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Friday, April 30, 2010

Wind Day 2

I went to Virden - Girard area today. It was the first day that I sampled where all the crops were up. Corn was 2 leaf to 5 leaf depending on planting date. 30 acres of soybeans had the cotyledon leaves out. I did not see any insects or disease. No field work underway up there. I did see someone doing some tillage at Plainview and someone spreading solid manure in the same area.

It was very windy, although it did get calm enough for about 5 minutes that the buffalo gnats made a quick attack.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I found cutworm damage just west of Jerseyville. Corn was very young. I did not count, because I do not "scout" but almost every time I stopped to pull a core I saw something cut. I think he needs to spray. The corn is too small to survive much damage. Unfortunately it was too windy to spray today.

Wind was very strong today. The only good thing about it was it kept the gnats away. I sampled some untilled corn stalks and the mold got to me. I hope it does not make me sick. It was ready to plant to beans, but not planted. Moisture was moist, but not extremely wet. Wet of Shipman is still dryer, but the wind did a lot of good today in regard to drying. I did not see any field work going on.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rockbridge - Kemper - Enos

First the wetness report. From Hillsboro to Shipman this morning I did not see anywhere dry enough to work. First stop was SW of Rockbridge. Ground was grayed off and It sampled nicely. Probably could do fieldwork there this afternoon. Slightly North of Kemper was wetter. Still grayed off, but moisture soaked through bags in the toolbox. East of Rockbridge in the bottoms, it was grayed off but wet below the surface. At Enos, I sample 40 acres. It was really too wet, but it was the only thing I had to do in the area, so I did it.

This obstruction was redirecting the flow of Macoupin Creek. It needs to be removed, because it is causing some serious streambank erosion. In general I say don't mess around with streams. Channelization, and removing trees from the bank is usually a bad idea. Removing obstructions is OK.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I went to Columbia to conduct some business today. It looked very wet along the I-55 corridor. We are going to try and work around Medora tomorrow. Corn seems to be emerging slowly because of wet and cool.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Planting Progress

Illinois weather and crop report says that 73% of corn crop is planted. The eastern side of the state is a little ahead of the western side. Dale Durcholz of Agrivisor speculates that half of the corn nationwide could be planted by May 1. We know of a number of people who are done. I am betting that the guys hauling Nitrogen at all hours of day and night are happy to have a break. More drizzle on the way tomorrow.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Monroe County

I went south yesterday. It did not look too bad at the time but that was before our overnight rain. We had 1.2 inches here. Some places had much more. Whoever might have thought they would like their clods softened up got their wishes. I hope the clods are not too soft. The rain erased any mistakes that might have been made by tilling too wet. I am suspecting we will not work tomorrow either. There is still rain in the forecast.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I have not left town today. It rained off and on, and we had about a half inch. More than enough to soak up any clods and germinate any corn you might think is planted in dry soil. Soil moisture is good to excessive below 3 inches so we do not need any more. More rain is in the forecast for tomorrow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


We worked in Medora area all day. Corn was planted on all fields we sampled, in fact I did not see any planters in view of where we were working. IN driving from Medora home, I saw plenty of planters. Also, there is still a lot of Nitrogen on the road.

Buffalo Gnats were just as bad or worse today. Needed to reapply vanilla often. When we stopped, they were so thick you would breathe them in.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Buffalo Gnats

Today I worked in the Meridosia - Chambersburg area in the Illinois River bottoms. I sampled planted corn, planted soybeans, and untilled corn stalks. It is a long drive so I got a good feel for corn planted. I would say we are nearing 70% done. We have a number of customers who are finished. That gives us about 4 weeks to finish sampling corn.

