#Plant14 Arrives After A Long Winter

tractor-planter.jpgThis picture is deceiving. It was cold. The planter is ready to go, but we had to wait a few days to get started. We moved the tractor and planter out of the shed to put more seed corn away.

best-seed-corn-bag-design.jpgStone Seed Group has the best designed bags of the 6 seed companies we bought from this year.

planter-in-mirror.jpgBill started planting late afternoon on Thursday. That way he didn’t start on the dreaded Friday. Also our dually is not a good choice of trucks to take seed to the field. One of the tires drives on the row.

soil-temperature-test.jpgThe sky was cloudy but it was nice temps. The ground temperature at 4 inches was 52 degrees. The ground worked up nicely. William said it was time to go. The auto steer wouldn’t work. Our dealer worked and worked on it but couldn’t make it go. So the old style markers it is. But Bill can’t keep up with twitter. Such sacrifices.

Video of Farm Life Ep. 3

Farm Life in 6 second clips

kinze planter on a John Deere tractor going into transport position, filling the planter with seed corn, corn germinating after two days, switching the planter units over to plant soy beans, farm kids bringing in newborn calf so its closer by the barn away from coyotes, putting the planter away in the shed since storm clouds were approaching. One of our many videos of farm life.

Slideshow of Farm Life May 2013


(click arrow to start slideshow)

As last year had historic drought conditions, this spring has had unending waves of rain. This month alone we’ve had over 10″ of rain. We were able to get all the corn planted and 80% of the beans. But we’ve yet to determine how much replant we’ll have to do. We haven’t had the first cutting of hay which really needs to be done. Very glad May is over.

Fertilizing the Pasture

Fertilizing Pastures

We are fertilizing pastures to help them grow before we put the cattle out on them. William is using FS’s new buggy to spread the the nitrogen. Last year’s drought really took a toll on the pastures. So we are feeding them now before it rains. The rain will help work it into the soil to make it available for the grass roots.


Historic Drought of 2012

Spring of Drought 2012

Since I had my websites combined and professionally revamped, I am behind in my blog updates. And I can’t believe I had forgotten about recording this historic year all summer. But fear not, I took lots of pictures. Believe me it’s all still fresh in my memory if not sweat glands, the details of the Drought of 2012.

Let this be a reminder to all of us. You never know when a season will be noteworthy enough to write about ’til it’s already gone. Please recall the harvest of 2009. Another year etched in my memory. But in our memories is not good enough for future generations. It has to be written down. It’s our children’s children’s heritage.

Okay, enough of the sentimental crap.

Winter was very mild/warmish. There was a late spring frost that killed some other farmers’ early planted corn.

perky 3 leaf corn

Spring planting started off at a very nice pace. Considering for many years in a row, we had too much rain to get into the fields. But we finished planting and were able to go to the Flach cattle show Memorial Day weekend.

theo at flach show

At this time, we weren’t getting a whole lotta rain. But we weren’t too concerned yet. Late last summer it stopped raining and we had to haul water. But we finally put in new wells at our house and grandpa’s. So we weren’t hauling water to the houses any more. But almost everyone else on old wells was dry.

cultivating corn

William dug out the old cultivator that completes the matched set with the tractor.(my opinion) After he drove it into the driveway, Bella asked, “What’s that?!” We don’t use it very much. We debate whether cultivating helps by creating a mulch around the plants or harms by clipping roots and releases moisture.

z and coyote

Z knocked this coyote down in one shot. She was out traipsing in the pasture close to the cows and calves. The pastures were still green. But that will change.

To be continued…

 

Farming Is Not For Control Freaks

Control Issues

If you have been told you have control issues, farming may not be the occupation for you. A farmer could make all the right decisions on seed variety, fertilizer application, marketing grain, even equipment purchases but if Mother Nature turns against him, that farmer’s only power is to mitigate the damage.

John Deere tractor and corn planter

Bettin’ On the Come

I have always said we farmers are gamblers betting on the come. They have huge amounts of input costs to put a single crop in the ground that may or may not produce a profit at harvest time. This is nothing new but very few occupations operate on such slim margins with such little control.

kinzie corn planter

Every Year is Different

With the past four springs, we struggled to get the planting done on our farm because of too much rain. Usually we get most of the planting done in April to early May. These rainy springs we fought finishing planting by Memorial Day and early June. Fast forward to this spring where here on April 8, we are almost done with corn planting. We are having to plant the corn deeper to reach the moisture because the ground is so dry.

corn in planter

Part of the Job

It has been said that farmers are eternal optimists. Well, I know too many farmers to know this isn’t true. Many are just like my husband; waiting for the next down turn. The next down turn in the weather, markets, equipment. Because eventually they will come. But they also know from experience that more often than not they raise a crop and pay their bills. The lack of control of the weather and marketsĀ  is just part of the job. The risks are understood.

A Farm Family Week

A Week in the Life of My Farm Familyboy on tractor

We are a family of 5 (William, me, and 3 kids; 16, 14, & 13 yo). The following is what we did this past week in addition to the daily cattle chores and school work.

