Saturday, March 29, 2014

Genesis 1.9 And God said...let the dry land appear...

    I went to our local Soil and Water Conservation District banquet last night.  A wonderful speaker, talking about the abundant life found within the soil and the importance of soil stewardship.
   As Christians we know this message but need to be reminded of our roles. Genesis 1.8 And God called the firmament Heaven...  Genesis 1.9 And God said,"Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the land appear."  Genesis 1.26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion....over all the earth.
   The soil is what gives life to everything.  God gave this gift to us, a gift he created that was more important than us. In fact it was the first thing he created after Heaven. He then put us responsible for this gift by giving us "dominion" over the earth.
   According to our speaker we have done plenty to destroy this gift of soil in our short time on Earth.  We all know this to be true from deforestation to the dust bowl, the history of actions have been far reaching.  Fortunately we have also learned lessons.  Conservation practices are evolving and he showed us evidence of soils slowly recovering to their natural state,  more microbes and organic particles after just a few changes.
  I am proud of how Foods Resource Bank can also bring this knowledge to our overseas projects by promoting sustainable farming.  I am also Proud of how we can help those caught in the destruction of mankind.  Our local project (Somonauk and Earlville area FRB) is supporting villages in Bolivia and Paraguay that because of deforestation, the local villages need to change from hunters to farmers.  Our efforts are helping them in that transition.  Next post will cover that in more depth.

                                                                                        Serving together,  Dean

Monday, March 17, 2014

what follows cold winters for production?

We are still looking at snow and frozen soils.  There is a lot of field work waiting for the thaw, so how will this impact our yields?

     The winter of 2013 -2014 is the 4th coldest on record.  Proceeded my the winters of 1976-77, 1977-78, and 1978-79 (1935 also, 5 listed because 76-77 and this year are tied).
      Comparing the winters of the 70's here is a list of yields form the following crop years comparing those to yield trends.

Crop year     Average yield/acre
1973-74       91.3
1974-75       71.9
1975-76       86.4
1976-77       88
1977-78       90.8
1978-79      101.0
1979-80      109.5
1980-81      91
1981-82      108.9

years following cold winters      This looks like there is actually a yield increase after a cold winter.

Several factors may be able to explain this.  #1  cool summers usually follow cold winters (favorable pollination)  #2 cold winters reduce insect overwintering  #3 cold winters reduce plant disease overwintering.

                                                                                        Serving together,  Dean 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Corn prices head higher where next?

Corn chart march 7th 2014
Corn higher on demand, and unrest in the Ukraine.  With Ukraine as a world supplier of grains concerns mounted on if their ports will be able to operate as normal with political unrest mounting.
I have used this rally to price more corn in storage for delivery.  I have very little corn priced that I will be planting this spring.  As in my last post winter is not letting go of its grasp and snow is falling now.  Will there be another rally with late plantings?  Frost is 4-5 feet deep and much snow to melt so when will tractors run?

I was looking up historical data and it seems our late planting years are more closely tied to excess rainfall in late April and May than cold winters.

Will the drought intensify from California into the Midwest?
These are just a few of the problems the farmers are working with.  We pray for God's blessings on a continued basis.  Without him we would not be able to feed the world.

