It’s Always Somethin’

Ag-Business 201

Every fall there is at least on obstacle/problem/issue/hair pulling event that keeps us on our toes during harvest. In the past the drying bins have been a hassle to keep running properly with their motors, heaters, stirators.

Last year the combine had to be hauled to the dealership to be worked on. There are certain size service trucks you don’t want to see in your field. I won’t even mention the harvest of ’09. You can read summary post titled I Almost Cried.

To get to this year’s current set back; our truck hauling situation is causing us to make decisions that would have Dr. Winter’s farm management class weeping in their textbooks. (I took Dr. Winter’s class. I know he doesn’t teach it any more. Come on, let me be a little dramatic.) I don’t think I’ll get into the details of the events that led up to now. I’ll just state what the situation is as it stands. We will be picking up the semi that is at the shop right now and bringing it home. The semi we just bought will be fixed and sold with our flatbed truck as trade-in on another truck yet to be determined. William gets to do his wheelin-n-dealin trading trucks which he is pretty good at.

This all comes into perfect timing since the bins are just about full. We will be hauling to the elevators for the duration of harvest. Having two semis should speed up the hauling process tremendously. Just praying that we can keep them running.

3 Videos 2 Days of Harvest

We missed the rain again this weekend. So hauling water for the houses and cattle will continue. But today it drizzled enough to keep us out of the field so I can catch up on my blog posting of harvest. I am continually trying to come up with interesting things to share since driving a combine back and forth in a field is pretty mundane. The following videos pretty much sum up the last few days since my previous post.


Day 7

The boys will be extremely happy when we finally get all the bins full of corn and we move on to some fields away from home. We fill the drying bins. Then once the corn is dry enough we transfer it to the regular bins for storage til winter. Then we move the auger back to the drying bins to fill them up again ’til the corn is dry and repeat. This is the first year that they have spent so much time at this process. I try to warn them that it’s the beginning of many many years.



Day 8

In these two videos taken today, I tried to show the fields after they were harvested. Then the GreenStar monitor shows the yield maps for each field.





Be sure to subscribe to the updates in the sidebar, so you don’t miss a post.

Harvest 11 Day 6

Night Harvest

took this picture tonight with my cheap camera

This morning William and I met someone who is going to drill a well on some ground we own west of us about 2.5 miles from our house. Hopefully they will be able to get the well in soon because driving 16 miles to haul water everyday really sucks.

We finished filling another bin with dried corn this afternoon. Then once we got everything moved around again and after we ate supper, I fired up the combine again. Started another field that was testing 25%. We are trying to get the corn out; so we can build fence around a stalk field we drive through. The pastures have given out because of the lack of rain for 3 months. Once we get them on the stalk field, we won’t have to feed so much of the winter hay.


No Harvest Today

stalk baleThe skys were cloudy this morning. We transfered more corn from the drying bin to a regular bin. William had mowed 5 acres or more of corn stalks to round bale. We use them mostly for winter bedding but the cows do like to munch on them some. So they will help with the amount of hay we will need to feed. After I raked the stalks up, William started baling. He baled up about 40 bales before it started raining. Topping off the bin, we all were soaking wet. We called it a day after putting everything away and covering the auger hopper with a tarp. It was the middle of the afternoon by this time. We decided to go to a movie. No harvest today.

Harvest 11 Day 5

It is definitely a love/hate relationship with the GreenStar. But I did add my first flag to a map today. But I don’t know how to remove it. I was on the end rows dumping into the grain cart just figuring out the flagging. And I did make a new home page with the flags in the layout. I should have taken a picture of the screen. Will do that tomorrow and show you. William didn’t seem all that impressed with these accomplishments. He just said, “But you don’t know how to remove the flag.” He didn’t score many points today.

Event of the day: Our first breakdown. The chain that drives the right side of the corn head broke. You know about this problem quickly when you start plowing rows of corn. This is a messy fix since the chain is in a sealed oil bath. We got it fixed and running again. I ran the combine ’til about 5:30 when we had enough wet corn in the bin. Next we moved augers and wagons to transfer corn from the first drying bin to a regular bin with a fan. William will fill that bin tomorrow morning.

