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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

John Deere Factory Tour

About a month ago, I was flattered by an invitation to attend John Deere's Media tour prior to the Farm Progress show.  I decided to accept the invitation thinking I might learn something valuable to my customers and readers.  I am not going to tell you to only buy John Deere.  I do understand that they were putting their best foot forward to impress the ag media in attendance.

We started off the day with a lurch followed by a factory tour.  We spent a good deal of time watching the sprayer assembly line.  The "factory" was clean and orderly.  The whole area was under roof and climate controlled.  Tour guides told us that all sprayers on the line were sold.  They said that John Deere keeps no inventory of any farm equipment.  No photography was allowed in the assembly line area.

Subject matter experts discussed "new" products available for maybe 3 hours.  We learned about a high capacity nutrient applicator, row guidance for sprayers, Starfire GPS receivers, and Maxemerge row units.

Of interest to me was the number of partnerships and cooperative agreements and joint ventures they discussed.

After a break, we went outdoors for some parking lot demonstrations and too look at some historic equipment.  I will share more about the equipment tomorrow.  We were able to mingle with the subject matter experts and ask individual quests during a reception and dinner. It was certainly an interesting adventure.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Soybean Problem Area

Great looking field of soybeans except for this one little problem.  

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Monroe County Harvest

Several people are harvesting corn in Monroe County.  Some varieties are lodging badly.  Corn is mature.  No yield report.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Degree Day Calculator

Living plants and plant pests develop according to degree days.  A calendar does not provide an accurate forecast for scouting for various pests.  University  of Illinois has developed a degree day calculator to help farmers determine when to look for various insects and diseases.  It is kind of late for this year, but the calculator might be a good tool for next year.  Keep in mind that degree days will vary field to field, so it is best to have temperature readings close by.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Montgomery County Yield Survey Results

The Montgomery County Yield Survey is complete for 2016.  The survey is usually pretty close on countywide yields.  Two points are surveyed per township.  Township results my show a trend, but they are not all that accurate.  Check it out.  I think that many will be surprised at how low some of them are, but a dry June reduced yields in some fields and on some varieties.  190 bushel corn is not bad.  I think some were expecting more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Corn maturing fast

I went to St. Charles County Missouri today to deliver recommendations.  The Illinois leg of the trip showed very little mature corn. In Missouri however, I estimate 25 to 30 % of the corn is mature.  Clients are planning to start harvest next week.  Yields are expected to be variable.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Corn Harvest Started

I have reports out of Monroe County that corn harvest is underway.  I am sure it is not dry corn.  Also saw a facebook post that silage is being chopped.  I know that is not the same as corn for grain, but the time is upon us.  I have not seen much corn that is even black layered, but I know the corn being harvested to the south was planted in March, so it is probably mature.  Montgomery County Extension is hosting their annual yield tour on Wednesday.  I am eagerly awaiting their reports.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sources of Palmer Amaranth in the Midwest

It is a really bad year for Waterhemp in our area.  Palmer Amaranth is closely related, and vigilance is needed to keep it under control.  Beware of sources that may bring seeds to your area.  I have seen Palmer Amaranth in Bond County that came in Cottonseed dairy feed products.  The seed runs through the cow and you spread it on your fields.  Another source may be CRP seed.  This article out of Ohio from No-Till Farmer suggests screening CRP mixes to get rid of Palmer Amaranth. I have heard reports of dirty seed out of Iowa as well.  Also, be sure clean harvest equipment when moving from infested fields.  University of Arkansas is suggesting the only way to control Palmer Amaranth is total eradication.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Weedy Soybeans

Lots of soybeans are getting weedy.  I am not sure of herbicide program in these fields, but the bottom two fields missed the mark.  The top photo shows fairly clean beans.  Only a few stalks of corn are poking through.  The beans in the middle photo look pretty good over all , but there was a conspicuous gap in spray coverage.  The bottom photo shows a field where late season weed control is not good.  Last week on the way to Kentucky, I noticed weeds especially bad in the middles of 30 inch rows.  I could not find that today. Probably 80 to 90% of the weeds are waterhemp.
Fairly clean

Sprayer Gap in  the Middle


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Green Clover Worm Moths

The last few days we have been seeing lots of green clover worm moths. They are dark gray in our area, but other colors are out there too.  Thanks to Stephanie Porter and Kelly Estes for helping with identification.  The one below is not pretty because I smashed him a bit to take the pic.  Purdue University gives advice on scouting and economic thresholds.  I our area, it may be worth a look in your fields judging from the number of moths I am seeing.  As with many insects, the worms are the problem.  The moths just show potential.  Kelly Estes shared an article from 1998 that says in general they are more of a nuisance than problem.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Enjoying Kentucky Ag Products

Our annual consultants meeting was in Lexington Kentucky.  It is located in Bluegrass Country and is a beautiful part of the state.  There are also several bourbon distilleries in the area.  We toured Four Roses Distillery and Woodford Reserve Distillery.  Actually Four Roses does not use andy Kentucky farm products.  They get their corn from Indiana and Rye and Barley from other states. Woodford Reserve uses Kentucky corn, but rye and barley from other states.  At Four Roses, we were not able to see the process in person, because of active construction to allow expansion.  The staff was very hospitable.  Both distilleries had a tasting room to sample the products.  The Photos below are all from Woodford Reserve Distillery.   The basics are the same.  Bourbon is made from at least 51% corn mash and must be aged in charred Oak Barrels.  Each individual distillery adds character to their products in different ways that create subtle little differences.
Woodford Reserve Fermentation Building Notice the Millstone
Fermenting Mash
Distilling Room
Aging warehouse

Bottling Room

Tasting the Results 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Running out of Nitrogen

I made a trip to Virden today to have my truck worked on,  The most interesting thing I saw is that much of our corn appears to be out of nitrogen.  Especially in wet area.  If you want a post mortem to see how you did in supplying your corn with nitrogen, you should look into doing some stalk nitrate testing.  Combining with a soil nitrogen test is a good idea to.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Expecting Record Yields?

In general crops in Illinois look tremendous, but get into the fields and look around and some may not be so great.   I am seeing fields that were set back a bit by our dry June.  I also see fields that appear to be running out of nitrogen especial in wet spots.  Yes it looks like a very good year in terms of yield, if not financially.  Emerson Nafziger offers some observations and advice about looking at your corn now to see which hybrids are performing.  Some may not be filled as well as you would like.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Manganese Deficiency in Soybeans

Soybeans in this field are chlorotic, likely because of manganese deficiency.  One possible cause it glyphosate.  The Pioneer Seeds article suggests that the solution may be as simple as how chemicals are mixed.  Some people say this is not a yield problem, but it looks pretty bad to me at least inthis field.  Any easy solution is to not use glyphosate every year.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Cover Crop Time

If you have not planned your cover crop strategy for the fall, now is the time to think about what you want to do and get set up to do it.  This Prairie Farmer article gives some ideas.

The easiest to do is cereal rye after corn in fields where you are going to soybeans.  Corn planted in to cereal rye is not for beginners, although I know some people who are doing it.

In thinking about cover crops, set your goals in order to decide what ti plant.  Midwest Cover Crops Tool can help in decision making.

Cover crops can help with weed control, improve tilth, build organic matter, and help implement No-Till.