                                                                            Serving together,  Dean

Friday, February 28, 2014

Thinking Spring while looking at Winter

   Seems like a game we used to play with our children "something is wrong with this picture" March 1st is tomorrow and more snow is coming.  I had a landlord that told me he had moved his equipment from one farm to another 7 times in his life on march 1st and it was never frozen to the ground.  That is so far from this year.  Typically February provides our winter thaw and the ground begins to warm up.  The moisture from snow and ice makes the field a muddy mess and March allows our drainage to work and get the fields ready for equipment. April is the beginning of field preparations for the seeds to be planted.
  As you see we have been delayed from normal with snow still covering the field.  Many fields have not had the normal deep tillage done last fall because of delayed harvest and a quick start to winter.  This leaves many of us with extra field days needed before planting and a possible late start also.  
   There is a new Farm Bill passed in congress and signed.  I am pleased that the Crop insurance program is left intact as it gives the farmer choices as to the coverage they need to cover weather risk and how much premiums they pay for this coverage.  There were changes in the commodity programs and we will have to decide what options we will chose for at least the next 5 years and maybe longer.  The details will not be completely available until after we are all planted this spring.
  Expectations are high that we can produce another huge crop of all grains.  While I am trying to show you the challenges to this spring; the American farmers are the best in the world to solve these and produce a crop.  We thank God for the climate we are provided and although we felt stressed by last years weather almost all farmers were surprised by the final yields.  We ask for Gods' blessings again this year.

                                              Serving together;  Dean Lundeen 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The hands of God

Merry Christmas everyone:
I cann't believe it has been so long since my last post. but I will update that later.

It is Christmas morning here and this is what Foods Resource Bank is all about. Christ came to us this day to bring his good word. My favorite is the Good Samaritan. It is still relevant today. When things happen in the world we cannot look the other way or blame God saying where was he, because he gave us Jesus to show us that we are the hands of God. It was so delightful to see that at our harvest celebration as all the churches had forgot their differences and remembered what we have in common. The word of Jesus and prayed together, broke bread together, and became the hands of God to help those in need. This time it was not the traveler in the path that was hurt and needed help but our brothers and sisters that need to be lifted up on food security.
Merry Christmas, Dean

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Can corn miss frost and drought damage?

Normally the corn is mature or close on this date. Late plantings and cool weather has much of the corn weeks behind normal. This corn is building starch levels and if interrupted by frost or drought the amount of harvest weight decreases even though the same amount of kernels get harvested. Here is a coulpe of charts showing what I have been concerned about in the western corn belt.

click, copy, paste on link for frost risk map.

click,copy, paste on link to see drought map

(Sorry that you need to link to other pages but the blog site isn't letting me copy them today.)

Looking at the two maps you notice that there is overlap in the frost risk and drought risk. That area was the most impacted by delayed plantings this spring also.

USDA september corn production estimate is now 13.84 billion bushels. Historicaly they are right 90% of the time but their method only computes what is known that day per sample. Because things may change after sampling I still think the final number will be some lower.

Serving together, Dean

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

East vs. West who wins this corn season?

September 11 2013 corn conditions

This year the Eastern corn belt had mostly got the corn planted in time, good growing conditions and look to produce above average yields.

The Western Corn Belt states were flooded in the spring and unable to plant 8 million acres. Then they were planting in less than ideal conditions. Now the last few weeks of hot weather without rains have hit them again. The Western 1/3 of Illinois through Minesota, Iowa, and Missouri are seeing fields die before maturity. Many of these fields were in corn that the kernels were not dented yet. The yield reduction is 40%; The stalks have depleted all of the moisture and sugars to maintain the ear. This is causing plants so weak that any wind will tip them over on the ground. The ears are not drying out normally and this sets the conditions for ear molds that reduce the quality and prices for the grain.

Tomorrow USDA is updating crop production forcasts. I think it should lower to 13.5 to 13.2 billion bu. considering the speed in which so many fields are declining. Most forcasts still have it higher. However I do not think they will get the best information on 2013 yields untill early in the year in 2014. Many of the worst areas had poor crops last year also, Please keep them in your prayers. Thank You for praying for my fields as they are in the "garden spot" by recieving timely rains.

Continue to watch the drought monitor at showing the problem that the drought is not behind us.
Serving together, Dean

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Good Soil

Good Soil - (Matthew 13-8)
This week I have seen a lot of acres in stress with low moisture and heat at mid day. I have been lucky to have gotten a few rains on my farm that many others have not. Also I am fortunate to have Good Soil. My soil has over 3% organic matter in the top profile that holds nutrients and moisture. The soil further down is mostly clay and has structure to allow for water to move down when too much rain comes. The combination runs 8 feet or more and the water is normally present at that level. With last years drought the water levels were lower until spring rains replenished them.

