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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cottonwoods Releasing Cotton

The white on the tree below is a cottonwood releasing its cotton.  It looked like a  mini snow storm. The cotton can carry the seed for many miles till it finds some bare wet ground to sprout on. Click to enlarge.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Old Barns

Barns are magnificent structures that many photographers have recorded.  You can buy all kinds of coffee table books that have barns in them.  I choose to photograph barns on the decline.  I want to be able to see light through the barn.  I am always curious as to the vintage and type of farm they represent.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Newly Mowed Hay

I caught a customer today mowing clover hay.  After the hay is taken off he will be planting soybeans.  Nothing smells better than newly mowed hay.  Too bad this isn't scratch and sniff. 
Hay Mowing

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mississippi River near Portage De Sioux

I like this shot of the Mississippi River near Portage De Sioux Missouri.  Illinois is in the background.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Corn Condition

Looking at corn condition, we have symptoms of cold and wet weather.  We are seeing purple corn, yellow corn, striped leaves, burnt leaves, and etc.  The good news is that stands are decent, drowned areas are minimal, and best of all 99% of corn is planted and emerged before the end of May.  Should we look for a record crop?  July and August weather will control that. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Effects of No-Till on Soil Organic Carbon

I previously shared information from Dr. Ken Olson of the University of Illinois concerning whether or not No-Till increases Soil Organic Carbon.  Dr. Olson has recently teamed up with other researchers in the Midwest to take a more broad look at the subject.  In this news article No-Till soil organic carbon sequestration rates are questioned by Dr. Olson and others.  Let's be clear that nobody is saying that No-till is a bad thing.  Dr. Olson is dedicated to soil conservation and the positive effect that No-till has on soil loss is not questioned. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Levee Repair

The levee below was damaged near Portage de Sioux, MO in the flood of 2013.  This spot held, but needed major repairs.  It protects thousands of acres of cropland and the villages of Portage de Sioux and West Alton. A slide and a corroded culvert caused problems in this area. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Soybean Planting near Portage de Sioux

Soybean planting is about 75% done in the Portage de Sioux and West Alton area.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sprayer Tracks

Which sprayer travel direction causes more yield loss?


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Corn in Brazil

By Eduardo Paim:

Here the development of corn is still very bad; the government said that we have a good production, but I disagree with this information. We are without good rains and maize was planted too late because many rains delayed soybean harvest. I think the corn will still give a big surprise here in Brazil, we have reduced production for sure.

The weather here is starting to get warm and dry, the corn price has plummeted in recent weeks because it is coming the time of harvest until June 20 we already have starting producing crops.

The price of soybeans has improved internally because companies are coming at the end of their stocks to be by the end of May. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Snapping turtle

I spotted a snapping turtle sunbathing today. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Corn is Starting to Reach Nitrogen

We sampled almost all corn today.  The corn below is about the biggest we have been on.  Most of it is showing effects of cold weather.  In the photo below, the darker colored corn is start to reach nitrogen fertilizer. The rest will catch up in a few days. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Last 7 days of Rain

I worked in Northern Macoupin County today.  It was very wet especially on poorly drained soils.  We will be looking for a dryer area tomorrow.  NWS rainfall for the past 7 days is below.Click to enlarge.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

Palmer Amaranth is Here

Aaron Hager says it is not too early to scout fields for Palmer Amaranth.  Right now, you may catch the plants at an early growth stage and get them killed.  Most weed specialists are recommending eradication.  Yes that means getting out the hoes and weed hooks and getting rid of that stuff.  Aaron Hager recently posted this article for management of Palmer Amaranth

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fungicide time for Wheat

Wheat is starting to head out in places. It is the time of year to keep an eye on growth stage in order to apply fungicides at the right time.  The right rate is also important.  We heard rumors last year that some suppliers were cutting rates on certain products to keep the price down.  This is not a good idea.  Carl Bradley has posted a good guide to follow.  Wet weather is likely to predispose wheat to many diseases. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pike County Road Trip

I went to Pike County today to do a septic tank investigation.  The site was in the woods and subsoil moisture was excellent.  Fields on the way looked very wet considering we are supposed to be on the verge of a drought.  I would judge that 99% of corn is planted between Hillsboro and Pittsfield.  There is always someone who is slow.  About 70% is emerged.  Soybeans are maybe 40% planted.  Some are starting to emerge.  We might not make it to the field till Saturday and farming is probably on hold till Monday. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

White Flowers in the Woods

It seems there are lots of white flowers in the woods right now.  I have seen wild cherry blossoms (below), honeysuckle, and black locust all in full flower.
Wild Cherry Blossoms

Monday, May 12, 2014

Black Cutworms Coming

Corn is about cutworm size and it is just in time for larvae to be hatching and eating in our area.  Mike Gray of University of Illinois put together these predicted dates for potential damage.  It is time to start scouting in our area. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

20 Inch Row Nitrogen Applicator

By Randy Darr, President
Soil-Right Consulting Services, Inc.

