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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Farm Progress Show 2011_1

I attended the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL yesterday with my son Nathan.  Anyone in agriculture who has never been a part of this spectacle should try to attend at least once.  Yes it is crowded.  Yes it can he hot.  But to see all the suppliers and dealers in one place is quite an opportunity.  If you are shopping for a particular piece of equipment this is the place to get all your questions answered in one place and compare equipment and prices. 

So what did we see that is "new".  Machinery continues to get bigger.  A number of Tweeps gathered at the John Deere area for a tweetup.  As a "reward" for showing we were given a briefing on the newly unveiled combine.  The representatives said it is possible to harvest 320 acres of high yielding corn in about 10 hours.  How many farmers need this capacity?  The cool thing is that about a dozen of us on twitter got to meet in person. 

One of the highlights for me is always the varied industry tent.  This tent contains innovators, small companies, and maybe a "snake oil" salesman or 2.  Dan Towery, a blogger I link to was there representing the Oregon Annual Ryegrass organization.  It is always fun to see old friends. 

I had a specific mission to find the perfect vertical tillage equipment.  With a large number of shortline manufacturers present, you would think that would be an easy mission.  We did find some good equipment, but nothing I would call perfect.  Vertical tillage will be another blog.

It is interesting to see companies that started off in the varied industries tent who have gotten bigger.  That seems to apply to a lot of the precision people.  AgLeader, Raven, and Trimble among others had their own tents.  Marion Calmer had an impressive display of his narrow row corn heads.  Calmer predicted that we will get down to 12 inch rows in order to grow 300 bushel corn.  Most of the corn heads we saw including Calmer's were equipped to crush the sturdy Bt stalks that we see in the modern world.

More tomorrow.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monroe Co. IL report

Waterloo IL farmer Daniel Rahe reports:  The usual suspects have shelled some corn. Have not talked to anyone about yield. I hand shelled some and it is about 21% moisture. I'd guess closer to 25% moisture if you shelled with the combine.

It is really dry around here except close to the river. I hooked up to the scraper today and it is actually kind of dry to scrape. I have chopped the ground that was unplanted and have also disked up some ruts in these fields.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Crop Progress

On my return trip Friday, we flew some distance over the Missouri River bottoms.  Looking down, it was apparent that some of the swales in the valley are still wet.  We stopped to visit some customers on the way home and confirmed that on the ground.  In contrast, sandier soils on the ridges were very stressed.  Corn is beyond stressed and most of it is drying down.  If corn leaves are yellow, they are probably out of nitrogen.  That is not a bad thing for drying purposes, but it might have reduced the yield potential.

We also passed by our Staunton customer base.  early corn there is mature and drying.  Even later corn has probably reached its yield potential.  Soybeans in the Staunton area were also stressed and high sodium soils looked worse than surrounding soils.  South of Hillsboro a few fields of soybeans are turning yellow.  Along I-55 at Edwardsville, some of the early fields are harvested.  If long range forecasts are right, I think we can expect an early harvest for as late as planting was done.

Illinois weather and crop report this week confirms what we are seeing. Only 40% of corn is good to excellent.  Only 30% are reporting adequate moisture.  Temperatures are starting to cool.  That is not a bad thing.  11% of the crop is reported as mature.  I think that number is far higher.  It could be as much as 30%.  For some reason crop reporters are hesitant to look for black layering.  To me it looks like 11% is way past maturity and headed into the dry down phase.  Harvest is just a question of workload and how much you want to spend on drying.  Dry weather will have some corn maturing prematurely. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Long Trip

I returned on Friday from 5 weeks on the road.  Thanks for continuing to read this blog while I was out of town.  I spent 3 weeks in Columbia, MO mostly in town.  I was able to take one short trip out of town and previously reported on crop conditions there.  Dry weather has caused crops to continue to deteriorate.  I spent a week in the Sikeston, MO area and was able to see some of the countryside there.  Soybeans look pretty good, especially where irrigated.  Corn looks no better than fair, even where irrigated.  I flew over the delta land around Memphis.  I could tell I was seeing rice, soybeans, and cotton, but  I really had no idea of the condition. 

Land north of Dallas, TX is mostly rangeland.  I really did not see a lot of the ranchland, but what I saw looked very dry.  People are watering their foundations to keep them from cracking. 

