Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Quick Food Thought/ Matthew Chapter 6

My Sunday school class will tell you my favorite passage in the Bible is Matthew 6:25-34. I can't help but continue to go back to it time and again as I read and hear of people arguing over the way food is produced. I know fellow Christians that regularly argue about it, and the only thing I can really think to do is point them to the words that Christ said:

Matt. 6:25 - "Look at the birds of the air: they neither reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"

And the real kicker, for me anyway:

Matt. 6:31-33 - "Therefore, do not be anxious, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

I think about these words a lot - "The Gentiles seek after all these things."

Are we Gentiles, or are we the saved brothers and sisters of Christ? I keep thinking more and more that this food fight (har har) is another way that satan is attacking us without us even realizing it. God provides all kinds of food for us Americans, but there are so many that say "No thanks, that's not good enough for me!"

You know, I've heard stories of what the old timers ate for breakfast - bacon, steak, sausage, eggs, pancakes, toast, coffee, and most of it covered in grease or cooked in lard. You know why they lived until they were 90? They worked. Hard. I don't know so much that it's the food we put into our body, it's what we do with it.

That's what I'm thinking, anyway. What do I know, though?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Yield Check/Silage Pics

We chopped silage yesterday. I was able to take a few pictures, but they aren't the greatest. We only chopped about 10 acres, but it was really good silage. The piece of ground the corn was on is pretty rough, but it was the best corn I've ever seen out there. Apparently, it likes hot, dry weather. I would've liked to run the combine through it, because I planted it at 38,000 plants/acre. There were some really good ears out there. I'm guessing it would've made 160-170bu/acre, which would've been awesome for that ground. Grandpa and I were pretty satisfied. When you chop silage, you take the whole plant, and it is chopped up and spit out and taken to a pile, where it is packed down. When you pick with a combine, you only take the ear.

I've also started pulling pipe apart as we are just about done irrigating corn. I've been doing a few yield checks while pulling pipe apart. How you do it on 36" rows is mark off a section of the field that is 14'6" long and count all of the harvest-able ears in that section, as it constitutes 1/1000th of an acre. Then, you pick every 5th ear and count the kernels on them and do some voodoo math. I did three fields, and two were better than expected. One was not so good, but it's on sand, so I kind of expected it. Here are the ears from the best field I checked:

You can count kernels by counting the row length, and then how many around the ears are. As an example, if an ear is 18 kernels around and 38 long - 18*38 = 684.

Here's how the math works -

Average kernels (of the ears pictured above) - 595
Harvest population (number of ears counted in the 14'6" area (28) * 1,000) - 28,000

595*28,000 = 16,660,000 (This would be the amount of kernels per acre)

16,660,000/90,000 (amount of kernels it takes to make a bushel) =  185bu/acre

Usually a bushel consists of 80,000 kernels, but I like to fudge a little to be surprised in the combine. So, if I divide by 85,000, I get 196bu/acre. If I divide by 80,000, I'd have 208bu/acre. How awesome would that be? Keep in mind, this is only one spot in the middle of the field. I only do this to get an idea of how well a certain hybrid works in a certain field. Obviously, this hybrid was placed in the right field. This will help in making my planting decisions next year, as different hybrids respond differently to each field and environment.

Friday, August 24, 2012

8/24... I Think

I don't remember the date and I'm too lazy to look it up, which should tell you how lazy I am, considering I could move my cursor and find out in about two seconds.


Not a whole lot going on lately. I finally took my CDL drive test the other day and passed. If I would've remembered how to back up I would've gotten a perfect score, but as it stands, I lost three points on my test. I think you can lose eight and still pass. I had a lady walk in front of me while I was coming into town on the highway, so that could've been interesting. 25,000 pound semi, 150ish pound woman... Who would've won? I cursed the woman aloud, and the lady that was giving my test started laughing. I assumed that was a good sign. But anyway, I'm glad that's over with. I haven't been that nervous since I gave presentations in college.

