Category Archives: Farming Update

Falling Weather

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

Rosie and Guildy are still good. They look like they’re finally growing. They’re still spending most of the day hiding under something, but they do come out and go in by themselves morning and night so that’s progress.

We lost one of the creamy colored adult ducks. Still the two black and white, one creamy, one poufy, and 6 mallards. And two guineas. And roughly 52 chickens. Daily egg count is somewhere between 7 and 12, down from summer peak. Newest hens haven’t started laying yet; late October they’ll be 6 months old and they start laying somewhere in there.

This is Rooster #3 — Kelly calls him ‘Top Gun’ because he thinks he’s hot stuff.

Some of the latest batch of chickens have more black around their eyes than other years. They are ‘Black Australorpe’ breed and they have good longevity, but they can be kind of ornery. I like them. Most chickens in a close up just look ornery.

I’ve been busy at the theaters this week. The HVAC being installed brought in a scissor lift and I use it when they’re not. Replaced a bunch of non-functioning fluorescent lights in the theater with LED retrofit kits. Pulled down all the cables for the stage lights so we could redo them. (It just turns into a rat’s nest after a while. Good to pull down and start fresh.)

Created some new doorways and redid other odds and ends over the summer break between shows. On Saturday all the platforms for the seating are going back in place so I must finish the bulk of the work that I want with the lift before that.

I’ve been saying there’s not much happening on the farm. That’s not true. I’M not doing much on the farm, but there’s a lot happening. The corn and beans are both maturing and drying out. Beans are losing their leaves and drying down, corn is turning brown, maturing, and drying out. Birds are migrating, bees are busy, deciduous trees are turning colors, the world rotates, planets are moving, the moon changes phases… there’s a lot happening. Just not by me.

I watch some youTube farming channels; they’re busy getting things ready for harvest. Soybeans could be going in our area in another week or two.

The pod right in the center of the photo has 4 beans in it. BONUS! Most only have 3. Four isn’t unusual, but it’s not the normal either. See the pods at the very top of the plant? Those are the ‘bonus’ pods. Not only because the deer didn’t eat the buds off the top, but the plant develops from the bottom up, so the better the conditions, the better resources the plant has, the more pods it can create. It’s looking like a pretty good year for my crops. Knock on Wood.

WHO HAVE YOU KNOWN, OR DO YOU KNOW, THAT LOOKS ORNERY BUT WASN’T OR ISN’T? 

OR ARE THEY?

DO YOU HAVE AN “RBF”?

September

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

Our two ducklings are doing well. Kelly has named them Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Rosie and Guildy for short. They seem to be afraid of everything. Mostly they spend the day hiding. But considering they’ve lost seven of their siblings, and the whole animal ‘fight or flight’ mentality, maybe they’re the smart ones and that’s why they’ve survived this long. And they just learned to walk up the board ramp to go in at night on their own, so that’s pretty smart of them! No more trying to wrangle them in at night. Now we’re trying to see if they’ll come out on their own in the morning so we don’t have to chase them out.

The other morning I watched a hawk swoop right down over the pen and then sit in a nearby tree. R & G weren’t out yet, but that might explain why some of their siblings disappeared. A few minutes later, when I was in the shed letting them out, a brown chicken hopped down out of the rafters right in front of me. Scared the bejezzus out of me. (By the way, when I dictated “bejezzus“ into my phone, it translated as “big Jesus” and I thought well, that works too). It scared the big Jesus out of me.

Still not much happening on the farm, beans are turning yellow, corn is drying up. I’m keeping busy with more summer projects at one theater and working on our fall show at the college. Sure has felt good to put on my toolbelt  again. Man, am I out of practice. Doesn’t take much to wear me out. Course I haven’t really done much this whole calendar year. Building up my endurance. I did haul a 50 lb bag of chicken feed over to the chickens and dump it in the wall feeder. And put two bags of water softener salt in. Progress! 

I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on the garage steps just watching our little corner of the world. It’s nice.

Our apples and pear trees are overloaded this year. In fact they are so overloaded they broke a few branches on the apple tree. Yeah, it needs to be pruned. I think they’re Harrelson‘s. They sure are good anyway.