The Buffalo Gnats were a minor problem in Scott County on Monday. Today they were intolerable. Two years ago we learned that DEET repellent seems to attract them, but vanilla seems to repel them. Even imitation vanilla works. They just don't seem to like the stench of it and it smells pretty good to me. It seemed to take more than usual to do the job today. I even wiped the vanilla all over the 4 wheeler, but I did get some relief. More information is here. One of my hog farmer customers says they dont like the small of hog manure either, but I prefer covering myself with vanilla instead of hog manure.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Planting still going on at a fast pace. Nitrogen still being applied at an even faster pace. One farm I was on appeared to be done with corn. The other was about 2/3 done. Over all I would say the halfway mark is the norm in this area. Ground is working well but is wet in places. Bill Brink was on the radio today and confirmed my advice from yesterday. He said if you can't get Nitrogen, then plant and sidedress. He said if you can't get spraying done then plant anyway. He is confident that he can figure out a weed program for any situation. Bill is a retired Extension agronomist working for our local FS. He is conservative guy, so if he is confident, I am too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Illinois River Bottoms

I worked in the Illinois River Bottoms of Scott County just north of Hillview. Between here and there I would estimated 50 to 60% of corn is planted. Planting is a little further along in the bottom than on the upland. We do know of some that are done or will finish tomorrow. Others are still putting on Nitrogen. If you have a guidance system, I would not worry about planting the corn first and coming back later with the Nitrogen.

Weather and crop report says 34% of the crop is planted. In our area it is a little more than that.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day Off

I have no travel log today. I stayed within a mile of home all day. I am still looking forward to the crop report tomorrow, and I am expecting it to show 30% of the corn is planted in Illinois. Last week I thought it might be as high as 80%.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Does this field look rough? It was not fun riding across it, but leaving it rough can help prevent puddling and crusting and help prevent erosion. The Trash whippers moved the clods away and the corn is planted in a nice seedbed. The only thing that might be a problem is if we get a really heavy rain. Right now the forecast is in this guy's favor and he probably saved himself a trip leaving good residue cover as well.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I worked in West Alton today. I got caught up on corn ground. There is not as much done as I expected. We had less than a quarter inch of rain over the whole area. This might appease those who think they need rain. Some of the Black ground I worked on today could use a shower to soften clods.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lettuce Bed

I went to Chesterfield, IL today. There is lots of field work being done. Not as much planting as I would have guessed, although all the corn was planted on the farm I worked on.

I have to do a rant today because I have seen too much ground worked down like a lettuce bed. It is easy to do with modern soil finishers. It is also very unnecessary and in my opinion a detriment. Many over our soils have less than 20% clay in the surface. When those soils are worked down, the next rain will have them all puddled over. When your seedbed is getting too fine, lift up the rolling baskets. The only reason to make it look like that is if you are still using a runner planter. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I went south today. South of Columbia, IL was kind of dry although wet areas are still wet. Lots of planting. Some of the ares have not looked so good since 2007. There is not really as much planted as i would have expected, but I guess that is a reflection of how behind on field work everyone is. I samples some that was planted and some that had nothing done. Below is my soil thermometer. Soil temperature should be taken at 10AM at a depth of 4 inches.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Two in a Row

I was in West Alton again today. It is much dryer down there than it ever was last year. I am not afraid of getting stuck if I am careful about where i pull into the field., Field work continues at a frantic pace.

Extension service caught some cutworm moths. Not enough to put out an alert, but I would say if you have corn up, watch out.

You can see from the picture that it is not dry everywhere in West Alton.

I use a Samsung Digimax A 402. It is a 4 MP camera I bought with Money from working on Katrina in 2006. Not a fancy camera, but OK for documentation. It would be a much better camera if it had an optical zoom, but if it did, i might not be using it. I like that it has no moving parts to get dirt into. Also it fits in my pocket albeit with a big lump.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Corn emerging

I worked on 3 fields in West Alton area that had corn emerging. Soil temperature at 10Am was 56 degrees. In theory it is just warm enough to plant corn but obviously our modern hybrids can emerge at a much lower temperature. The corn I saw has been in the ground probably 10 days. Field work was still very busy, but in West Alton anyway it looked like most of the fertilizer is done. The work seemed to be concentrated on tillage and planting. Some of the tillage was recreational. fields that had been tilled and rained on were being tilled again for no good reason. I also met a guy from Windsor, IL who was surveying for tile lines.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Who says

Who says farmers don't care about the environment? I noticed this bluebird house att he edge of the field I was working on yesterday.