Which was 3 years ago. Seems like it wasn't that long ago that we were playing beer pong and civil war in the house on 1st Street, Seward, Nebraska. A good friend from college was here last week, Mr. Kevin Richter, who is studying to be a pastor now. Good kid, that one. It's pretty wild to see where we are now compared to where we were then. I remember doing Greek flash cards with him and laughing at Helen Keller jokes in the basement of the library (I know, juvenile.) when we should've been studying for a test. One weekend we grilled every meal from supper Friday to supper Sunday. A professor lived behind our house, and I remember Kevin and I going out to light the grill on Saturday morning around 10 with a beer in hand. We kept it classy.

I'm irrigating corn for the last time. We'll be picking up pipe soon, possibly tomorrow depending on how motivated I get. And if Dad doesn't have other projects in store. We could be picking corn in a couple of weeks. Dad's got a 97 day variety that is turning pretty rapidly. I'll be interested to see what moisture it's testing by the end of next week.

The beans will probably take water for 2-3 more weeks. Usually, we cut beans before picking corn, but I think this year will be the opposite. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Should I?

Shay thinks I should apply for this... thing. Apparently, if I won, I'd be a spokesman for production agriculture. I'd have to write an essay type thing and make a video to apply. I don't know what to think. It'd be cool, but I don't think I'd want to be away for 30 days out of the year, but I feel like I'd be really good at this (until I got fed up and became extremely blunt).

Shay says I bitch a lot about the misconceptions that consumers have concerning agriculture and this is a good way to put the rubber to the road. What do you all think?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lucero. Just... Awesome

I love this band. I discovered them about 4 years ago when I was living in a house with a bunch of dudes. I'd hang out in my bedroom in the basement and watch every video of them on YouTube I could find. I don't know why they mean so much to me, but they do. Their last couple of albums have added some stuff - a horn section and a different sound, but I still love them. I think That Much Further West is my favorite album of theirs, but I like them all. Shay is really the only person in my life that shares my affinity for them, but that's ok.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Weather/Pickup/Bean Pictures

The weather this year has been so... weird. It was hot all spring, hot all summer. Now, it's beautiful. After all of those 95+ degree days, 82 with a breeze feels so darn good. We haven't ran our air conditioning three of the last four days. Thank you, Lord, for this break. We all needed it, and He knew it.

I shredded a bunch of weeds today. That's the majority of what I do this time of year. I did finally get my pickup into town to get worked on. I haven't had brakes for two months and my exhaust is held up by baling wire. I tried washing all of the mud off of it before I took it into town, but that didn't work out so well. It's amazing the abuse pickups can take and not die. I would've given up a long time ago.

I debated whether or not to add these pictures, because they are kind of unbelievable. Last night, Andy and Kristin came over for supper, and Andy and I went on a crop tour. I grabbed a random bean plant, but really, it must've been a tree. The stalk was as big around as my thumb. We looked at it and left. This morning, I got curious, so I went back and looked at it. It had 244 pods on it. A normal bean plant will have 30-60. I have never seen a mutant like this. The only way I can explain it is that God has grown these beans, because there is no way I am smart enough or talented enough to do it. Every time I walk that field, I find something else that boggles my mind. It's always a reminder that God will provide for and bless His children. It will be interesting to see how they do this fall. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Can't We Just Get Along?

 (This is semi-tongue-in-cheek)

I've noticed a trend on Facebook, in article comments, Twitter, etc. the last year or so that really bothers me. Maybe it's been going on for a long time and I was oblivious to it; maybe it's because the end of the world is at hand...

Whether it be Republicans and Democrats, Christians and atheists, homosexuals and homophobes, there seems to be an overriding need to be right. This happens constantly on Facebook - someone blasts out a status about how they feel about something, and anyone that disagrees is automatically an idiot, and you get some long winded explanation about why the original poster is right, and then an equally long winded explanation stating the reasons that the original poster is wrong, and you get counterpoints and counter-counterpoints (Kudos to you if you get that. You are my kind of people. If you don't get it, you're an idiot. I don't care what you say. No, you're still an idiot. Just Google it and you'll see how right I am.).