Yes I have been blessed with good soil. It is good because its dark color absorbs the sunlight in spring, gives nutrition to the plants all growing season, and the depth allows for misfortunes in weather by supporting growth during times that the plants would suffer. It is always there for the plants.

We can also be the Good Soil like Christ taught us. Through Foods Resource Bank we can Support others during their difficult times when they would suffer and always be there for them.

Serving Together, Dean Lundeen

Thursday, August 29, 2013

crop update

Drought  Revisited:

   This week many fields suffered from hot windy days.  There has not been widespread rains in over 60 days.  Some spots were lucky enough to get several showers but those that missed the rain and those without soils that hold moisture for longer periods of time just ran out of luck.  The soybeans are showing dehydration of the leaves.  Many of these are in the early stages of pod development.  The Corn has ears barely hanging on and pointing straight down.  Because the crops were planted weeks later than normal the development is behind.  You can watch the drought monitor for the next two weeks to see the progression in Iowa, western and northern Illinois.    Dean

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Making the impossible possible

     In about one month on October 19th, at the Stacy Dolder Farm just west of  Somonauk Il.  We will be celebrating together at out harvest celebration with the goal to raise money for and awareness of world hunger.  This problem is so big that it would seem inpossible for us in Illinois to have an impact in foriegn nations. But the impossible is possible.  By working together and with Foods Resource Bank we are supporting projects that have and will continue to turn the impoverished and hungry into thriving farms and villages.  Don't tell the Churches, farmers or the corn fields what is impossible.
If you look closely at his plant there are 5 ears of corn.  At harvest there are normally one ear on 98% of plants and the remaining 2% have no ears.  Let's have the faith of this corn plant and do the impossible.  Let's make the extra effort to help those in need to help themselves by teaching, supporting, and following up on solving problems that seem impossible to them but are possible with our help.  God has given us more than we can count and together we can indeed make the impossible possible.  Contact you church or FRB at to get involved.  Join us on the 19th of October to learn more and celebrate together.

                                                        Serving together,  Dean

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Corn half way there

picture shows silk turning brown as pollination is complete cool weather has been a help

Where the corn is good it is really good.  If it got planted in soils that were not too wet or flooded later the corn will be the best in several years.  The rest of the corn that had way too much water is looking bad and has lost its green color, half of the height it should be, or was planted so late that it will struggle with late insect pressure as the insects will be looking for younger plants that taste better.

Final production will be hard to predict because of this uneven corn crop but we know that production will be greater than demand.

Looking forward what will be the new normal?  High prices because of the last several years and especially last years drought has encouraged record corn planted acres.  Today the corn prices for fall corn is 33% lower than last year.  We have attracted acres from other crops, other states, and other countries.  As they evaluate their options using the new lower income projections will corn still be the favorite?  That is the question the markets are trying to solve.  If prices go too low acres will be reduced and production lowered.  Low prices will accelerate exports and commercial purchases.  Although farmers do not like to see that 33% price reduction the market is doing what it need to do and find that balance.  Also without a good market price discovery we would have no idea how much we would be able to spend on the future crops.
Will the new normal be as many corn acres, probably not but at what level I don't know.

                                                                          Serving together, Dean

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Morning Dew helping corn

Your corn in pictures:
       Not many rainy days this month but this week as the corn is pollinating the nights are cool and the dew gathers on the leaves as shown in this picture.  So God is misting my plants just like you would your houseplants.  What moisture does not absorb right into the leaf is funnelled down to the plant's roots.

Here you can see some pollen material on the leaves the dew also helps the silks stay healthy.  Also notice how the leaf makes it's natural funnel

80 percent of my corn is at this stage and I am glad for the 60-70 degree Fahrenheit weather.

                                                                                Serving together,  Dean