Many of our clients like to build their own equipment.  One of our clients built his own liquid nitrogen applicator utilizing the frame of an old John Deere row cultivator.  This client plants his corn in 20 inch rows and did not like the prospects of buying a complete system for $40,000.  So he built his own for about $3500.  He built it to apply nitrogen every 40 inches, therefore one knife will supply two rows.  Not really fancy but very effective.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Alfalfa and Orchard Grass Hay

I sampled the beautiful field of alfalfa and orchard grass below today.  This is a high yielding and nutritious combination.  There were some weevil in it.  I hope everyone is scouting for Alfalfa Weevil. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Rotary Hoe

I have seen lots of rotary hoe work the last few days.  Crusting is the problem.  One of my friends told me this morning that he had to get his rotary hoe out of the shed and it was behind everything.  It took him 2 hours to get it out.   The rotary hoe is a good crust buster, but it will also flick out of bit of the crop.  No-tillers don't have the crusting problem a rule. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Crop Progress in West Alton

Working West Alton, MO today.  I would say corn is 99% planted.  About half is emerged.  Soybeans are maybe half planted.  None were emerged.  Soil condition was mostly good, however we are seeing some compaction in places because of planting wet soils. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Corn Condition in Mato Grosso

By Eduardo Paim:

Here we do not know what will happen to the maize, which is planted after the summer soybean harvest. I'm sure we will have reduced production in Mato Grosso; I believe that by the time we harvest, there will be a minimum of 25% reduction. Right now we are 12 days without good rains and we have many brand new corn that needs a lot of rain to develop . 12 days without rain not prejudice, but we desejenado rain this time! The sun is very hot here, and today the time has changed to cold without warning. 

Once I have news I'll tell you!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sharing Data with Your Seed Company

Several of the seed companies have started collecting yield, soil, and other data from farmers in an effort to improve production.  There are many pros and cons and we have discussed them on this blog.  Another good discussion was lead by John McGuire a consultant in Ohio who was writing for Farm Futures Magazine.  Today it was called to my attention that our local NPR radio station had put together a good piece on the topic.  Follow the link.  I thought it was well done both on the air and online. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Are we in our next planting window?

Rain last week delayed planting for many.  Some areas I have visited had only 1.4 inches of rain others, from 2.5 to 5 inches.  I am pretty sure the areas that got 5 inches still have some drying time needed.  We worked in West Alton area today.  Sandier soils were good to go.  Soils high in clay were still a bit wet, but looked good on top.  They heavy black clay soils were not fit to work on.  Keep in mind that you pay for compaction many years into the future.

The only field work we saw going on was some spraying.  Most of the spaying was being done with light sprayers behind a 4 wheeler.   I expect to see planters back in the field tomorrow.  Especially on farms where corn is not planted. If the ground works good - go.  If you are churning up mudballs - stop. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Residual Herbicide Working

I was happy to see that my customer had weeds dieing from his residual herbicide.  The morning glory below is on its way to dead.  He had resistance problems last year.  I am glad he s taking care of it. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

American Farm Heritage Museum

I attended a farm auction today at the American Farm Heritage Museum in Greenville, IL.  It looks like a fun place to take kids on a summer Saturday.  The auction was interesting as they all are.  If you had never been to a farm land auction you should take one in whether you are buying or not.  It is an interesting experience, and you might even get a free cookie or cup of coffee with your fee admission. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Corn Emerging

Corn planted around the second week of April is finally emerging.  It looks yellow and sickly.  That is consistent with early corn.  Stands are good.  We sampled in an area that had under an inch and a half of rain in the past week.  Topsoil moisture is .  Temperatures are cool  Today's client had only 70acres of corn remaining to plant. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Narrow Base Terraces

Narrow Base Terraces in Logan County.  Base is 16 feet wide and they are parallel, so relatively east to farm. You really need to click on the  picture for a good view.