Who knows anything about Minnesota pears? I think they were called golden? They’re small, and green and only get to be slightly larger than a ping-pong ball, and really hard and they do not taste good. Do they ever get better? What do I need to be doing with them?

Kelly and I froze some sweetcorn last weekend. Only four dozen; daughter helped me husk it, and then I cut it off the cobs and Kelly bagged. I remember doing that with my parents, and for a few years my sister would come out to help me and Kelly. It’s a fond memory I have with mom and dad.

WHAT DO YOU WEAR TO FEEL GOOD?

Is It Fall Already?

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

The days are clearly getting shorter. It’s a little discouraging it’s already dark by 8PM. The barn swallows have moved on and the hummingbirds seem to be gone. Maybe the RedWing Blackbirds too. I do enjoy fall. I really like the change of seasons and fall and spring are my favorites. I enjoy the fieldwork and planting crops in the spring, and then fall and the harvest and doing that fieldwork and completing the cycle for another year. Not everyone in the house appreciates the earlier darkness and cooler temps. It’s all good.

Healthwise I’m improving. After feeling like I plateaued a few weeks ago, I can tell a difference again. Got the kidney stone removed a couple weeks ago. Got the stent they placed after that removed the other day (Lots of new experiences!) I can stand on one foot for a few seconds. Left knee will hurt until I get it replaced, but I’m walking better and driving and even climbed up on a box to reach something the other day. I even went to the car with both hands full one morning! AND I stepped over the dog in the kitchen! Getting there!

The sandhill cranes were out in the pasture this past Thursday. It was really nice to see them. Thanks to Steve for sending them our way…

Header photo is neighbor Dave’s cows. Kelly took a walk one night and was talking to them.

Chickens and big ducks are doing well. I went out to do chores and they came running.

We’re having a tough time with the ducklings. Down to two.

The one with the bad leg didn’t make it. And one day I let three out, and an hour later, one of them was dead. I don’t know. Fingers crossed for these two.

Crops are looking good. Corn stalks are starting to dry out and the kernels are dented. There’s still milk in the kernels, but it is coming along.

Multiply the rows around (16) and kernels in the length (36) = 576 kernels on this ear. Then we count the number of ears in 17.5’ (remember we counted the plants this spring. That’s 1/1000th of an acre) and it will vary, but roughly 30 ears per 17.5’, x 1000 = 30,000 x 576 = 17,280,000 kernels / acre divided by 80,000 kernels / bushel and that gives us 216 bushels / acre. Which is way too high for my farm on average. Factor in the deer damage, corn on the edges that the trees impact, ears that aren’t so good, hope for a late freeze, and well, we’ll see at harvest. But it does look like a decent crop this year.

Who were your neighbors when you were growing up?

Not Much Happening

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

Really not much happening this week. I’ve been at ‘work’ work. Young Padawan started school so he hasn’t been out. We haven’t even got the grass cut in the last couple weeks, but it really needs it and one of us will have to get on that.

I haven’t even taken any pictures of anything farm related this week.

The adult ducks are still well and chickens are all fine. Our duckling number is down to 4. Not sure what’s happen to the others. Plus, mom abandoned them last week. She just flew the coop and joined the other older ducks. One of the four ducklings has a bad leg. Not sure what happen too it, but one leg is bent up over its back so it struggles around on one leg and it’s belly. Been doing that for at least the last two weeks and somehow still managing.

It seems to be a tough time for pets lately. I’ve got a friend whose cat is having health issues and another who just had to put their dog down. The dog people accepted what they had to do even while they cried about it. The cat person doesn’t want to let go and is just angry about everything. It’s hard that we love our pets so much that losing them hurts so much.

I got a call last week to be the ‘Certified Lift Operator’ for an install at the college sports center. The public school district had a ‘welcome back’ meeting last Monday (Public Schools in Rochester start Tuesday the 6th) So a local production company that I work with was hanging a video screen and needed someone to drive the college lift so they could hang the video screen. Back when I was working as a stagehand, there was one old guy that just ran the forklift. I felt like him; I can’t do the harder physical work at the moment, but I can drive the lift! Went back the next day to drive the lift as they took it back down. LED Video screens were just becoming a thing when I quit being a stagehand, so it was really interesting to see how it all assembled (24 – 18”x 18” LED panels that all clip together and then they daisy chain cables for power in and out of each one and another cable for data in and out to each one.) And these screens have become so bright they only run it at about 10% intensity. Full intensity could light up an entire stadium and burn out your eyeballs. 

