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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Corn Stress is Starting to Show

If you look at the corn in the center of the photo you can see that leaves are dying back on some of it.  The soils in the areas dying back are high in sodium.  High sodium soils are difficult to manage.  The sodium disperses the clays and even damp soils can have unavailable moisture.  Nitrogen an other nutrients can also be an issue in dry weather. 

We are also seeing stressed corn on sandy soils in the major river valleys.  In addition, it is getting easier every day to spot the fields that had fall applied nitrogen.  Those fields are yellow and drying down prematurely.We saw a small field harvested today, but don't have  a yield report.  We expect some early planted corn to be harvested next week, but harvest will be slow until October 1 or so.  


Friday, August 30, 2013

Good corn crop in Brazil

By Eduardo Paim:
Here everything continues as before, some growers finished harvesting corn in Mato Grosso and the overall average of the state should be in 110 bags per hectare, we have a lot of corn! In Brazil we have a lot of corn in general, was a good year because the rains stopped in April or May but came up in July, to help a lot in corn yields. With the low price of corn, growers should greatly reduce the area of ​​summer corn be planted starting in December, this should help improve prices internationally. The dollar rose to R $ 2.05 in early July to R$ 2.42 in the last days, that helped a lot soybean prices from R$ 55.00 to R $ 66.00 (R$ 11.00 per bag in our currency). Already the price of corn has not changed, with the great offer price remains at U.S. $ 6.50. The government turned to give subsidy to corn prices only in northern Mato Grosso. Corn growers will wait to sell until January 2014 to see if prices will get better, believe that if there is not a lot of corn planted in December the price will be better! This week with gains on the Chicago exchange and the dollar (R$ 2.42), soybeans rose from R$ 50.00 for Delivery in March to R$ 57.00. According to information the dollar should get the R$ 2.70 until December this year (2013).

The news is that the dollar should get the R $ 2.70 until December this year (2013) here in Brazil.

Our currency is the "REAL" (R$)

I believe that with good weather,  in 50 days we will begin planting in northern Mato Grosso.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Machinery that Caught My Eye

Some machinery that caught my eye at the Farm Progress Show is shown below.  The Landoll vertical tillage tool will actually do vertical tillage.  Some who want to mix in more soil might go for a rolling basket on the back, but my regular readers know that I am not a big fan of rolling baskets.
Vertical Tillage Tool
 Marion Calmer continues to lead the way in harvest of narrow row corn.  His heads work on Red or Green equipment.  calmer believes that we need narrower rows and higher populations to break the 300 bushel mark as a matter of routine. 
Calmer 30 row 12 inch spacing corn heard
 The disk below may not be entirely a new idea, but it could prove useful in managing high residue in certain situations. 
residue disk

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Variable Rate Fertility Maps

Everyone understands what variable rate fertility is all about, but I thought it my be interesting to some to see what our variable rate maps look like on paper.  The controllers will run with just a computer file, but the paper maps help the driver to see areas that he can skip.  Also when you see it on paper it is pretty easy to see why this is a good idea.  We are just spreading fertilizer on a small part of the field that needs it.  We are  hoping to get a little yield boost by putting fertilizer where it is needed.  We are also hoping to save on input costs by not putting fertilizer on those areas that don't need it.  This is especially important for lime application because the availability of other nutrients depends on having proper lime levels. The spread zones have square corners in a good bit of this field because the soils are fairly uniform. 

On a different note, I will be attending Farm Progress Show in Decatur tomorrow so there will probably be no blog or a late blog.  Look for more later this week.  
Variable rate DAP map

Monday, August 26, 2013

30 Day Precipitation

Below is precipitation for the last 30 days from NWS web site.  Click on the photo to see a larger version.  It is centered in Illinois.  The blue area is around a half inch.  It is ironic that the part of Iowa that was too wet to plant is now extremely dry.  While there is some good corn out there, this dry weather is going to take the top out of many yields.  Soybeans will wait for moisture, but they need some to fill too, and soon.  Cool weather has kept crops looking good, but the heat in the forecast this week will take its toll.
Last 30 days Precipitation

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Original Roundup Ready Soybean Patent is Expiring

One of the points of discussion at the field day I went to in West Alton last week was the expiration on the original roundup ready trait patent. The patent is due to expire for the 2015 crop year.  What that means is that farmers will be able to save seed from soybeans that have only the original roundup ready trait.  farmers will also need to make sure that the variety they want to save is not also patented. Why is this important?  Shortly after harvest you will be at least  thinking about next year's seed.  The seed you plant in 2014 could be held for planting if it meets all the other caveats.  The other major consideration is that the seed is to be for personal use only. Buying from neighbors or selling to neighbors will also be prohibited.   The Monsanto website contains all the information you need to consider.  Be sure to read the whole article. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Passing of the seasons

Dry weather is starting some trees to turn although not visible.  There was only one boat in view. 