Combine corn head

William fixing the chain on the corn head.

If you would like to follow along with us during harvest, subscribe to the updates in the sidebar. New posts will be sent to your email.

Harvest 11 Day 4

Not taking it too fast yet. The corn is still a little wet at 24%. It is still averaging 175 bushels/acre. I would say we took out about 35 to 40 acres today. The guys switched to another drying bin after filling the first.

I am having a little difficulty getting the GreenStar screen to display the info I want. I got the acres for the individual fields to show but now I can’t zoom in and out of the map. Will be pecking away at it again tomorrow. There are some tile risers I want to flag on the maps. So I put out a tweet asking how to do that. @AaronBokeck was nice enough to tweet back the steps. Thank you. I was thinking that if I had auto steer on the combine I could tweet a lot more. 😉

Harvest 11 Day 3

Harvest 11 Day 3 Had .4 of rain that was mostly drizzle for a day. But when the clouds cleared the next afternoon we went back to the field.

William is teaching Z to run the grain cart. Lord help him.

Nate from Wyffle Seeds came by and road in the tractor with William. He was talking about some seed corn will be scarce next year because of the terrible growing conditions this year.

Need to get more podcasts on my ipod. I’m running out of shows to listen to. Hauled more water at dusk.

Harvest 11 Day 2

Another slow day. William and Bella had to take a few steers to the sale barn. Then it was left to the boys and I to handle the corn. The field we are in is close to the bins so we don’t have to haul it too far. Becker showed up to run the grain cart. Unloading on the go, is much faster. We put two cameras on the grain cart; one to see behind the cart and one to see inside the cart to watch the corn dumping. I’ll get some pictures or video on them.

The cattle haulers returned home. Next they had some cattle rustling to do. They were moving cows and calves around to get ready for weaning. Only one calf escaped but they quickly corralled him back into the lot.

Late after noon, it started to drizzle enough that we had to stop the combine. The video below was taken just before then.



Harvest11 Day 1

I have to decided to capture this harvest season day by day as much as possible. We have started pretty much on schedule with only a few “hiccups”. Stopping and starting because of cattle work, wells going dry, hauling water, meetings, drizzle ect. The corn is testing around 22%. So we can only fill the drying bin so much at a time.

Day 1:weigh wagon

Mike came with his weigh wagon to calibrate the GreenStar monitor. Got the cheat sheets out to remind me of what buttons to push. Only had to call the guys at the dealership twice for all the different settings. At the Farm Progress show, we were told that the dealership will be able to see our screen on their computer to see what in the world we are trying to describe.

The kids have cleaned out the bins and replaced the doors. The boys’ job is to watch the auger dump loading the bins. Bella is to keep track of the pastures and water situation.

The following video is a short one. It was taken before I had the idea of a daily harvest log. If you would like to follow along with our daily harvest activities, subscribe to the post updates in the sidebar. New entries will be sent to your email. And ask any questions you might have.


Apex mapping is done

Yield Map Scott at our dealership will be elated to know that I am finally done working on the yield maps for 2010. You would think that it wouldn’t take much. Just print them out. Wishful thinking. We adjust each field for actual yield from elevator ticket totals making the maps more accurate. I had to calculate the total bushels from the tickets to the dry weight. This wasn’t hard just took time since there are about 35 individual fields. We had replant fields that had to be merged with the rest of their field since they were harvested on a different date. Hugo (I think that is what he said) at Apex support helped me with that maneuver. Then I had to go back and resize the small maps after I figured out how to enlarge them. Here is an update Apex could work on that would save a ton of time: If the map page with the legend below would give the perimeter of the map on the  print out or exported file. Then I wouldn’t need to go back and forth adjusting the placement of the map to best fit in the allotted space.

If you click on the map image it will take you to the full size file. This corn field is in Salt Creek bottom. The map shows the water damage from the wet spring. On the north the red shows the flooding from the creek. On the south water drains from a couple of hills toward the creek. Where the green shaded areas appear to the west, that is the sandy soil where the yield is usually the worst. While we have seen some good prices for the 2010 crop, we had below average yields. I’m off to email the maps to our landlords. I hope I can remember how to make all the map adjustments next year or Scott will wish I lost his number.