On the farm I think about how thing have changed. My dad went from horses to tractors. In the winter he put a ‘heat houser’ on the tractor. There was a bit of a metal frame around the seat area, and then heavy canvas wrapped around the engine to sort of funnel the heat back to the seat area. Of course, the back was wide open, but still, it warmed you up as it blew by. There was a plastic windshield too. I remember using that and it was certainly better than nothing. 

We added a cab to one of our tractors when I was maybe 15 yrs old. It didn’t have heat or AC but at least you were out of the elements. In the summer we took the doors and back window off so that was the AC. And I guess technically it had a heater and somehow the hoses connected to the engine, but it never worked. It didn’t blow any air, hot or cold.

When I bought my first tractor in 1986 it had a cab with actual working heat and AC. But dad hated AC and he’d drive with the doors and windows open anyway. Which really made the inside of the cab dusty. He said AC gave him a cold. These days there is so much electronics in the cab, you wouldn’t dare drive with the doors open like that.

The header photo is a group of neighborhood men. I got this photo from a neighbor who knows a few of the men. We’re not really sure what year it was taken or who most of them are.

The drill we use for oats. As a kid I remember an old wooden drill that Dad used. It had big wood wheels and cranks on the back and I think he said it used to be a horse drawn implement and he had rebuilt the hitch to pull it with a tractor. Eventually he bought a different drill. Neither one of them held much seed and he would load the truck with seed and park it at the end of the field, walk back home for the tractor and drill, drive to the field and make about 3 rounds and fill up the drill again. Then move to a different field and go get the truck again.  I remember riding in the truck and moving it up the edge of the field as he needed seed. When I took over, I’d put a bicycle in the back of the truck so at least I could ride that back home for the tractor. (See, I didn’t like walking even then! Huh.) Later on, I traded that drill for a bigger one and it held maybe 15 bags of seed, so I could fill it at home and plant enough that I would just run home again to refill. And a few years later I traded that in for the drill I currently have, and it holds about 22 bags of seed. Again, easier to just run home. Plus, now I have the cameras on it so there’s that.

Our crop timeline here in SE MN is later than farmers to our South of course. Different timelines and different weather. Some farmers are already chopping corn silage or finishing up 3rd or 4th crop hay. Guys are prepping machinery as they could get started on soybeans by the end of the month. Soybeans respond to the length of daylight, so even though they were planted later this spring than last spring, they’ll still ripen about the same time. I’ve seen a few beans starting to turn yellow. Some varieties will ripen sooner than others, but it won’t take long now. Within a couple weeks the leaves will all fall off and the beans will start drying down.  

2427 GDU’s to date. 127 over normal they say. I really have a hard time believing that as cool as it’s been the last month. I’m not sure the online meteorology class I’m taking will cover that. Haven’t read about it yet.

I got a call from the farm co-op saying the price of urea fertilizer is going up and did I want to prepay some now for 2023. Wow. I haven’t thought much about next year’s crop yet. I decided not to prepay yet. If I figure an extra few months of interest against the cost savings, how much would I really save? And it’s possible the price might come down by December. Not likely, but possible.

I learned a new word: “Defenestration” – The action of throwing someone out a window. Seems to be a problem in the USSR.

I did finally get some grass cut. The last few years I’ve been mowing more and more areas out behind the sheds and such. Easier to do that than let it all go to ragweed and wild parsnip. Way off in the boonies I found a garden hose all coiled up and mostly buried in the dirt. Luckily the mower didn’t cut it, just grazed it. Why is there a hose there?? All I can think is, 40 some years ago mom and Dad planted a bunch of trees up there and I remember them watering them the first year or two. Must have coiled the hose up and left it there. It’s a nice rubber hose. The ends still look good and I think it will still hold water! Boy, that’s a good hose!

WHAT DO YOU SEE OUT YOUR WINDOW? TALK ABOUT A RONCO PRODUCT.

