Search This Blog

Monday, June 30, 2014

Report on Corn from Brazil

By Eduardo Paim:

Here in Mato Grosso we are beginning to harvest maize; yields are still very varied; In southern MT production that producers have told us is up to 140 bags per hectare those in the north have a maximum output of 80 bags per hectare. We have a lot of rain falling in the states of ParanĂ¡, Santa Catarina and Rio Grade do Sul We do not know yet how it will look on average for maize production but we certainly will not have all the corn that the reports are saying. The rains are hampering the planting of wheat in Rio Grande do Sul, the rains are taking all the fertilizer was added to the wheat. I will send you reports as the corn harvest develops.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Pollination Time for Corn

We have been seeing corn tassels peaking out since Wednesday.  Yesterday I went to St. Louis and noticed many more tassels on the way home than I did on the way there.  Moisture conditions should be in good shape for pollination at least for early corn.  One thing standing in the way of a good crop might be Japanese Beetles. University of Illinois entomologist Mike Gray presents new research results concerning silk clipping in this bulletin.  The good news is that infestations so far appear to be light, but we need to scout fields for the first 5 days of silking to assure good pollination. I should add that I expect 3 to 4 weeks to pass before all corn is pollinated, so that is a long scouting window.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Browneyed Susan

Browneyed Susan and Daisy Fleabain are painting our landscape right now. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Weather

The photo below pretty much sums up the weather this summer so far.  Rain is in the forecast every day.  We don't always get rain, but rain seems to fall somewhere.  It is a Florida weather pattern.  Rain every afternoon somewhere.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wheat Harvest Starts

I saw the first harvested wheat field yesterday and several combines in the field in Fayette County.  Can double crop beans be far behind?  Moisture should be good for germination.  Most wheat growers plant soybeans unless they are tiling or doing conservation work.  Some hog farmers like to spread manure on wheat ground.   Prairie Farmer published comments on double crop soybeans by LG seeds agronomist Crafton.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Illinois Weather and Crop Report

This week's Illinois Weather and Crop report is showing 78% of corn and 73% of soybeans in the good to excellent range.  Very few reporters are reporting topsoil moisture as short anywhere in the state.  Some are still reporting subsoil moisture as short, but even if that is a valid observation, will it translate into short yields?  We are getting to the time of year when a timely rain or two will produce good yields.  It is also surprising considering our cool spring that our growing degree days since May 1 are near normal.  This week's report seems to show optimism among the reporters.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Marestail -One Tough Weed

Many weeds can be tough to control, but not many are worse than marestail.  Marestail used to be an edge of the field weed that we did not worry too much about.  Now it is not unusual to find it covering fields.  We try to control it early in pre-plant treatments, but in some fields that is not enough.  This article out of Ohio State University says that there are a few options to try for Post-emergent marestail control.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Conservation Stewardship Program

THe most recent farm bill eliminated a number of specially earmarked conservation programs and put funding to address those resource concerns into programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).  CSP has been around for a while with limited funding.  The new farm bill has made it one of NRCS's bread and butter program.  It funds the so called "good" players in the conservation world.  Producers are rewarded for their good stewardship, and encouraged to enhance the conservation work they have already implemented.

Projects are ranked based at least partly on enhancement practices that may further improve conservation on the land.  Precision farming practices are one of the enhancements.  Others include, cover crops, soil testing,tissue testing, drainage water management, nitrogen management, integrated pest management, and transition to organic farming.  The link above will give you information and has other links to lead you through the whole application process. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Elderberry Blooming

Elderberry is a native shrub and valuable as a food source for wildlife.  It is not aggressive like honeysuckle and multiflora rose, so it can be planted and used without creating a nuisance. Elderberry is also used as a medicinal plant.  I have had some very credible elderberry wine.  USDA's fact sheet contains lots of information about Elderberry.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Raspberry Season Started

One of the pleasures of outdoor work is getting to eat wild berries right off the bush.  Mulberries have been available for a week or 2.  They can be refreshing when you are thirsty, but the are sort of bland.  My favorite is black raspberry shown below.  They are just starting to ripen.  I am going to miss finding blackberries this season because of being finished with field work.  Vines are thick with blackberries, but they are very green. 
Wild Black Raspberry

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Last Day of Spring Sampling

We wrapped up our spring sampling season today. It looks like just in time for the heat to set in.  I had to walk a corn field because it was too tall, but the soybeans I sampled were not too far along.  I did see some one who was still planting soybeans near Shipman.  The respite is temporary because we will have limited acreage of wheat ground to sample in a few weeks.  We will also be sampling a limited amount for soil health tests through the summer.  There are also field days and programs coming up..