Friday, August 23, 2013

Plot tours

Last night we attended a plot tour in West Alton.  My farm readers know that one of the way farmers get information is by attending these tours to see what the various seed companies have.  The hosts also demonstrated their sprayer that is equipped to reduce spray drift.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hillsboro Old Settlers

Every small town has their summer celebration.  In Hillsboro it is called Old Settlers Days.  This picture was taken before the crowd arrived this evening.  It is a chance to visit with old friends and support some great agricultural organizations.  Yes we have everything fried that any state fair has.  We also have great ribeyes served by the Central Illinois Livestock Producers, and the Hillsboro FFA serves pork patties.  My younger son calls it the "most wonderful time of the year."The most amazing thing is that closing is at 11 PM tomorrow and by 6AM Friday, you would not know that the streets were blocked off and covered with litter. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Food Coop

This story by Josh Flint caught my eye.  My wife has been helping with a  food coop in our town.  She gets a huge amount of vegetables and fruit every two weeks for $24.  It is divided with 2 other couples, so we get tons of fresh fruit and vegetables for a very reasonable price.  The coop volunteers divide up a truck load of produce and send it out every two weeks.  It does not say it is locally produced.  It does not say it is organic.  Just fresh and inexpensive.  I think there is some implication that this stuff is better than what is in the store.  I think it comes from the same place the store get's there stuff.  Buying in bulk and volunteers sort and separate it keeps the cost down.  The other thing is that we have to deal with some spoilage by the end of 2 weeks.  Along the same lines, I  have seen pick-ups parked in a local parking lot selling sweetcorn or produce.  The implication is that is fresh from the farm, but in talking with the seller one time, I found he drives 100 miles to get the stuff he sells.  Is this local.  Does it matter? 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Illinois Weather and Crop Report

I have written many blogs about the weather and crop report and how (in)accurate it seems to be.  This year I am finding that the reports are about what I am seeing.  I have traveled from Valmeyer, IL to Chicago and along the northeastern border of Illinois recently.  The report seems consistent with what I have seen.  50% of the state is reporting short on moisture. I am seeing that in the field.  Cool weather is helping, but we need more rain to set soybean pods and to help the corn to mature.  Crop progress is behind the 5 year average, and I would say the 5 year average is not ideal.  We would like to see corn heading toward maturity.  The only places with any dry lower leaves are those areas stressed by low moisture.  I hesitate to use drought after last years "real" drought. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

John Deere Chevy

This Chevy pickup was one of the highlights of the Hillsboro Old Settlers Car show.  The paint job is awesome.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Eastern, IL

Friday morning we headed east on Route 16 toward Paris.  We turned north at Paris and drove through the Eastern Illinois counties and then turned toward Dekalb.  We did not see any corn even close to harvest. Some of the corn is running out of Nitrogen due to wetness.  That is not to say we did not see some good looking corn.  Soybeans are looking much better than the corn in general. Of course they do not have nitrogen issues and stands are more even since the beans were planted later.  Some areas are getting stressed by the dry weather, but sany soils around Watseka did not look too bad.  Showers have been spotty for a about the last month.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Brookside Laboratory Moved

The first day of our consultants meeting we toured Brookside Laboratory's new facility in New Bremen, OH.  The lab is almost double the size of the New Knoxville facility with room for expansion.  The staff planned the lab themselves so that work would flow in the most efficient manner possible.  While our turnaround times have always been excellent, we hope the new facility is even more efficient.  Note that the drying room has fans, but no heat is used for drying.  All equipment is state of the art.  Results are recorded directly to computers in order to improve efficiency and avoid human error.
Entrance