Cranes And Stones

Today’s post comes from Ben.

We are thrilled the Sandhill cranes are back. We’ve spotted a pair and heard them flying over a few times and of course I can’t help but think of Steve. His book on sandhill cranes sits on the table and I reference it often. “The Cry of the Sandhill Crane”

I dug up the two oat fields just to keep the weeds down.

Some farmers use oats as a cover crop while another crop is being established; around here generally that’s alfalfa. Since I don’t need alfalfa, (because I don’t have cattle) I just grow straight oats. So I dig the field up a few times after harvest to keep the weeds down. It also adds organic matter to the soil, and I will leave something established before winter to help prevent erosion. Sometimes, after say, sweetcorn or canning crops, something that’s harvested fairly early so there’s plenty of time to grow something else, farmers will plant something to be a cover crop and then when plowed up you get the nitrogen boost from it. I’m sort of doing the same thing with the oat fields. Some of the oats will regrow and I’ll have a nice cover crop before winter.

There was one spot at the edge of a waterway where the giant ragweed was taller than the tractor! Yikes!

Wednesday I was back in the clinic and had a procedure to get that kidney stone removed that I’ve had since May. We called it Petra, Greek for stone. Had a Ureteroscopy. I heard a lot of pretty scary stories, and I’ve got a stent between the bladder and the kidney just to keep everything open. I go back in September to get that removed as an office visit. But really, I’m having no discomfort, I’m glad the stone is gone; one more thing to check off my list.

Soybean are really looking good.

They’re tall and have a lot of pods on them. Notice how low to the ground though the pods are.

At harvest, you have to run the head right down on the ground, not 6 inches up or you miss beans. And that’s why so many guys go over the field with the big rollers after planting, smoothing out and packing down rocks and everything and make a smooth surface so that at harvest, they can cut right down on the ground to get as many pods as possible. I don’t have the roller thingy, but I used a drag to smooth out the lumps.

FAVORITE GREEK FOOD? FAVORITE GREEK GOD?

A Lack Of Busyness

Today’s post comes from Ben

Pretty quiet around the farm this week. With me back at work, I need to schedule farm work around ‘work’ work. Oh, there’s a whole list of things I haven’t gotten done yet this summer, but if I got them all done it would mean I hadn’t scheduled enough, wouldn’t it.

Cooler temps and I like that, but the crops need those GDU’s to reach maturity. We are still 117 GDU above normal for our area. And crops are looking real good so far. Except the dang deer eating the tops off my soybeans.

Nice juicy tender leaves on the top. Man. I am not fond of deer. They like this field back in a corner. No one to bother them… and they must spend hours out there grazing.

Padawan was out one day and we burned a brush pile

we cleaned up and put away some machinery, he cut grass, and I mowed the newly planted CRP to keep the weeds down

(I cut it about 6” high) Plus he learned how to replace a toilet flapper. That may have been the highlight of his day. One thing I think he has learned is that a lot of things take more muscle than he thinks. My answer to most of his issues is “Yank/hit/pull/push it harder”. I had never thought of that before; some things just take a lot of effort. Life Lesson there.

The chickens were waiting not so patiently for Kelly to feed them the other day.

HOW DO YOU OPEN STUCK JAR LIDS?

TALK ABOUT USING FORCE.

It’s Always Something

Today’s post comes from Ben.

It’s been a good busy week.

Last Friday we baled 337 small square bales of straw. Young Padawan stacked 150 in a wagon that will go to the neighboring strawberry farm.

The other 182 went to the pole barn. If you’re doing the math, that doesn’t quite add up. And that’s because we broke two bales and the first three bales out of the baler were hay from the previous baling.

Oh was Padawan in a mood that day. It was warm and there was a good breeze blowing, but he’s really not used to physical labor like this, and he was in a mood about it. I told him it builds character. He and my brother unloaded the bales into the barn.

The baler camera worked great! This photo does not really show much, but if you know how to see the strings, it’s helpful.

We go a nice rain on Saturday. And again yesterday.

