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Friday, August 29, 2014

Illinois River Holiday

Illinois River Cabin

Illinois River Cabin

Floating Cabin
Kampsville Ferry
Kampsville Campground from the Ferry
Enjoy the Holiday.  No new blog until Monday evening.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Career Opportunities in Precision Agriculture

One of the complaints about precision agriculture is that customer support can be a bit difficult to get.  It seems that many equipment dealers do not know how their products work with other products. Bright people looking for opportunity could find it  in precision agriculture.  Using precision products to minimize inputs becomes even more important as crop prices drop.  Ag Leader and other manufacturers are making attempts to provide better education in precision agriculture.  Check out Pages 8-11 in Ag Leader Insights

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Will Disease Affect Soybean Yield?

We are hearing reports of soybean disease in some areas.  Today's U of I Pest Bulletin calls attention to sudden death syndrome (SDS) and white mold.  We also have seen SDS in Fayette County.  In addition we have heard reports of SDS all over the state.  Oddly enough this week's weather and crop report still shows 78% of the soybean crop in the good to excellent range.  Is somebody missing something  here?  The heat this week is catching us up on growing degree days, but if the crop is disesed, that might not help. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Passing of the seasons

Today's view from the first overpass north of Litchfield.  Soybeans are getting weedy and corn is still green.  The hot weather the past few days should help us to catch up on growing degree days and speed up maturity of corn.  I don't look for too much early harvested corn because of low prices.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wearable Technology for the Farm.

Reading my July issue of No-Till Farmer, an article on Google Glass caught my eye.  The product fits on eyeglass frames and connects to your smart phone.  It sells for about $1500.  It allows the use of voice commands to perform it's functions.  Google Glass is being looked at by various agricultural leaders for its potential in field use.  The hands free feature makes it an attractive alternative to smart phones or tablets alone. Picture and video recording would allow the user to transmit crop problems to experts, or possibly even expert web sites to diagnose problems.  The ability to look at training videos and mechanical instructions hands free in the field seem like they could be valuable features.

I would like to be able to wear my GPS maps in the field instead of having them mounted on my four wheeler.  Google Glass is a product that certainly strikes the imagination.

A down side might be price.  Another downside might be battery life.  Google says the battery will last a day under "normal" use.  Other reviewers put that battery life at an hour.  An hour will not let me pull many soil samples.

I am curious how this technology might be combined with unmanned aerial systems.  It would seem that the miniature circuitry could possibly be utilized to analyze and view aerial photography in real time. 

Google glass technology may also be a way to consolidate and miniaturize all those monitors hanging around in your machinery. 

Most of this is just a look into the future, but we all know how fast technology can be implemented when there is a demand. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Do You Think You Ran Out of Nitrogen

Nitrogen is the most difficult nutrient to mange because of it's volatility.  Weather ill throw you off  We can tell you how much nitrogen you have during the growing season.  We can  tell you how much nitrogen your soil has the potential to supply. We can't tell you how much rain you will get. So in theend, how do you know how you did with nitrogen management.

You can use the late season stalk nitrate test.  15 to 20 stalks are collected and tested make your first cut at 6 inches. then cut off the bottom eight inches of what is left to test. Purdue University has the details. a pre-side-dress nitrate test can be used in conjunction to see if the soil ran out of nitrogen or if there was some other issue.  The idea is that if we know we made a bad decision, we hope to do better next time.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Corn Harvest 2014 Started

I visited Monroe County today and found that corn harvest is just getting started.  Rumor is that sandy soils are yielding 170 bushels per acre and are at 27% moisture.  A yield check below looked like 175 bushels per acre.