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…


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?

FarmAndRanchCountry.com is my husband’s website for his farm podcasts.

Farm Disaster Plan

Work the Planice on barbed wire

After reading Purdue’s article on disaster preparedness for farms, I got to thinking about how prepared we are for an emergency on our farm. Although Mr. Cain has some great suggestions, he leaves out significant items necessary for almost every farm emergency.

I liked the idea of  creating a plan to discover potential problems that we might not have thought of occurring. With everyone getting involved I can see some coming up with scenarios that others may overlook.

Crop insurance is pretty much a given. When I think of disaster, I think of dealing with the fall-out immediately afterwards as in a tornado, ice storm, or fire. Crop insurance covers loss of yield from drought, flood, green snap, ect. These usually occur over days to months. They’re not what I consider emergencies.

Keeping important files and papers offsite is fundamental. We have files in a security box at the bank and backup files online regularly. Walking through the a pre-planned exercise would be wise in order for everyone on the farm to know what is expected and what to expect.

The one thing that is not mentioned that I believe is vital is a generator. We have had many winters where ice had knocked out the electricity for more than a few days. Having a generator as a backup energy source was crucial for getting through that time period. Not only for the house but the livestock are dependent on us for their water supply. We have a tractor pto hook up for one site of the farm and a Honda 6500 gas generator for the other.

Have you had a farm emergency at your place? How did you handle the situation?

Tell Your Farm’s Story

I have been working on a presentation that I will be giving to a county farm bureau group next week.  I gave it the title Tell Your Story with the subtitle “You Are Your Own Reality Show”. The group will hear about how important it is for farmers to tell their story to combat all the attacks on agriculture one farm at a time. Farmers are the ones who need to tell their story. It cannot be left up to an organization or association. The public won’t give them a quick glance. But they will respect information coming from the producers mouth.People want to know how food is produced. They want to know how a farm operates. Thinking of this as a reality show, you’ll see people want the inside view. What is really going on. This is what everyone in the ag sector needs to capitalize on, making it personal.

I’ll go through all the websites that I have made, starting from our first basic blog to producing a podcast. And what I have learned in between. The group will build their own site like our farm’s website. They will make it their own with photos and information about their farms. By telling their story, farmers can put a face on agriculture and make it real for the consumer.