply have not gotten the opportunity to rebuild after the several years of drought.  Corn for feed use will be on a slower increase than corn that we will be exporting.  With 14.7 billion bushels to market prices will be much lower than the past several years, but it will give the opportunity for demand to build.  

   With genetic improvements and increased technology at farmers availability our yields will become greater than thought possible.  We need to build back our livestock customers and get corn affordable for more countries to buy from us.  

   I am encouraged that the world economy is able to recover and this growth will drive farmers to grow in return.  I mentioned that pork exports are up 10% and this is at a time that pork prices are setting an all time high. With corn price much lower those exports will explode.  

  As always please pray for the farmers that are not experiencing this good weather, also pray for the citizens of countries in turmoil that security will return.

                                                                               Serving together,  Dean    

Sunday, June 22, 2014

one for the record books?

One for the record books?    Well look at this my corn is 3 foot tall (pole at foot markings) and remember the Feb. post showing snow covering the field!

rains have been typical of this time of year one area will get up to 5 inches and the next a trace amount.  For those who spent last night at the Plano relay with me it will come as a surprise that I had less than one tenth inch at this field, I sure was.  The farmer never quits thinking of weather, when I pulled into my drive at the wee hours of the morning the first thing I was looking for was how large of puddles would be waiting there, but surprise!! nothing.  Checked the gauge and hardly enough to dump. 

   These variable amounts do not mean many of us are lacking for moisture as there have been many fronts going across the corn belt.  Warm and high humidity has sent the corn reaching for the sky.  I will keep posting the height on that pole.

   National ave. corn yields could be above 160 bu/acre and may reach the USDA projection of 165.3.  Current U.S. Drought Monitor

       The drought map shows the corn belt in great shape but continue to pray for those that are less fortunate.

                                                                                                     Serving together,  Dean