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Monday, May 31, 2010


Some fields were still wet from last week's downpours. We still sampled several unplanted fields today. Some of the corn was uneven because of wetness. No bugs or diseases.


Corn crop was very uneven in Mississippi River Bottoms. Wetness is the cause. Lots of Denitrification going on. It might pay to add Nitrogen in wet spots depending on how big they are. It was dry enough to plant. They had very little rain last week, but the sticky silty clay soils were still plenty wet. Seep water is a problem.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I worked Carlinville area today. Ground was firm, but not dry. Corn looked good. No soybeans planted on the farm I worked.

Machinery below has been sitting idle for at least a week. It is not on the farm I worked. Looks like maybe a million dollars worth to me. It is 4 4 wheel drive tractors, 3 field cultivators and a 24 row planter.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Got stuck

I worked Raymond,Farmersville, Girard, Carlinville, and Chesterfield today. Some areas were very wet. The first place I unloaded I ended up loading back up because it was too wet. The second place I got stuck. The photo shows my shoes and socks drying out. Some field work was going on in dry places especially south of Carlinville. We are trying to get done sampling corn. Corn has started growing very fast. It is that time of year. We think there is corn to plant, but we need dry weather to get it done. Crop insurance deadline is June 5.

Some soybeans had insect damage although I could not find the bugs. Actually did not look much. I just passed the information along.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


No field work today, but we went to Bloomington this afternoon. Saw some wet areas. Still lots of soybeans to plant. Corn looks good for the most part. Stands are much more even this year.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

West Alton

Worked West Alton area today. Earliest planted corn is waist high. Lots of wet holes. Still a lot of soybeans to plant. Soybeans sampled were all in the first trifoliate. Two fields were not sampled because of seep water.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Worked From Carlinville to Palmyra today. Crops look good for the most part. Some wet areas need to be replanted.

The Low light of my day was getting caught in a downpour with lots of lightening. I was soaked all the way to the bone and my truck windows were open too. It came up very fast as far as I was concerned. The maps I had with me look like a big spit wad. Tech toys seemed to handle the water OK. GPS and telephone both got wet.

Monday, May 24, 2010

I-55 Corridor

I worked Livingston, Staunton, and Atwater. Corn ground was reasonably solid, but ground that had been tilled to plant soybeans was very wet. We are trying to get all the corn done soon.

I saw some streaks of purple corn probably related to compaction today. Took and extra sample to make sure it is not skips in fertilizer application.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

St Louis

Went on the St Louis Run today. It was pretty wet along the way. We did go past the earliest planted corn in Edwardsville. It is starting to look good. Rows are canopied over.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Purple Corn

I got a great picture of purple corn. Weather has been cool and wet up till today so it is no surprise. Some starter can make this less dramatic, but it might not show up in yield. Weather will be hot this week and corn is a warm season grass, so it will look better next week at this time.

You can see in the photo that the ground was very wet. I was at Nutwood working on Nitrogen today. Nutwood was dryer than anywhere, but still very wet. I almost got stuck in a ditch. I was not in 4 wheel drive.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I only made it as far as IGA today. Five Blocks from home. My observation is that it is really amazing that we have such variety and abundance even in a small town. The shelves and coolers are full of good food and pretty much at a reasonable price, although the lack of competition in town causes us to pay more than we might if we had another store.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Out my back door

I went to Coffeen today on a very short trip. It is very wet.

My friend Kelly often posts pictures from out the back door. Here is one out my back door. Tired of seeing water on the brick walk.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


We did some Nitrogen sampling near Nutwood today. Illinois River Bottoms. From Hillsboro to Jerseyville it was obviously too wet for field work. It was a little less wet west of Jerseyville. There were a few places where I would have gotten stuck yesterday. I found one southern corn rootworm beetle.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I only got as far as Litchfield today. How wet is it? It has been 2 days since we had significant rainfall and there is still water standing in rows.

Monday, May 17, 2010


If you got your corn planted but did not get Nitrogen applied, then you will be sidedressing unless corn gets too big. Anhydrous would be my material of choice. There is less material to apply. Also, remember you can cut back your rate by 25% with no adverse effects. If you don't trust that, have a PSNT done on your field and find out how much you really need. You might be surprised.

Check out this Prairie Farmer Article.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Smart Phone

Two years ago, I bought a smart phone, but being frugal I passed on the expense of the internet connection. THis year I cancelled my dial-up which I had been using for e-mail and as a backup to my highspeed. I finally broke down and got the smartphone connection. I have found it to be very useful to track weather moving in as I am working in the field. Sometimes I have stayed in the field when I might have otherwise gone home. Other times I have know that there was goiong to be no break in the weather, so I just went home. I am sure many farmers would find it useful as well.

Prairie Farmer has a good brief article.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rainy Day

No travels today, so it is kind of quiet. I spent some time working a on a spreadsheet to help me keep track of what I have done. Also, I prepared some samples for shipping. I got one customer completely ready to ship. Some of the others i wanted to work on were still damp, so I did not make much progress.

I got up early this morning to go to the field. Last night's forecast said no rain till this evening so we thought we could do a days work. I made breakfast and played games. Just before I got ready to leave I looked at the radar. Rain was headed our way so I decided to sit tight. It started to rain about 9:30 AM here. It was a long slow rain. We got .4 inch.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I went to Girard today to avoid a rainy day. weather was dry, but the soil was very moist. I did not sink in, but it was just pretty damp. Cores pulled well. I did nitrogen and some regular.