Tomorrow's blog will about local conditions I observed on the way home.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

MFA Elevator

MFA Elevator on the north side of Columbia, MO is on a high point making it visible from just about any other high point in the Columbia area.  The elevator is a reminder that the great college and university town is also a farming town. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Soil Testing advice

General information.  I am going to miss a day here and there this week.  It is too hard to post where I am.  Please hang in there.  I am planning to attend the Farm Progress show next week.  That should be good for 2 or 3 blogs.

This soil testing advice from Fabian Fernandez is good as far as it goes, but it raises more questions than answers.  One of the major questions is: How do you analyze trends if you follow the U of I advice and test only once every 4 years.  Who has time to wait 8 or 12 years to see a trend? 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2012 Ferilizer prices

+This article predicts higher fertilizer prices for 2012.  Some farmers might be tempted to cut back, but will their soil support the cutback?  We have some customers who could cut back and they have advantage of knowing where their levels are because we test annually.  If you are thinking about cutting back but not sure, you better get the science based information to prove what you should do.  Soil testing is not the place to cut back if you want to reduce fertilizer.

Monday, August 22, 2011

healthy plants

The purpose of keeping soil fertility at the right level is to maintain healthy plants.  Carl Bradley and Steve Ebelhar  are doing research to prove that premise.  Plants that received the right levels of fertility performed better even with disease pressures. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Levee Rebuild

You probably remember the blog I wrote on flood control.  Who thought it would end this way?  The good news for SE Missouri farmers is that their congressional delegation is on their side.  The Corps is usually pretty responsive to Congressional pressure.  Blowing a levee and then doing half a job repairing it does not seem right to me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

100 bushel soybeans.

Farmers and agronomists have the lofty goal of being able to produce 100 bushel soybeans.  Kip Cullers and others have proved it is possible.  How to get to that lofty level and make a profit is the question.  Ohio State Researchers offer some advice on things that might help get us there.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Free Trade Agreements

Free trade is important to agriculture because free trade makes our products more affordable to our foreign customer.  Free trade as pertains to corn is discussed in this article.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Harvest has begun in SW Illinois

By Randy Darr - President of Soil-Right Consulting Services

Just got home from a mission to rescue my wife from along side the interstate.  She made it half way to Little Rock and the transmission went out on my Durango.  Left at 12:30 Monday and got home at Tuesday afternoon.

Our largest client began shelling corn yesterday. No idea of vital statistics. Client told me that most likely will not know how a field does until he pulls out of a field. Mainly working the bugs out of the equipment. Saw some corn shelled along interstate 40 between Memphis and Little Rock today, but, that’s not a surprise. Cotton and rice fields looked nice for what little I know about cotton and rice.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Corn Harvest

I suspect that this week we will have a small amount of corn reaching the black layer stage which is physiological maturity.  Once the corn black layers, it has reached it's highest potential for yield.  Keep in mind that mature corn can still have green leaves, although a good sign of maturity is when the husks on the ears are drying down and certainly when the ears drop.  Once it matures, the question is, do you harvest and dry it down, or do you let it dry in the field.  There are lots of things to consider in deciding when to start harvesting.  Price of drying is one.  Workload is another.  If you have a lot to harvest, you might want to get started.  Another factor is disease pressure.  This article talks about identification of stalk rots.  I suspect Goss's Wilt could also affect stalk quality.  You might want to check with your seed corn agronomist to get some idea of stalk rot susceptibility in your varieties. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

City Moms Meet Country Moms

Holly Spangler and Emily Webel made a trip to Chicago along with Deb Moore and Donna Jeschke to visit with about 40 city moms.  Holly Spangler's guest blog on the Illinois Farm Families web site tells about the trip.  Why is it on this production oriented page?  1.  The women fielded lots of questions about production.  This gives you an idea what the public thinks about the food we produce.  2.  To highlight how great it is that we have farm women who are involved in farming enough to give credible answers.  3.  How great it is that we have farm women who the city women can relate to. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Missouri Cattle

Missouri Cattle on Pasture.  Missouri is a leading cattle producing state.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Heat and Corn

Many of us think the heat is going to have a negative effect on corn yields.  This article from University of Nebraska seems to offer good explanations to a certain extent.  One problem that has not been mentioned in the popular press is that Nitrogen loss caused by early wetness may put an additional downward pressure on corn yields.  To a certain extent, corn yields are what they will be withing 5 to 10%,