Receiving

Drying Room

pH testing

Analyzer

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Flying My Drone

I was finally able to learn to fly my Parrott AR Drone this week.  The top two photographs Were taken by my wife this evening as I was demonstrating it to her.  The bottom two are photographs I took with the drone as I was demonstrating it at the Brookside Laboratory Consultants Meeting after we toured the new lab in New Bremen, OH.  There currently a number of drones available for agricultural applications.  This one is limited by range although there are programmable models similar to this one that could fly without the controller on a specific route.  Battery life is about 12 minutes.  The controller is a smartphone or Ipad app that uses a WIFI signal.  The first time I flew it, I could not see the phone screen well because of brightness, so flying was pretty shaky.  I went out in the evening and flew it in less light and learned it pretty well.  When I demonstrated it at the lab, it flew outside of the controller range at the same time it was being pushed down by the wind.  It was pretty hard to find where it crashed in the soybean field.  I am hoping to use it to spot crop issues in a field and then walk to them to investigate.
Parrott AR Drone in Flight

Parrott Drone

Crowd Watching Demo

Overview of Soybeans

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cover planting dates

By Ryan Huelsmann Soil-Right Cover Crops Specialist:

Early Establishment is key.  As we roll through August and look toward September, it is important to meticulously plan your cover crops planting dates.  In most cases the earlier the better.  Drilling the seed right behind the combine allows for the best seed to soil contact.  However, in a wet year like this one harvest may be delayed more than normal, subsequently delaying cover crop planting.  To effectively utilize cover crops, a grower should get them established as early as 2 to 3 weeks before the first killing frost. (28 Degrees F)  Research trials have show that there is a direct correlation between early establishment and soil nitrate take-up by ryegrass.  Ryegrass accumulates as much as 120 pounds of nitrogen per acre when established 2 to 3 weeks before a killing frost.  Early seeding may require aerial seeding this year, and possibly even in "normal" years, (if those still occur.)  When thinking of cover crops do not think about what to plant until you think about what you want to accomplish when you plant them.  Do you want to control erosion?  Build soil tilth and organic matter?  Bust up a tillage pan? Scavenge or add N?  All of these things can be accomplished with various cover crops.  Don't get too hung up on what to plant.  The fact that you are planting something to cover the soil in the winter is the main idea. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio

We took a bus ride today in the above mentioned area.  Crops Re logo asking pretty good, but we saw some that. Is stressed from too dry and some that is stressed from too wet.  The best crops we have seen were North of Indianapolis. That was the exception.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Few random Lines.

We are attending our annual consultant's meeting in Fort Wayne.  Corn looks much better in Indiana than in the Southern half of Illinois.  I flew my drone for the first time today in the parking lot.  Takeoff and landing is easy.  I need practice on maneuvering.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Road Trips

I have been to to Belleville and Jacksonville in the last two days.  My 55 MPH crop survey says that corn and soybeans both are a bit uneven.  What that means at least in the areas I have been is that the crops are unlikely to reach their full yield potential.  Corn in low places is yellow, meaning that nitrogen is used up or gone prematurely in those spots.  Areas with good drainage look good.  Moisture will not be short at this stage of crop development.  I am not good at yield guesses without walking into fields so don't ask. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Palmer Amaranth

What to do about Palmer Amaranth has been the talk of the summer.  Aaron Hagar explains it all in this bulletin.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Double Crop Milo

I spotted this double crop milo (grain sorghum) near Prairie du Rocher this weekend.  It is a good crop if you need hog feed. 


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Clydesdale Tour

Our son's family from Chicagoland came to visit this weekend and we did tourist stuff.  Among the places the wanted to visit was Grant's Farm.  The farm is home of a wildlife park and a training site for the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales.  Visitors to the park get close up views of the wildlife and also get a chance to see some of the Clydesdales close up.  You also get to see some trained animal acts and partake of the Anheuser-Busch adult beverages all for the price of a parking fee.  There are some premium activities.  Our guests want to do the behind the scenes Clydesdale tour.  We got to walk through the paddocks and see a number of horses.  Our guide was one of the horse trainers and she did an excellent job of explaining how the horses are managed.  The buildings are immaculate and the horses are well cared for.  Our guide did an excellent job discussing training techniques and explaining animal welfare.