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jerseyville and Hardin today

Soil Sampling season is winding down.  We worked in the Jerseyville and Hardin areas today.  Crop condition is excellent for the most part. Moisture is good with a few of the retest areas showing a bit of stress from the wetness.  Average corn height is 3 feet.  We are expecting lots of tasseling by July 4.  Some soybeans were planted late and on a few areas, some remain to be planted, but many of them have 3 or 4 trifoliates.  Some are running board height on the four wheeler.  We have seen few disease or insect issues so far.  Lots of people are hoping for  a few more days of dry weather to get caught up on spraying.  Wheat is starting to head toward maturity.  I have not really done a flag leaf survey, but I expect some disease -r0bles because of moisture. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pollinators Week

This week is National Pollinators Week.  The Pollinator Partnership has lots of information to check out.  We often think of honey bees as pour primary pollinators, but in the wild, Wasps, Bumble Bees and Solitary bees all play a roll in assuring we have the fruits and vegetables we like to eat.  Pollinators are also important in assuring we have seed for our forages. 

USDA also has information on pollinators.  Xerces Society is an excellent source of information on pollinators.  Here is a list of foods that require insects for pollination.  This booklet looks like an excellent source of information.  The good news is that you don't need to be a big land owner to have an impact; every back yard can be enhanced to support pollinators. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Today I am Judging Conservation Projects at the 4H fair.  Tomorrow, our Pastor is giving his farewell sermon, so I needed an alternative day to spend with my Dad to celebrate Father's Day.  Friday, I took him a card and a small gift.  He asked me if I had time to help him get the John Deere R home from another farm.  He said the starting motor has water in the crankcase and he wants to repair it.  The R is the first diesel made by John Deere.  It has a small gasoline motor to start it.

We had to pull it to start with the John Deere A below.  Both of these tractors were rescued from the scrap heap by my Dad.  The R had a broken gear in the rear end.  Dad ordered a new one from John Deere and it has been running ever since.  Lately it has been used as a log skidder, but really needs new tires for that kind of work.  The A had a cracked engine block.  It was rescued from the farm that is currently Anne Briar Golf Course near Waterloo, IL.  Dad bought a new block for it and my classmates and I overhauled it when I was a senior in high school.  It is currently used as the snowplow tractor for a tenant in an old farm house. 

Dad celebrated his 85th birthday in December.  You can see that he is still active.  I hope everyone enjoys their time with Dad this weekend as much as I did. 
Dad Driving the John Deere R

John Deere R

John Deere A

Friday, June 13, 2014

Wheat Maturing

Wheat is starting to turn in Mt. Olive area.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Update on Brazillian Corn

By Eduardo Paim:

Yesterday I saw that news in the state of ParanĂ¡ and Santa Catarina (Brazil) excessive rain began to damage corn that will be harvested. We will follow up here and see if we can really start talking about decreases for these two states. In Mato Grosso the second corn crop is still undefined. We missed a lot of rain for the development and in late April rains that fell help some, but I do not know how much help. We have little corn sold here in Brazil, certainly when we start harvesting have many offers and this should help keep prices low as to leave the excess of the market. The price of corn here will still be a big surprise, everybody who already expects low prices to rise will be a party! As you say, there is no awe soldier in the trenches, so I always remember!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Time to start planning cover crops.

Many farmers attend training seminars and spend the winter planning their cropping system for the coming year.  Summer is for scouting and field tours.  That is a good, but if you are interested in cover crops, now is the time to start planning what you want to plant and when for this fall. Ideal planting time for may cover crops is Mid-August to  Mid-September.  Some corn was planted in time to meet the deadline.  Some was not.  If you are not going to be able to plant after harvest, then alternatives will be needed.
  • Can you do aerial seeding? 
  • Can you find high clearance equipment?
  • Should you try something that can be seeded later?
  • Are you wanting to scavenge nitrogen?
  • Do you want to build nitrogen?
One place to start your decision making process  might be the Midwest Cover Crops selection tool.  The tool can help you decide what cover crop will meet your management style and  cover crop goals.