As of this evening we are still looking good for planting weather through Friday.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Worked southwestern Macoupin and eastern Jersey County. Over 200 acres I worked on today was planted. Every kind of spring field work you can think of was being done today. Everywhere you looked you could see machinery moving on the horizon or closer. I saw Nitrogen being applied. Soil finishing and disking going on. Planting. Spraying. Dry fertilizer being applied. Weather was lovely and promises to continue thru next Friday. The April 19 crop report will be very interesting.

Soil temperature was 46 degrees on bare ground. 44 in corn stalks. That is supposedly too cold to plant, but it should not be a problem because warmer weather is around the corner. Randy saw some corn emerged in Calhoun county yesterday. It was planted in sandy soils.

Friday, April 9, 2010

North Mac

North Mac is the school district that combines Virden and Girard in Northern Macoupin County. Field work seemed to be just getting underway. The guy running this tractor was planning to start planting today also. Conditions seemed perfect to me. You can see the dust flying but the soil is still on the damp side of moist. He may have be the only one in that area, but I did see a planter working east of Shipman as well. I saw lots of anhydrous on the move. Fields are drying out nicely and we are looking forward to a week of dry weather.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Ground is drying nicely considering rain yesterday. It is tiled ground so that helps some. It was ready to plant for the most part. There was not much field work going on, but some spraying and nitrogen application.


I got some work done yesterday before it rained. There was not much field work going on except some spraying and Anhydrous wagons were on the road.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

West Alton

We tried to work in the West Alton area. There was not much corn planted and it was very wet. Got over one of the dryer fields and did a field that had not been tilled. The sticky black soil in the area was very sticky and I did not have any lubricant. We use water or WD-40. The lab did some testing and the WD 40 has minimal effect. I kind of like water, but it is messy.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monroe - St. Clair

Weather was warm in Monroe and St. Clair county today. There was a small shower near JB Bridge. We had a very bad storm in Hillsboro. 1.5 inches very fast.

I saw a disk at work in this field today. It was making big clods. I am in favor of not delaying, but not sure what to do here. It may have been the wrong tool for the job on the heavy clay soils. It also might have worked better if the disking was very shallow. I think a field cultivator would have been my first choice.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Redbuds are starting to pop. I hope everyone has a blessed Easter. More rain on the way. I hope not too much. Garden is starting to grow.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


We had about an inch of rain overnight. We did not really need that, but...
Omens sound like superstition, but it might be a good omen that we are not supposed to get rain on Easter. Rain later in the week will keep field work slow however.

I just have to post my ATV, a 2003 Honda Rancher. This is as clean as it gets unless I take it for Service. It has over 7500 miles and runs great.

Friday, April 2, 2010

St Louis

We went to St Louis today. The traffic around the Botanical Garden and Forest Park was horrible. It was such a nice day. We had a wonderful lunch at Rigazzi's on the Hill. Leaving the Hill was almost impossible on Hampton Ave. We had to go through Forest Park and take a roundabout way to get on I-64 westbound.

All the traffic shows how much city people crave getting in touch with "nature" such as it is. I think I could do a whole day on the need to provide "natural" areas for people to recreate.

We ended up at the Butterfly House which was really cool. They have over 400 species of butterflies, although we saw maybe 20, it was still very interesting.

In the agricultural world, we saw some nitrogen application going on. There was corn planted along I-55 at Edwardsville. It was unplanted this morning and planted this evening. This is always one of the first fields in the area planted.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More water managment

You can see the tile are still running, but not at full capacity. What is full capacity? About half full.

I did deep borings around Panama today. IT was a very wet area and the surface was very soft. Also, there were a couple of wetting fronts visible in the soil. All three borings had water at about 4 feet.

I also saw a helicopter land in the neighbor's back yard. Not sure what that was about.