Saturday, September 7, 2013

Some Random Saturday Stuff

I should probably be more motivated to do things since harvest is around the corner, but it's too damn hot outside. We needed the heat to finish out the crops, but this 92 degree, high humidity junk is a little out of control. I am currently watching football with all of the blinds pulled and the air conditioner running full blast.

This morning I took the duals off of the 8320 since the silage choppers will be here sometime in the next 1-19 days. I had heard that they ran a steel post through the chopper, but that they were chopping yesterday, so who the heck really knows when they will get here. Probably Tuesday when I want to go to Husker Harvest Days.

I also put some pipe back together (pulled some apart since Dad's pivot was watering them, but it no longer swings that way as his corn is done getting watered.) and contemplated irrigating the beans again, but the soil is still saturated and there is a small chance of rain Tuesday night. I hate wasting water and paying to pump it, so I might try to stretch it out to see if it rains. This is doubtful. I also sprayed some more pipe as the weeds are outrageous this year. I think we are growing the wrong things. We need to learn how to feed the world and make ethanol with sunflowers, giant ragweed, pigweed and velvet leaf. This would require little to no work on my part, no expenses, and I would grow a bumper crop every year.

I stopped to talk to a neighbor this morning and the conversation turned to a grain bin on one of his farms. He said something about selling it, and I offered to buy it. I am also getting a quote to move a bin to my place and add some rings and a new floor to it. This would all be fantastic, as it would take the grain storage on my farm from 0 to about 28,000 bushels at a fraction of the cost. A new bin will cost about $2/bushel by the time you get the concrete poured, pay for the structure, get it put up and run electricity to it. I have a quote from another company for a used 10,000 bushel bin to be put up and made operational on my place for $5,700. A new bin that size would be close to $20,000. So. I am hopeful that all of these things work themselves out. Storage is nice at harvest as you don't have to wait in line to dump. It also expands marketing options, and in my case, would allow me to grow more high amylose corn (if I can get more acres) or attempt growing white corn, which I am interested in, or popcorn, if I ever get interested.

Here's a random picture from the center point of a pivot:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Here's Some Kern

I was wandering around in the corn field with a soil probe, sweating something fierce, and took some pictures. I am seeing all kinds of weird shit out there that I've never seen before - stink bugs, Southern Rust, Goss's Wilt and variable ear size due to weird pollination. Also seeing some aphids, which we had last year, and make a gooey mess when you walk through the field.

LG 2636VT3P (114 day):

Stine 9534VT3P(107 day):

Stine 9631VT3P (109 day):

I am currently rethinking my whole farming philosophy. Sure, these triple stacks raise some good corn, but I don't remember any of this stuff when it was plain corn when I was a kid (I refuse to get into the GMO/non-GMO argument at this point, as I figure it's a free country and anyone can plant any damn corn they want. Until we are legislated away from it.). I am concerned that I'm not giving my soils the respect they deserve, since it's so easy to keep throwing corn out there. My soybean yields are not where I'd like them to be, but I'm thinking more and more that it's my fault. So, long story short, I'm considering going back to a conventional corn/RR soybean rotation. Or Liberty Link beans if I can get someone to spray them.

My main considerations: money, and using insecticides that I'm not familiar with.

I can make more money raising COC (corn-on-corn), as my corn will yield 180-200 bushels/acre, but beans struggle to consistently make 60. Do the soybeans lag because our soils won't sustain them, or because I've pillaged the soil with corn for so long? I will be farming some of this long term (I hope), so I'm ready to not make as much money for a few years to get my soils right.

I also have never used insecticides with the planter before. Triple stacks will protect against rootworm. Conventional corn requires a treatment in furrow with the planter. I have never handled dry insecticide and have been told I don't want to. Capture LFR is a liquid insecticide that I can mix with my starter fertilizer in-furrow when I plant. We don't have much rootworm pressure here, so I've been told I'd be ok doing that.

Sorry for the ramble. I'm struggling with these decisions. There's a lot more that goes into it, but those are the basic thoughts.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It's Raining

I don't think it's going to last long, but while it does, I am enjoying drinking coffee in this dark house and listening to the new Reckless Kelly album, Long Night Moon. Do yourself a favor and at least download the title track. I'd give you a YouTube link, but there aren't any, so you'll just have to go to iTunes or Amazon and download it.

Not much to blog about the last few weeks, really. We have finished up irrigating corn (I think). I'll be spending some time in the fields the next couple of days checking ears and using the soil probe to check soil moisture, but we had about 5.5" of rain in August, plus watering last week, so we should be good. Some of the corn is black layering, which means it no longer takes water and is mature. Everything else is close. We'll be watering beans for awhile yet, but with the hot weather, they might start turning sooner than I expect.

I get in a rut this time of year, and it's been made worse by the hot weather we've had the last week. Lots of mid 90s and it looks like it's going to get that hot again here for the next few days. This is good for the crops, but bad for Ben. I have a lot of projects I want to do around the place, but pulling tin off of a building when it's 93 degrees doesn't sound like a lot of fun. Guess I will push those back until after harvest.

I have recently started reading a lot and playing guitar again. Those things usually take a back seat during the summer. I feel much less stressed when both of those activities take up a portion of my day. I've read a crappy thriller, a marketing book and Band of Brothers. I am currently reading a book about Wyatt Earp and what really happened at Tombstone, and so far, it's a lot different than the movie accounts. Wyatt Earp was kind of a dirt bag, but so was everyone else at the time, apparently.

Anyway, rambling, I know. Keep on rocking in the free world.