Monday, I unhooked the baler and put the loader back on the tractor. As I unhooked the baler, I looked at the left wheel and wondered why it was sitting crooked. Discovered two of the four bolts that hold the axle on were missing. I put some jacks under the baler to take the pressure off the wheel and that became the number one item on the list for young Padawan‘s next visit.

I worked as an election judge on Tuesday. About 31% turn out in our township.

Wednesday, I started back at the college. ‘Work’ work. Classes don’t start until the 22nd and I use this time to check out all the equipment and get things going again. I picked up the choir risers that have been sitting on stage since April, and I still got to get back over to the sports center and get a couple of lights out of the rafters that have been hanging in there since commencement in May.

I feel like I’ve plateaued in my recovery at the moment. Although evidently, I still have a kidney stone. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s still showing up on tests. And if I don’t get that out on my own by the 24th, they’re going in after it. Every day is an adventure!

With me back at the college, and young Padawan starting school in September, I’m not sure how many more days I’ll have his help.

But he was out the other day, and since he worked so hard last week, we made it an easy day this time. The first thing we did was drive to Plainview to pick up some parts from the John Deere dealership. And we had lunch at Dairy Queen, then we went to check on a Township culvert replacement project and watched a skilled operator in an excavator. From there he got to experience some ditch cleanup by picking up a single size mattress and a very large flatscreen TV. Took those to the recycling center.

We fixed the tire assembly on the baler using impact wrenches and large Sockets with extension pipes for torque and he learned about working in uncomfortable positions.

He dumped a bag of chicken feed in the wall feeder, and then we got two chainsaws and it was time to cut up an oak tree that has been blocking a path since it came down in the December storms. I thought I’d be able to help more. But, it’s still tough for me to walk on uneven ground and with the branches and sticks around I didn’t do so we’ll. But he did great!

He got a basic course on chainsaw operation a few weeks ago. We expanded on that. And this was good practice since it was all on the ground and none of the pieces were too large. He got the saw stuck a few times and learned how to ‘read’ the tree and get the saw out BEFORE he wedges it in there. Eventually.

These rains are sure making the crops look good. Oats ended up at 61 bushels / acre which is decent, but nothing to brag about. I’ll blame the deer.

No corn photo this week; it hasn’t grown anymore since the tassle came out the top. Beans are looking real good! They’re waist high. I’m not seeing very much bug damage. Something is eating some leaves, but not enough to be a problem. Yet.

EVER WATCH SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE? FAVORITE CHARACTER OR SKETCH?

WHAT BUILDS YOUR CHARACTER?

Oats Done

Today’s post comes from Ben

Weather warmed up this week, then to cooled off one day, then the humidity spiked again. Cooler next week. Jeepers, roller coaster of weather. They say if you don’t like the weather, to just wait a minute.

I did get the oats cut on Monday. I had to run into a local parts store and buy a new battery for it. The old one was just 2 years old, but it didn’t have any “oomph” for starting. Tried jumping it a couple different way and times and when that didn’t work, I gave up and got a new battery. I figured I don’t need the best battery in here; it only runs a couple days in the summer. Well, all the batteries were $179 plus the core deposit and refund, plus tax and I paid $195. Dang. But it started and I cut the oats. Had no issues, It seemed to cut pretty well, even the downed stuff. Whew! That old machine always makes me anxious. It’s almost as old as me and makes more noises than I do.

Got the oats harvested on Thursday. One neighbor, who usually takes a wagon load, wants it all this year. Which is fine, except having not worked all summer, that oat check is what gets me through the last hump before I start back at the college. And we probably won’t exchange cash here, we’ll just keep track of the total and figure the difference this fall after they harvest my beans and corn. The oats didn’t yield as well as I had hoped and test weight was lower than my usual too. It was planted a little later than usual, the weather was maybe too hot at the wrong times for it. Plus we had mix up with the fertilizer this spring so it’s hard to say why it didn’t do so well this year. There isn’t much oats grown anymore so it’s hard to find out how the neighbors oats did. (I don’t have any neighbors growing oats.)

Next up then is baling the straw. I’m only expecting about 2 loads. One load for the strawberry farm up the road, and one for my customers.

