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Monday, July 27, 2015

Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy

Illinois is implementing a voluntary nutrient loss reduction strategy.  The strategy was developed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the University of Illinois, The fertilizer industry, and commodity groups active in Illinois.  The purpose of the strategy is to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous entering the hypoxia zone in the Gulf of Mexico. You can help to implement the strategy by applying phosphorous and potassium according to soil test indications.  You should consider applying nitrogen according to the Nrate calculator.  In season nitrogen tests and chlorophyll sensors are practices that might be useful to make in season corrections.

Another key to reducing nutrient loss is reducing soil loss on your farm.  High residue levels and no-till are very effective in soil loss reduction.  Sediment basins, grassed waterways, and filter strips can also be useful in keeping nutrients on the farm.  Safe manure handling is also part of the strategy.  It is time for farmers to get serious about the strategy to avoid further regulation.  A lot of environmentalists are saying it can't be done.  We all need to work together to prove them wrong.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Elk in Iowa

I was able to photograph the Elk below at Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge in Iowa.  They are in an 800 acre confinement, not on the loose.  The confinement also contains Bison.  Most of the refuge is restored prairie.  There is also some effort being made to restore savanna habitat.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

On the Fence about Cover Crops?

If you are still thinking about whether or not to plant cover crops this fall, it is decision time.  If you are deciding on species, The Midwest Cover Crops Council can help.  Species to choose depends on goals, desired planting method, desired kill method, and planned crop for 2016.  If you are deciding on fields, pick your least productive.  You are likely to get a quick response on poor ground. You need to get seed ordered now.  You need to figure out how you are going to plant now.  If you plan to fly seed on, you need to line up a flyer now.  We have seen some good results with cover crops including better weed control, better crop vigor, and excellent control of wind erosion.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pella Industry

Pella, Iowa impressed me as a neat little city with a lot to offer.  Of course there are grain elevators, but also tourism, and manufacturing. Vermeer and Pella Window and Door both make great products and help keep the community viable.  In addition to Red Rock Lake, Tulip Time and lots of small businesses draw on tourism.  Two agro-tourism businesses we visited were Frisian Cheese and Tassel Winery.  
Pella Elevator

Tulip Time stage


Monday, July 20, 2015

Corn Harvest in Brazil

By Eduardo Paim:

Here in Mato Grosso in areas that are reaping corn safrinha (second crop) 2015 producers are not very happy with the production, they expected average harvest of 130 to 140 bags per hectare, but are noticing a reduction of 15% in production. The problem is not only in reducing production, farmers are reaping poor quality corn, with moldy corn, and burned up with a white layer of plaster.

I heard the same reports to the State of Parana.

Producers are putting the bad quality of and low productivity on diseases, because there was too much rain that caused these problems.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Road Trip to Pella, Iowa

We took a road trip this weekend to Pella Iowa to visit family.  The Route out took us to Quincy then north to Muscatine, Iowa where we turned a but south then west to Pella.  The return trip was through Rock Island then over to Wyoming and thru Peoria turning south at Morton.  Crops looked decent North of Carthage, IL and on to Pella.  Return trip Crops looked decent as far south as Princeville, IL.  From there on, yellow and drowned corn was the rule.  I also have from a reliable source that says crops in Northern IL look much worse than even in our area south of Springfield.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tile Still Running

Tile outlets are still running.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Passing of the Seasons

Route 66 Praire is still not very showy, but you can see a patch of Blackeyed Susans in the middle right.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Clear Morning

Last night several storms moved through our area, but my rain gauge only had 1/10th inch.  I am sure that most people in the area had much more judging from the water in the fields as we drove home from Carlinville last night.  

Below is the past 90 days rainfall from NWS.  The red is 25 inches or moree.  The orange 15 to 20 inches.  It looks like southwest Missouri and Eastern Oklahoma are even more wet than we are.  Rivers continue to be high.  Corn and soybeans are both stunted because of the wetness.
90 Day Rainfall

Monday, July 6, 2015

West Alton Area

This whole field was flood damaged in St. Charles County.  There are lots of wet holes and swales.  The good news is that levees are holding.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Farming on July 4

Farmers enjoy a holiday as much as anyone else, but sometime they enjoy it by working. I remember BBQ, family and friends on the 4th, with maybe some beer and soda and fireworks thrown in.  I also remember baling hay, harvesting wheat, baling straw, feeding livestock, gathering eggs, and other farming activities.

Yesterday we enjoyed eating out, visiting relatives, minor league baseball, and Krispie Cream burgers.  Drier weather today gave me  a window to get some more sampling done today. I also saw all of our major ag suppliers out spraying.  Farmers were spraying, harvesting wheat, baling straw, and planting soybeans.  Some of the soybeans were first crop and some double crop. With more rain expected everyone with work to do seemed obligated to do it.

Have a Happy and safe Fourth,