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.

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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.


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] is my husband’s website for his farm podcasts.

Anticipation Builds

Planting season is upon us.

Big question is when to start? Do you get the corn in the ground while you can? If you wait will it be too wet later? Will there be a cold snap? Don’t want to run the rotary hoe. Will waiting decrease the chance of diplodia? Let the early planting suckers get it. Everyone has an opinion on when to start. No one wants to be first or last or wrong. Even read a tweet by Jim @tractorattack “Tried the ol indian trick of bare butt on ground. Holy mother of …. ground is dang cold. Not planting this week I guess” Hadn’t heard of that one before but it’s just as good as any other indicator.

We started on the 10th, in a field that can be a mud hole. Then we chose to plant other fields like it that have nasty wet areas that rain can easily prevent us form getting into for awhile. It’s actually a relief to just start.

Here is a video of us planting the field on the 10th. The tractor has auto steer but we ran the markers as a back-up for our fist time. This is the post William refers to in the video: Love by the GreenStar Light


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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.