Friday, August 12, 2011

Southern Illinois Crop Report

By Nathan Rahe - SIU Graduate Student in Agriculture

Travelling from Murphysboro to Chester I am seeing lots of scorched corn and lots of small ears along Route 3.  Chester to Waterloo does not look great either.  Soybeans do not look as bad as corn, but they do not look good.  Corn leaves near the family farm at Valmeyer look stripped, possibly caused by hail.  The corn with problems is patchy.  It is interesting that you see some that looks fine and some just down the road is horrible. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sudden Death Syndrome

It is that time of year when good looking soybeans appear to die off for no good reason.  There is not much that can be done about it now , but now is the time start managing for next year to beat Sudden Death.  One of the things mentioned in this article on is improved drainage.  Add management of Sudden Death to your top ten list of reasons for tiling.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shipman to Lake Erie and Back

By Randy Darr - President - SoilRight Consulting Services

Through my travels of the past week, crops across the central and eastern Corn Belt are showing signs of struggling. The detrimental effects from the wet spring are becoming evident across the entire area. Due to the wet weather root growth could not occur at an adequate rate due to the lack of oxygen in the soil. Now once the soil has dried out, the roots cannot provide adequate moisture to the plant because it was unable to grow to deeper regions of the soil. Therefore, the shallow rooted plants are showing signs of every stress under the sun. Corn appears to be feeling the effects the most, though beans can’t be fairing too well either. We need rain and cooler temperatures. That’s funny (sort of), slightly over a month ago we needed the exact opposite.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Weather And Crop Report

Corn, soybeans and sorghum all seem to have deteriorated this week.  I am assuming the crop condition is mostly related to dryness.  Some parts of the state have gotten rain, so I expect to see some improvement next week.  55% of the state of Illinois was short or very short on moisture.  Illinois's soybeans seem to be in much better condition than corn, which sort of matches up with what I saw in Missouri on Sunday.  Air Temperatures were 6 or 7 degrees above average.  Not a good combination with the 55% short on moisture.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Columbia Mo to Centralia Mo

I was able to make a little run today from Columbia, MO to Centralia, MO to look at crop conditions.  Last week's heat seemed to have taken a toll on the corn crop.  Shallow soils were especially hard hit.  Some of the corn in the photo will not add yield no matter how much rain we get.  I also saw corn that looked even worse than this.  Some corn has not silked yet.  Some is just silking.  Over all the soybeans looked good although I did not check flower set.  Rains this weekend will help the soybean crop a good deal.  Some corn will benefit, some will not. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Silent Sunday Photo

Courthouses are one of my favorite photographic subjects.  Rural courthouses like this one (Cumberland County Courthouse) in Toledo, IL are very scenic.  If Disneyland were to have a courthouse on main street, it might look like this. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Biomass for fuel

Since we have had 2 recent blogs on biofuel crops, I thought we could stick with the theme.  This article talks about a group forming to try to develop biofuel uses even before we perfect the digester types of products.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bt Resistance

This article was listed on U of I facebook pages.  This points to the reason for refuge requirement.  Western Corn rootworm beetles are an evolutionary marvel.  They have evolved to eat soybeans and now can survive Bt.   Putting all your faith in one method of pest control is a mistake.  I hope the genetics experts pick up on this.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Big Corn Crop?

I am not sure when this article was written, but I think it fails to consider consider we have had weeks of the hottest summer in years.  We have a few fields with potential for big yields, but much like last year, heat is causing them to mature too fast.  Also there is no real end to the heat in sight.  Columbia, MO hit 107 Tuesday.   Several tweets today showed private forecasters revising yields down. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New Crop Report

There are not really a lot of surprises in this week's crop report.  I question a little bit the 87% of soybeans blooming.  It's August 1 and soybeans start to bloom no matter what around this time.  I admit some of the very late planted beans my not be blooming yet.

The thing that caught my eye is the heat.  Temperatures were 6 degrees above "normal".  That is quite a departure.  Growing degree days are also ahead of normal.  Rainfall for the week was close to "normal", but 47% say that moisture is short or very short.  That looks a bit odd, but when your corn is rolling because of the heat,  it is hard to say moisture is adequate.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Insecticides and Fungicides in Soybeans

Purdue Researchers found that insecticides and fungicides applied when pressures were blow thresholds seldom paid even if they produced statically significant yield increases.  Gotta remember we are in this to make money.