I do take issue with the quality of the pastures.  It is an aesthetic issue, but excellent pasture could also  contribute to nutrition of the horses and reduce feed costs.  The photo below shows that the dominant species are goose grass and knotweed.  I am not sure why one of the top horse owners in the world gives so little care to the pastures.  Yes they are mostly green, but they do not contribute much to the horse diet except to give them something to chew on.  Better species and some rotational grazing systems would look so much better at least to the trained eye.  It would also be really cool if they used some warm season grasses in the wildlife park to simulate a more natural looking environment for the grazing species. It looks to be like living in the fanciest mansion you can think  of, but with bare unfinished wood floors.  Very comfortable to be sure, but there is something missing.
Knotweed Pasture

Superbowl 2013 Horses

Monday, August 5, 2013

Nitrogen Management Breakthrough

Besides water, nitrogen is probably our most difficult crop nutrient to manage.  That seems odd because we are surrounded by nitrogen.  We breathe in much more nitrogen than oxygen.  The problem is that atmospheric nitrogen is not available to most plants.  Lightening converts a small amount of atmospheric nitrogen to plat available form, but before the nitrogen fertilizer most farms got needed plat available nitrogen from animal and human waste and from growing legumes.  No-till Farmer recently shared an article about researchers in England who have found a bacteria that can help any plant to capture atmospheric nitrogen.  It will be interesting to see if this breakthrough is really implemented in 3 to 5 years as the researchers envision.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Corn yields in Brazil


 By Eduardo Paim:
The harvest of the second crop corn (second season), Mato Grosso, reached 56.6% of the total area of ​​3 million hectares reaching 110 sacks per hectare average. In ParanĂ¡ harvest reached 29% of the 2.17 million hectares, registering an average de133 bags per acre. In Mato Grosso do Sul yet be harvested 2.4 million tons in the state, with an average yield of 100 sacks per hectare. Goias has been to  pick 50% of the area estimated in the beginning there was harvesting between 140 to 150 bushels of corn per acre, in a few days expect to harvest crops with low productivity around 30-40 bags of maize per hectare.

The price of soybeans in Mato Grosso fell RondonĂ³polis U $ 26.90 to $ 24.00 in two weeks, good crop development in the U.S. has influenced the prices of soybeans in the Brazilian market, even with the lack of soy internally companies are keeping the price "cold" here. Another reason that I imagine is causing companies do not pay more in soybeans was the injury that had last year with increases in freight over 80% believe they are trying to recover the loss of freight holding soybean prices. Corn is also not at attractive prices, the Brazilian government has subsidized some corn purchases, helped some producers only northern Mato Grosso, but the subsidy is over and there helped many producers. Subsidies for me were how to take water from sinking titanic cup. Maize price today $ 6.55 RondonĂ³polis U, U ever had to sell $ 10.65 in November 2012 and delivery in July 2013.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

How Valuable is Tiling?

Tile is valuable enough that the producer allowed the contractor to put in the tile after the soybeans were planted.  The spacing is fairly wide for our area.  The only real damage looks like it is in the trench itself.  You can see the machine tracks, but yield loss is probably minimal.
Soybeans with Tile Trench

Friday, August 2, 2013

Wheat Disease Management

Wheat Scab is a disease that can contaminate wheat with mycotoxins.  Dr. Carl Bradley discussed identification  and control last week at Brownstown.  Scab can be worse in fields where wheat follows corn.  We seemed to have lots of that last year because corn harvest was so early.  Bradley says it is almost impossible to eliminate scab completely, but planting resistant varieties can help.  Fungicides may be needed as well in order to keep mycotoxins at an acceptable level.  Fungicide should be applied at early flowering (Feekes 10.5.1).   Prosario and Caramba are fungicides that can help suppress scab when applied at the right growth stage and rate.  Strobilurins can actually aggravate the problem.  South Dakota State University has a good bulletin on Fungicides for Wheat.

My observation is that with such a narrow window for effective results, this may be one of the things that a producer should be prepared to apply himself.  Another consideration is that different varieties may bloom at different times so if the producer is trying for protection with diversified genetics, it could take several days to apply the fungicide.  Pennsylvania State University has a forecasting system that may be useful in determining risk of scab. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Palmer Ameranth

Hopefully everyone is caught up on spraying in soybeans.  Palmer Amaranth is lifting its ugly head more and more in Illinois.  Dr. Aaron Hagar talks about distinguishing Palmer Amaranth from Waterhemp in this bulletin.  In Brownstown, Dr. Hagar shared this form that can be used to submit weeds to the University of Illinois for identification.  There is no cost for submitting the Amaranth plants. If you have Palmer Amaranth it needs to be controlled.