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Monday, September 25, 2017

One Man's Junk

The Massey Ferguson 540 below has been parked along Route 16 between Litchfield and Hillsboro for several weeks. It is for sale.  It reminds me of  a story that took place in 1986-87.

One day I stopped to see a farmer named Herbie who was combining corn with a John Deere 45 with a rounded back end.  That means it was ancient even then.  When I pulled up, Herbie jumped off the combine and started to complain about it.  He farmed less than 200 acres, but it was worn out even for that acreage.  A combine can be an expensive purchase for a small farmer.

A few days later, I stopped to see a guy named Lance.  Lance was sitting in an older Massey Ferguson complaining that the transmission had gone out and he wished he could find a newer more reliable combine.  Lance also farmed around 200 acres or maybe a bit more.

Fast forward a year.  I stopped in to see Lance and he was showing me a Massey Ferguson 540 like the one pictured below.  It had low hours considering its age.  Lance had bought it on auction.  Lance was very pleased with it and it was working well.

A few days later, I stopped to see Herbie.  He had bought Lance's old combine and could not have been happier with it.  It was in much better shape than his John Deere and doing just what he needed it to do.  The story proves the axiom that "One Man's junk is another man's treasure."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Looking for Better Weed Control?

Weed Control has become the biggest field management issue of the decade.  Everyone seems to have troublesome weeds.  Finding the right herbicide, timing the application right, and getting good kills are important.

The best weed control I am seeing in soybeans right now is with cover crops and No-Till.  Cereal rye is the easiest cover crop to manage in soybean production.  You can plant it late after corn and let it grow or kill it early.  Some producers say it is easiest to plant  soybeans in green cereal rye and kill it just before or just after planting.

Narrowing your soybean rows to 15 inches or less can also help with weed control.  The past few years, we are seeing waterhemp growing in the middles of 30 inch row beans.  An early canopy is important for good weed control.

Notice I have not talked herbicide management yet.  If you are not using cover crops, start in the fall.  Fall herbicides can give you a jump on sporing weeds.  Soil applied herbicides in spring are important.  In spite of a lot of bad publicity, early dicamba can give good control of marestail.  Be cautious with later season dicamba operations.  Post planting applications should be done when weeds and crops are both small.  Don't rely on post applications for your whole program.

Prairie Farmer says to"Turn 2017 Observations into Better Weed Control."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Safe time to Spray Dicamba

After a number of inspections of dicamba affected fields, I can offer no good insights as to how to spray dicamba safely.  Prairie Farmer recently published and article on How to Hit Dicamba's Narrow Application Window.  Volitilization and re-volitilizatoin seem to be factors in many of the cases we have looked at.  Temperature inversions must be to blame.  It is easy enough to cover wind speed and buffers, but how do you avoid inversions that are not readily apparent at application time.  The Pocket Spray Smart App may be helpful according to the article above.  The app attempts to predict inversion conditions 72 hours out.  The label for new dicamba formulations are only approved for only one more year, so if you think we need this tool in the weed control box, we need to do a lot better next year.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Soil Fertility and "New" Removal Rates

New soil fertility removal rates are getting a good deal of press as we move into the harvest season.  I would ask if this is big news?  The basis for a good soil fertility program is soil testing.  In looking at the removal rate data, I noticed a big spread in crop removal rates .  This leads me to question the value of knowing what the crop might have removed if we don't really know the removal rate for the particular variety that was grown in a field.  Soil testing as an afterthought will not give you the data you need to make sound fertilizer decisions.  We still need to monitor fertility levels regularly to decide how much fertilizer you need to avoid crop stress in the next growing season.  My philosophy is to keep your fertility at ideal levels .  We have a lot that we can't control in farming.  Soil fertility is one thing we can control.  We want to take the fertility factor out of the picture.  We need to make sure we have enough fertility to grow top yielding crops, but we also need to think about environmental stewardship so that we minimize phosphorous and nitrogen loading in surface waters.  New removal rates do not take into consideration where your fertility levels are.  Only soil testing can tell you that information.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Farm Progress Show Highlight.

There is always one product at the Farm Progress Show that seems to catch the eye of a lot of People.  This year it was the Tribine.  The corn head was folding, and instead of a grain tank, it fills its own Auger Wagon.  I worry about compaction, but it might be  an effective way to load trucks without unloading on the go. I could tell this machine was interesting to a lot of people because they were stopping to look at 3:30 in the afternoon to take a look.  Most people are just strolling to see what they missed at that time of day.  They don't stop very often.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Harvest 17 Started

Corn Harvest is started in our area, although it is moving slow.  We have had some reports of decent yields and others with nothing to brag about.  The local yield surveys are trending 20 bushels per acre lower than last year and Pro Farmer tour is mostly 10 bushels per acre lower.  Will prices move up  a little?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Crop Progress in Brazil

By Eduardo Paim:

Here in Brazil most of the maize of the second crop has already been harvested, and the products in general have been records! We have already received some rains in Mato Grosso, for this time of year it is not normal to rain. In my small area we had 100 mm of accumulated rainfall in the last two weeks, this is not generalized, some regions did not receive any rainfall.

We are preparing to start planting soybeans in 30 days, in the North of Mato Grosso always start first. The rains damaged the quality of too much corn that was harvested and stored below the clear sky.