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

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Rain makes grain

   Rain makes grain has been the old saying in the marketplace.  We received another 1.3 inches yesterday and with the corn growing fast the rows of corn have completely shaded the ground.  Plants are 90 percent water so timely rains are important to build the new cells.  Crops are off to a good start and farmers are feeling good about the coming year.
   Just 2% of the united states population are farmers and I am reminded of our minority every time I need to set security questions on an Internet site.  I am confused why  What school did you graduate from? or What is your mothers maiden name?  are of help because in a small rural town everyone would know the answer.  So here are some questions a farm boy would chose:   What was your favorite tractor?  What was your first 4-H project? What is your favorite crop? What is your most disliked weed?  What was your highest yield?  What was your lowest yield?  Those are questions I could answer and remember.  As you see a good rain puts a farmer in a good mood.  The sun is coming up and another day to farm.
                                                      Serving together, Dean

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Spring rains help and hurt

Spring rains help and hurt depending on how much and when it fell.

     I have received an inch and 2 tenths of rain this week and it has the corn looking real good and growing fast.  My Grandchildren are measuring it for me.

Some of the areas had heavy rainfall May 12th and had to do some replanting of beans so this rain will get them germinated and growing and with  temperatures reaching 70's and 80's for several days they will yield close to the same as the original planting.

If you look close at this picture there is three soybean plants just below the 72 inch mark that will not survive.  They got the heavy rain just after being planted and the ground so hard that the seed was not able to push through the soil and snapped off under the ground.  Even though you see the bean stem the growing point is removed and replanting was necessary.

                                                           Serving together,  Dean 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Drought for some and cold for others

Map below shows drought in South West  States begining to extend into Iowa and Missouri corn belt
Current U.S. Drought Monitor
Maps below show cold temperatures limiting growth in Iowa Illinois and north    Colors show departure from normal

Growing Degree Days Departure Map 3Growing Degree Days Departure Map 4
This map shows the difference between the current seasonal accumulation of modified growing degree days and the 1981-2010 average growing degree days.  The start of season is defined as April 1.Same as Map 3, except the start of the season is defined as May 1.

Growing season is just getting started as you see from the maps some areas need rain to produce a crop this year and in Map #3 areas green blue and purple need warm weather  to get their crops growing.

On my farm I have missed some rains that went north or south of me but some chances of rain in a few days.  Corn is growing and some days in the 70,s degrees, corn is at six leaf stage today. An inch of rain would really have this grow faster.

                    Lets pray for the farmers to overcome the weather obstacles this year. 

                                                                                Serving together:  Dean

Sunday, May 25, 2014

doing the right thing

   This is the same field that corn progress was reported from emergence on May 11th  4th leaf on May25th

  Planting is coming to an end. There was a late start, several rain outs, and fields were slow to dry out enough for tillage but we are doing good and the end of May gets closer every day.  Projected yields get lowered with every day planting is delayed.
   My crops are planted and I can reflect on how spring work went and how to improve.  I also get to enjoy what went right.  Farmers are known for doing the right thing and here are four examples:

1.        This farmer spent time and money to control erosion on a slightly rolling field

grass seeded to control erosion

grass berm to divert water into tile system

2.     Just because you find an insect or larvae you do not have to use chemicals
 crop scouting identified pest at low level and not causing economic damage no action needed 


3.   Another farmer was finishing his operation and a neighbor needed help so he took some large equipment and helped prepare the seedbed for planting soybeans.

4.    22 farmers are donating their time and land toward our local growing project and the profits go to Food Resource Bank supported projects to end world hunger.

It is nice to be a farmer taking care of the land and people in need, it is just  DOING THE RIGHT THING.

                                                               Serving together:  Dean


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What a difference another day makes

We received an inch of rain in the last 12 hours.  Field work is on hold for now but it allows us time to scout our crop conditions.  We are looking for uniformity in plants, spacings between each plant,and pest control. Reports of some cutworm damage (exactly what it sounds like a larvae eats the plant at ground level) but none found in my fields.

Pictures of corn as of May 13th I am pleased with the crop and enjoy the progress it makes each day.

                                                Serving together, Dean

Sunday, May 11, 2014

what a difference a day makes

Corn on May 2nd corn shoot emerging from seed

Corn on May 7th shoot  growing toward top and root down

Corn on May 10th
soil is warming up root development begining to sustain plant growth 

Corn on May 11th leaves begin to open up and will also get energy from sunlight
as starch from seed diminishes
Thank You everyone involved with our growing project if you have pleged support this is the progress of your field.  I will keep you updated and with God's help care for your acre.

Serving together, Dean

Friday, May 9, 2014

wheat has problems but corn looking better each day

   Current Drought monitor map as of this week.

Current U.S. Drought Monitor

Corn Belt looks great.  Planters are playing catch up to the calendar and most corn will be planted on time.

Different story fort wheat crops.  Western states were dry when wheat was planted last fall seedlings were under stress before going into winter and now have dry conditions remaining.  The northern Illinois wheat was planted late and a harsh winter especially in February with snow melting and freezing to ice on the seedlings reduced the viable plants in some cases by 90%.  Farmers are turning the planned wheat crop into corn crops.

My corn continues to grow.

With warm days in the 70's and rain this morning these will really start growing fast.   

                                                                              Serving together Dean