Several fields I sampled for Nitrogen, I had already done the regular on. It is always interesting to see how much corn I kill when I ride over it with the 4 wheeler. In this case, none to extremely negligible. That is almost always the case. One customer said to never run in the same place twice. That seems to be a good idea. I once calculated that if I kill every plant I hit it will be 1/2 bushel per acre. I suspect that 90% survive in most cases. That means I cost about 2.5/100 of a bushel. That is pretty negligible.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Drying cabinet

It was a "rainy" day today so I worked on my drying cabinet I have been making. By noon I had everything but the doors done. I started to clean up because rain was on the way. However the rain never arrived, so I was able to go to lumberyard and get what I needed for the doors too. I was done by 5PM including cleanup. You can see I am already using it. Those samples were in the baskets but on the floor in my garage. This increases my storage space by 150%.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Wheat was looking good yesterday. In fact it was looking so good I thought a picture was in order. It is too late for some fungicides, but a few can still be sprayed. With the wet weather, fungicide is something to be considered.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I started off going to Girard a bit late. It was pretty wet there. The rainfall map later in the day showed over an inch.

I retreated to Carlinville exit area. .4 inches there. It worked fine. I saw some things worthy of posting. Got a nice picture of wheat heading. I will save it for a rainy day. Also got a picture of a whirlwind ditcher. A nice tool to have.

The most interesting thing though was the frost heaved alfalfa. Some was alive, but did not look good. 8 acres were killed with chemical and no-tilled to corn. That is the picture.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I worked in Girard area today parking in the same spot all day. There were some cutworms working the smaller corn that was planted in bean stubble. The cold is getting to the corn. I saw lots of purple corn. I also saw one small field that appeared to be damaged by the Saturday night frost. It was not killed, just leave burned back. Weather was threatening all day, but I still managed to have a pretty good day.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Monroe County Tornado

We visited Mother today for Mother's Day. Took the opportunity to visit the torn do damaged area in the bottoms. The little burg of Meramac was almost destroyed. Meramac used to have a tavern and a baseball field. It was the home of the one room Walnut Grove School. At one time it had a post office. That is where my grandpa's Generation got mail when they were young. The three remaining homes were damaged in the storm. One of the homes is in the old schoolhouse. I know these things were already on TV and in the newspapers, but I decide I would post a picture of trees that were damaged because the damage was so impressive. In the picture trees or laying on the levee. The swath seemed pretty wide and skipped around a bit, but things were laying in every direction indicating tornado. There were roofs missing and homes damaged. Stuff was scattered all over the place.

Corn was being planted today and spraying and anhydrous application going on.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hettick - Staunton

Yesterday was Hettick. It was nice to watch the showers bi-pass us. As I was working, someone was spraying at least 100 yards away. I caught a misty of drift from that sprayer in about 15 MPH wind. It would have killed non GMO corn or tomatoes. Watch that wind. I never would have thought it would go that far.

More hail damage in Staunton area today. It looked like Hedgerows protected the corn for as much as 200 feet. I would like to see yield maps in the fall.

WE have had a very good week. It might be my best week ever.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hamel - Livingston - Staunton

Worked I-55 Corridor south of Litchfield. Corn at Hamel was about to go 5 leaf. No beans planted on my customer. Staunton, there was some corn that would go 6 leaf, but it hammered by hail on Monday night. Livingston had a little hail and largest corn was 5 leaf. Staunton area was surprisingly wet. Tillage was being done at Hamel. Lots of field work between Staunton and Hillsboro, but none at Staunton. I did not see any soybeans and none of my customers had any planted.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lots of stuff

I saw lots of interesting things in the Girard area today while I was sampling for PSNT. It is a little early, but the customer was already sidedressing very small corn. I also saw nitrogen being applied before planting. Lots of tillage was going on today. I also saw some planting. Not sure if it was corn or soybeans but I am guessing corn. The biggest corn I saw was 4 leaf.

The picture shows equipment being used to spread liquid lime from a local water treatment plant. This is the same equipment used to spread liquid hog manure except that the hog manure is knifed in.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Girard again

Sampled all corn ground today corn was from spiking to 4 leaf depending. The only field work I saw was anhydrous being sidedressed and One field getting field cultivated to plant beans. Some other machinery was on the road, but I did not see it in the field. I would say in Virden Girard area corn is 95% planted. I would say 100% but there is probably a laggard or 2.

Monday, May 3, 2010


I sampled mostly corn ground today. Nothing too exciting except that some of the "later" planted corn was a bit uneven. Some was spiking and some was 3 leaf. I looked like some seed got to moisture and some did not. No insects or diseases to report.

I believed the weather forecasters ( yes that is Plural) who said rain would diapate before it got to us. We had a squall line move through about 8 AM. It was very slow moving and got me wet. I took it easy for about an hour and went back to work when the sun came out. The rest of the day was wonderful. A small thunderstorm came through here about 6 PM.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

West Alton

Went to West Alton to nitrogen sample. They had .4 inches of rain. It was very wet along 140 in Illinois. We only had .2 inches here.

The above picture shows my "new" setup for getting Nitrogen samples dried overnight. I got the wire bread trays from the junk at my dad's to make a drying bin for drying samples in bags. On the way to the field it occurred to me that I could stack them fairly compactly and use them to dry nitrogen samples. Looks like ti will work well. I could dry up to 28 samples a day this way. How many acres is that? More than I care to do in a day by myself.