Wednesday May 4:

Cultivated ground- 65 acres; planted corn – 170 acres; evening Planning Commission meeting

Thursday May 5:

Helped two heifers have calves; Planted corn – 105 acres; Artificial Inseminated a heifer and cow; Rained; evening Zoning meeting

Friday, May 6:

fields too wet; did book work; washed show heifers; after ground dried planted corn – 15 acres; hauled manure

Saturday, May 7:

cultivated 22 acre field then moved to another field to work gulleys; planted corn in two fields – 90 acres; cleaned the barn; hauled manure

Sunday, May 8: Mother’s Day

After church cultivated 29 acres; planted corn 120 acres

Monday, May 9: Wedding Anniversary

Assisted cow having a calf; planted corn 65 acres; replanted corn on sections of two fields; hauled manure; Artificial inseminated a heifer; went out to eat for anniversary

Tuesday, May 10:

Double disked 30 acres corn stalks where cows over-wintered; planted the field; replanted section of another field; worked on cattle fence; hauled manure; washed show heifers; drained Buttercup’s udder

Wednesday, May 11:

Made 3 trips to pick up more seed corn for replant; replanted on sections of 2 fields; hauled manure; trimmed hair on weaned heifers; washed show heifers; had a rain shower; electricity went out because of storm to the north; went out to eat because couldn’t cook and celebrate finishing corn planting & replant

Thursday, May 12:

Picked up load of soy bean seed; switched planter units over to beans; ect.

A Farm Family Week

A Week in the Life of My Farm FamilyJohn Deere Tractor

We are a family of 5 (William, me, and 3 kids; 16, 14, & 13 yo). The following is what we did this past week in addition to the daily cattle chores and school work.

Wednesday May 4:

Cultivated ground- 65 acres; planted corn – 170 acres; evening Planning Commission meeting

Thursday May 5:

Helped two heifers have calves; Planted corn – 105 acres; Artificial Inseminated a heifer and cow; Rained; evening Zoning meeting

Friday, May 6:

fields too wet; did book work; washed show heifers; after ground dried planted corn – 15 acres; hauled manure

Saturday, May 7:

cultivated 22 acre field then moved to another field to work gulleys; planted corn in two fields – 90 acres; cleaned the barn; hauled manure

Sunday, May 8: Mother’s Day

After church cultivated 29 acres; planted corn 120 acres

Monday, May 9: Wedding Anniversary

Assisted cow having a calf; planted corn 65 acres; replanted corn on sections of two fields; hauled manure; Artificial inseminated a heifer; went out to eat for anniversary

Tuesday, May 10:

Double disked 30 acres corn stalks where cows over-wintered; planted the field; replanted section of another field; worked on cattle fence; hauled manure; washed show heifers; drained Buttercup’s udder

Wednesday, May 11:

Made 3 trips to pick up more seed corn for replant; replanted on sections of 2 fields; hauled manure; trimmed hair on weaned heifers; washed show heifers; had a rain shower; electricity went out because of storm to the north; went out to eat because couldn’t cook and celebrate finishing corn planting & replant

Thursday, May 12:

Picked up load of soy bean seed; switched planter units over to beans; ect.

Farmers in Limbo

We started planting corn this year on April 10. Were able to go for a few days, planting the fields that had wet spots. We knew if it started raining it would be a long time before we could get into them. Then it rained and rained and rained. Never lacking for something to do, we worked on cattle fence and regular repairs. We can never plan on anything because “it might dry out tomorrow and be back in the field”. But we kept waiting because it kept raining. Earlier this week we took a video of the field we first planted right after another rain. That field is nothing to brag about. The stand is uneven and puny mostly from lack of sun and warm weather.

Wednesday we were finally able to get into the fields. That day we planted 180 acres. Then yesterday we got 100 acres in before it rained again. Within 4 more days we could be finished. That is not including replanting the drowned out areas.

This is 4 years in a row that we have had major planting delays because of rain. I am hoping this is not a new normal weather pattern. I know that we are not the only farmers in this situation. There are whole regions of the US still in limbo, chomping at the bit to put seed in the ground. Many have yet to even start. But if farming were easy (or cheap) everyone would be doing it.

How are things progressing around your parts?

[youtube]LeKylWV8pEI[/youtube]
FarmAndRanchCountry.com is my husband’s website for his farm podcasts.

Precision Doesn’t Mean Precise

Precision Ag is not precisely for everyone. Most times I doubt it is for me. It is definitely a love/hate relationship. The clinics that the dealership hosts GreenStarbefore planting and harvest to help with settings are nice but by the time I get home I barely remember the touch pad sequence to enter my farm name. I need a visual aid while I’m in front of the screen.

Let me just say the manual sucks. William and I were trying to set a page to show a coverage map. I read the dead weight manual while William worked the screen. We did every step in the book but it still would not show the map. I finally figured out that instead of selecting enter, the map on the screen had to be selected. THIS STEP WAS NOT IN THE BOOK. After that episode, our marriage still intact, I knew there had to be a better way. And there surely was more farmers out there with the same frustration.

What did I come up with? Video. Most farmers are guys, guys are visual. That’s what William says. Videos are the answer. Either I had to make videos using the #@$% touch screen or find somewhere it had been done. I found two sites. One for GreenStar by a John Deere dealer in Kansas. They have youtube videos that show the touch pad operations from the cab. Their youtube channel has 25 tutorial videos to help operators know which selections to make to set the monitor. The other is for Ag Leader. The made their own videos. Here is the link for those tutorials.

Take it to the cab. Hopefully most of you will have smartphones to be able to see the videos on your phone. The picture might be small but you can hear the steps to follow. Or the ag nerds can take their ipads but they might not admit they need help. Those with ipod touches can download a video converter to watch the tutorials.

Let me know how you remember all the sequences on your screen; and if these videos help you