I find that this happens mostly in my age group (I'm 26), and I always feel the same way - embarrassed. You know what my parents were doing when they were 26? Working their asses off and raising two kids, with three more on the way by 30. I don't think they had much time to speak to each other, much less waste time on Facebook or Twitter (Or Blogger. Well played, sir.). The last time I checked, I am much dumber than I was when I was 22, when I was much dumber than I was at 18. I think by the time I'm 30, I might be dragging my knuckles while breathing through my mouth. Do you get my point?

I'm not saying that people are stupid, far from it. I know tons of smart people my age. I guess I don't know many humble people my age. Man, this spring, I thought I was going to have a great year. I had my fields looking great, no weeds, irrigated early, and then you know what happened? No rain for two months. Sunflowers popped up out of nowhere. I had rows wash out so that irrigation water didn't run where it was supposed to and ran everywhere it wasn't. Earworm, bad pollination, Goss's Wilt, spidermites. You know how it feels to get knocked down a peg? Because after all of that, I do.

See, it's ok to be wrong. Sometimes you learn more by being wrong than by being right. If you don't understand that, give it time. You will. I cannot imagine how dumb my 30 year old self will think my 26 year old self is. Once you can admit you're wrong, it feels kind of good. There's not as much pressure to be right. And maybe I'm wrong here, but I think people respect someone who can step back and admit that they were being an idiot. You know the kind of person that I don't like? One that argues that they are right even when they know they are wrong, who will never admit to not knowing that answer, or who has never gambled and lost. Pretty much the guy that I am 98% of the time. It doesn't feel good to be humbled, but when I am, I always try to figure out what I'm supposed to learn. What does God see in me that He doesn't want to? The more I look, the less I know, and the more I lean on Him.

For those of us that follow Christ, we need to remember that one day, this won't matter. All that matters is the faith that we were saved by grace, through faith, when Christ died on the cross. It won't matter who won the 2012 election, it won't matter that corn is $8/bu and it sure as heck won't matter if you were as dumb as me. Our reward is not of this earth! If trying to prove your genius to the minions on Facebook or Twitter is your reward, I'd say you have a pretty meaningless life. My reward is in Heaven. Where is yours?

Unexpected Friday Night

Well, Shay and I were irrigating and semi-arguing when we heard a dog yelp and felt a bump. Instead of going to Andy and Kristin's for supper, we headed to the vet. Luckily, the vet doesn't think anything is broken and Charlie should be fine in a few days. The ground was wet where he got ran over, so I think it cushioned him some. After the vet we ate a quick supper in town and came home to irrigate. It was kind of a weird evening.

The weather seems to have turned, but I'm not going to be fooled. I'm sure it will give us another blast of heat. It was beautiful out today. It feels like fall is just around the corner, and maybe it is. It could be an early one since the weather has been about a month ahead of schedule this year.

I wandered around in our corn test plot today and really liked the looks of a few of the hybrids there. The ones that I really want to make sure and plant next year are Stine 9728EVT3P and Channel 209-69VT3P. They look like really healthy plants, have good Goss's Wilt tolerance, are good in corn-on-corn situations, and respond well to irrigation. Sounds like they are right up my alley!

Here is a picture of the Stine 9728:

And a picture of the Channel 209-69:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Earworm In Corn

I had to walk into a pivot today to check the water flow meter. This pivot has some of my best looking corn, so as I walked, I pulled ears. What I found changed my mood in a hurry: Earworm, and lots of it. Here are a couple of university pages that detail earworm:

For those that don't feel like using the links, here is a short and sweet explanation from UNL's website: "Eggs individually laid on silks and newly hatched larvae tunnel into ears where they feed on developing kernels. Feeding usually starts at the ear tip and works downward. Usually only one mature larva develops per ear"

I pulled some ears in other parts of the field and found the same thing. Of the 30 or so ears I pulled, I only found 3 or 4 that didn't have earworm. I am not sure how my crop scout didn't see this, but I should've been watching closer. This corn was planted May 8th. According to a lot of stuff I've read, this makes corn more susceptible to earworm. At this point, it is too late to do anything, so all I can really do is wait and see how bad it is this fall. Hopefully it's not as bad as I think One of the disgusting buggers is on the second ear from the bottom.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I'm Beat

I've had a cold for over a week now (I'm going to the doctor tomorrow - yeah, it's bad). That coupled with the heat is really getting to me. I slept until 7:15 this morning, which rarely happens. I had to convince myself to get up and shower a little bit ago, or else you might've smelled this blog coming. I helped Dad clean out a grain bin this morning, walked fields with my Stine DSM (actually, regional manager now), and then helped Dad with a pivot that had a bunch of sand in the overhang. Except, I'm not sure how much help I was today. I'm sore and tired all over.