I added a camera to the baler so I can keep an eye on the knotters and strings as the one string gives me more trouble. Seems like something that should be fixable, but I haven’t been able to figure out what’s out of adjustment the last several years… so I added a camera so at least I can see a missing string sooner. Caught soon enough, I can add a piece of twine and tie the string back together. Otherwise I can’t see it until it’s coming out of the baler and then it’s too late to fix. So either I pull it out by hand, or if I miss it there, the thrower knocks it apart and that makes a mess. Expect photos of this next week. 

The corn is looking good. It’s way taller than Kelly now.

Interesting how many plants have 2 ears this year.

When there are plenty of resources and the plant can spare them, resources go into creating a second ear. Usually that also jeopardizes the main ear and you end up with two mediocre ears, rather than one really nice ear.  Notice the kernels are all in there, and the size of the ear was determined way back when the corn was only knee high! And then each leaf node starts to create an ear, then when it reaches tasseling, just the top ones emerge and take priority. So now it’s just getting those silks fertilized by the pollen from the tassel and getting all the kernels to fully develop. Man it’s so cool!

Kelly went out to feed the chickens the other day and they all followed her down there. They sure know the routine.

Baby ducklings are doing well too. Two escaped the other day; they found a little hole in the pen and got out, but I distracted them and Kelly captured them and reunited them with momma. All is well.

WHAT CEREAL DID YOU EAT AS A KID? WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST TODAY?

July is Corn Month

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

They say July is corn month and August is Soybean month. Because July is the critical time in corn development, while it’s August for soybeans.

The corn has tasseled so it’s full height now, the silks are out, GDU’s, while down a bit this week with the cooler weather (which I love by the way) are 1714, 104 above normal.

I’m still mowing weeds, but I expect by the time you read this I will have finished. Or, if not exactly “finished”, given up and quit. The one area I’ve got left to mow is really rough and I will get tired of bouncing around in the cab.

All the crops are looking good, and while I was thinking I’d be cutting oats next Monday or Tuesday, looking at it Thursday shows a lot of green kernels yet so I may wait out next week yet.

The storms last Saturday knocked some oats down and in one field I saw some corn lodged on the edge of the field.

 (“lodging” is basically stalk failure) Oats, As the plant is green and growing it has a lot of give. But as it matures, dries up, and turns golden, the stalk loses its flexibility, meaning it will break off in the wind. And it’s odd, how only certain parts of the fields will do that. Wind is very curious, as the songs from last week’s blog showed. 

You can see from the pictures, only one part of the field went down, while the rest didn’t. And the green weeds still stand up. It’s all interesting.

We got nearly 2” of rain Saturday afternoon and then another .6” Saturday night. Kelly and I drove around in the gator checking on things after the afternoon storm. No trees down at least. And then we found a mama duck and 9 ducklings. Once again, Kelly is wrangling ducklings and I’m pointing and offering unsolicited advice.

Using a fishing net, she captured just about all the ducklings and I could get them in a box. But they’re tiny and a few escaped the net. She chased them down and we cleaned up a side pen for them. Now, just to catch mama. I remember one other year we did this; the mama could track the squeaking of the ducklings and we put up a ramp and eventually she got in there with them for a happy reunion. That wasn’t working this year and Kelly eventually captured her with the net too. Kelly and mama duck were in the pen and I was out in the gator. I heard some noises, and honking, and the doors wiggled a few times, and the mama got her head out the door once. But they’re all together now. We’ll keep them in here for a month or so. Until they’re big enough to survive outside… and we’ll see what happens.

A neighbor about ½ mile cross country from us said he saw two bear cubs playing on a log in his pond the other morning. Some neighbors have seen bears before, and we always assumed they were just passing through. But cubs… I don’t know, that seems like mama bear must be settled in here. Just what we need; another predator. I think it would be cool to see a bear. Long as it’s not eating the chickens. Do bears eat chickens??

CoCoRaHS – Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, And Snow network is an organization I heard about a few years ago. Cocorahs.org

Every day I report how much rain we’ve gotten. Some people report snow depth, and some people have full-fledged weather stations. I just report rain with some minor details like last Saturday’s amount in the afternoon and the evening. It is interesting to me to compare rain events in our area. There are about 14 reporting stations in the Rochester area, and three within a few miles of us. It’s interesting how the rain amounts can vary between us. I got a certificate for 250 reporting observations.