Also keep in mind that now is also the time to figure out how you are going to kill that stuff in the spring or winter.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Recent Rain

Moisture conditions in our area have had a boost from recent rains. We have been probing moist topsoil ll spring, but there have been concerns about drought.  Subsoil has been moist when I have done septic tank borings, but our recent rain should give us hope of a good crop.  July and August rains will be needed to have the bumper crop that USDA is forecasting.  Yesterday, we sampled fields that were almost too wet. We will not be sampling except possibly on foot for a few days.    The map below is the past 3 days rainfall totals in our area.  Click to enlarge.
Past 3 days rainfall 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Gillespie High School Gym Restored

I am happy to report that Gillespie High School Gymnasium is restored about  a year after being damaged by a tornado.  It looks better than ever.
Gillespie High School Gym 5/31/14

Gillespie High School Gym 6/1/13

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Passing of the Seasons

I stopped at the Litchfield overpass yesterday to get a long overdue passing of the seasons photo.  The field in the foreground is replanted in a diamond pattern.  The 2nd photo shows it better.  I am not sure the whole field needed replanting.  The pattern is fine.  Be sure to do population  checks before replant. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Soybean Condition Today

We sampled mostly soybeans today.  The furtherest along were in the third trifoliate.  Many are in the bifoliate stage, some are just emerging, and some are yet to emerge.  There are still some fields to plant, but it looks like we are over 90% done.  I saw some insect feeding on the leaves, but could not figure out what was munching.  Maybe bean leaf beetles.  They do not tend to do economic damage at this stage. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Herbicide Damage in Soybeans

Earlier in the spring I saw some early planted soybeans that just did not look healthy.  There are plenty of things that could cause problems in early planted soybeans.  Dr. Aaron Hager of University of Illinois recently posted an article on the University IPM website about herbicide damage.  He suggests reading ratings guides to determine potential for herbicide damage from various products.  Stand counts should determine the need to replant.  Different varieties have vulnerabilities as well.  All the experts are encouraging use of soil applied herbicides, but we need to do so with caution. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Soil Moisture

We have worked in areas that run the gamut as far as soil moisture is concerned.  Yesterday, Menard County crops were showing moisture stress especially on sandy soils.  Overnight, they got two inches of rain.  Somewhere between an inch and a half inch fell last night in my area.  Crops that have also been dampened by isolated thunderstorms have more than enough moisture, but the coverage is incomplete.  I have only bored dry holes on hayland.  We  hope today's moisture will help make up for slow early growth.  The area below near Palmyra is showing stress because of too much moisture.  topsoil was wet and rubbery about 5 inches down.  This area likely has standing water on it today.                                    

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Corn Update From Brazil

By Eduardo Paim:

Since Saturday May 31,  we are getting heavy rains in Mato Grosso, and this will greatly help the corn that was very ugly without rain for over 30 days. I believe the rain we are having will not recover 100% of corn production, but it will help. In 20 days we will begin the corn harvest and I'll tell you how it goes here. In the states of ParanĂ¡, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina we have enough good corn, but the Mato Grosso is one of the largest producers of Brazil, and it makes much difference in the final average.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Miles Cemetary

The past weekend we had a family gathering and my brother suggested we visit Miles Cemetery, a historic cemetery in Monroe County over looking the American Bottoms near the little burg of Fountain.  When I was a boy we went there several times to enjoy the view.  In 1993 many people visited the area to see the flooded Mississippi River.  The cemetery covers a good bit of American history in the area.  The sign says the first person buried there was Rachael Bond, the wife of Judge Shadrach Bond who's farm was below the cliff.  She was the aunt of Shadrach Bond, the first Governor of Illinois.  Revolutionary War veteran James Garretson's grave is well marked.  He is joined by veterans of the War of 1812, the Blackhawk War, the Mexican War, and the Civil War.
The Cemetery fell into disuse and disrepair in the 1950's.  The Mausoleum was vandalized and remains were stolen.  23 of 56 crypts had been used.   

Charles Louer was the last person buried in the cemetery.  He was a well known local farmer and levee commissioner.  We baled hay and straw for Mr. Louer many times.  My brother and I also worked on the levee with his hired man when we were in high school.

My dad related a story of attending a funeral there when he was a small boy.  The man being buried wanted a band to play at his funeral, so the Columbia, IL Municipal Band came to do the honors. 

It was nice to see the cemetery restored.  Because it was overgrown for many years, I did not realize how big it was.  Unfortunately, many grave markers were also broken off and stolen by vandals.  Many of those graves are marked only by a concrete post.  I am curious if there are records of burial locations.

The view of the Mississippi River Bottoms is spectacular.  Early settler, Stephen W. Miles is said to have owned all the land in view at least in Illinois at one time.  I was able to get a shot of  one of our neighbors getting his land ready to plant soybeans.  
Miles Cemetery Marker

Miles Cemetery

Miles Mausoleum

Miles Crypts
Charles and Muriel Louer Grave

Farming in the American Bottom

Miles Cemetery in the Center at Top of Bluff

James Garretson Grave

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Wheat Condition

Soft Red Winter wheat in Monroe County is starting to mature and change color.  That usually means that wheat harvest is two weeks away.  Wheat is still looking ok despite damp weather earlier this spring.