I'm also mentally tired. Walking fields made me want to barf a few times. I have two Channel numbers that look like holy hell - 216-61R and 207-02R. The 216 pollinated in the worst part of the heat, apparently. You would think it's dryland corn by the looks of the ears. The 207 is on some sandier ground and has Goss's Wilt pretty bad. I hope we get 150bu/acre on it, but I doubt it. I also have some Stine that has Goss's wilt (9731), but I only planted 2 bags, so I suppose that's good news. I'm giving up on my fight against sunflowers and weeds in general. Hopefully, the field I have lined up to get sprayed will get done sometime in the next couple of days. It looks gross. Oh yeah, all of my dryland corn is dead and most of the dryland beans will be dead by the beginning of next week.

I don't think harvest will be much fun. The only ray of hope I really have is that the irrigated beans look pretty good. I'm hoping they yield well and make up for the loss on the corn, because I really don't see the irrigated corn yield being there with the combination of heat, bad pollination in places, and Goss's Wilt.

I've been surprised before, though.

Sorry if this is a downer. I'm just tired of this year. I think most guys around here feel the same way, and maybe most farmers in the country. It's really hard for me to see all the work and money I've put into a crop, knowing that if it would've only been 90 degrees when the corn pollinated instead of 102 and we would've caught a couple of timely rains, I might be looking at a lot of 180-200bu/acre corn. But, if this is the life I'm going to live, I better learn to deal with it. Weather is fickle, and so are people, but if I remember that God is going to provide and bless, life seems a lot better.

As Ray Wylie Hubbard says - "The days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, I have really good days."

Monday, August 6, 2012


I have toyed with the idea of getting a Jeep for a few years. I could never really convince myself to get one, though. The other night, Shay and I were in a semi-serious discussion about getting one for next summer. The next day, my sister texted me and asked if I was interested in buying a Jeep, as her boss had one for sale. Divine intervention? I don't know that God wanted me to have a Jeep, but it was pretty easy how it all worked out, so maybe He did. Who knows how God works? Not me. Anyway, Dad, Sam and I went to look at it Saturday, and other than running out of gas on the way home with it, it's been pretty awesome. I've asked Shay 700 times why I hadn't bought one before. We already call dibs on driving it for irrigating. It's a lot of fun.

Not much else exciting is going on. I have a bunch of sunflowers in a couple of fields and they are driving me nuts, so I've been chopping some about every morning. I don't know how they got there, because I didn't see them when I was hilling. Looks bad, so I'm taking the corn knife to them. I'll never get done, but it makes me feel better about it. For all you farmers that read this, can you tell me why that kind of stuff always happens next to the highway? Sheesh.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Man, I'm tired. Been fighting a cold most of the week. I went into town tonight to see Smokey and the Bandit at the Grand, so that was cool. It's a cool old theater in Grand Island that shows movies for $3.50 a ticket. Shay's parents are here, so she was in town with them and I was going to stay home and sleep off this cold, but decided I wouldn't get another chance to see my favorite movie on the big screen.

I bought a Jeep today. Shay and I were talking the other night about getting one for irrigating and running around in, and the next day my sister texted me asking if I wanted to buy a Jeep from her boss. It was meant to be, apparently. I'll get some pictures of it tomorrow. I've wanted a Jeep for a long time, but could never convince myself to buy one. This one was a good price, and I'm going to sell a pickup, so it'll be a wash, hopefully. I should've bought one sooner. I took it irrigating tonight, and it's perfect for that.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

But it's not (this time). It's a blog thing - I've had a lot of friends do it on their blogs and I think it's cool. From now on, I'm going to do this on Wednesdays.