I’ve talked about the barn swallows outside our front door and the nest they’ve had for several years. Well, must be new residents this time around and they do not like us coming and going and they dive bomb us. Even at my car, 20’ from the nest they’re buzzing my head. We keep telling them “It’s us! You know us!”

ARE YOU A FALL RISK? ANY ISSUES WITH ANYTHING FALLING DOWN LATELY?

Progressing

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

I feel like I’ve been busy lately. Nothing important, just… day to day living.

Crops are coming along. I talked with the co-op about spraying fungicide on the soybeans.  I’ve never done it before, but I know some of the neighbors have and they report a good return. It will cost $33/acre to do it. $20 for the actual ground application and $13 for the chemical. Plus, some beans knocked down in the process. If beans are selling at $15 / bushel this fall, I will need the fungicide to increase yield by 2 or 3 bushels / acre to justify the cost. The neighbors have seen 10-15 bushel / acre increase over not treated so we’ll see how that goes. Curiously, aerial application is only $15/ acre! I’ve got too many trees, too many neighboring houses, and too small of fields to use that, but I was really surprised it’s cheaper. I supposed they can cover a greater area faster. It always comes back to efficiency doesn’t it?

My corn will be tasseling any day now. I’ve seen some of the neighbor’s corn already tasseling. Just depends on those GDU. (1559 to date. +110)  Once the tassel is fully emerged, the plant is at full height. Silks will appear in a couple more days and then one or two weeks of pollination begins. There are so many critical things in any plant’s development but getting all that pollen from the tassels to the silks is a big one. The kernel won’t develop if the silk attached to it doesn’t get pollinated. Hard rains, hail, or storms can mess all that up.

And with the heat, some of the corn is curling up to protect it self. This is a rocky area, so the roots are shallow. Notice how the leaves have curled up?

And the oats is turning color, it just needs to keep standing, no wind storms, and hopefully this hot weather doesn’t boil all the milk out of the heads. It should be ready to cut in a couple weeks. Then get it harvested and the straw baled. I only planted 10 acres this year; less than half of normal because I was expecting the knee replacement this summer.

The straw delivery trip to the boonies of Winona last week was a great drive. 119 miles, took a few hours, saw lots of countryside with very little traffic, met a woman named Sunshine, had lunch in a bar in Witoka where my chicken sandwich was actually two chicken strips placed inside the bun. And there was enough lettuce on it to choke a horse and more fries than two of us could possibly eat. We even found the back way into Farmers Park: A minimum maintenance road that was pretty awesome and I’m glad we had the truck. It was washed out and rough with not one, but TWO single lane bridges.

I mentioned taking two hens to a friend. The next day I had a record 22 eggs! We wondered if the other chickens felt threatened and that they better step up production?? But no, couple days later there was only 8 eggs, then back to the usual 15 or 16. Production varies like that.

The little chicks are blending right in.  Here’s some chicken photos including Rooster 3 minus a tail. Not sure what happen there.

That duck in the brush pile ran down to get something to eat one night and that was the opportunity we needed. The pile was burned. The duck was very put out for a couple hours. Sorry. It’s just the way it is.

My brother helped me get the brush mower hooked up and I’ve been mowing weeds in pastures and waterways. Of course I always have my tractor buddy with me. The corn is a tall as the tractor.

If it’s just grass, I’ll leave it standing, no reason to cut it. But there are a lot of thistles, wild parsnip, ragweed, stinging nettles, burdocks, and stuff that needs to be controlled. I’ll spend a few days yet mowing.

My nephew just retired after 25 years in the Air Force. He had the rank of Colonel and was a Base Commander in the St. Louis area. He had a big ceremony last week and some of the family went down. He’s a big nerd and they celebrated that by having several Star Wars characters there in costume. Unfortunately, Covid hit the gathering too.

Read an article about Ukraine; they are big producers of wheat and corn. But with the war, shipping has been an issue so their storage facilities (the ones that haven’t been damaged) are still full of last year’s crops and there’s no room to store this years crop. So they can sell it at a loss just to move it and get the storage facilities empty, but then they don’t have the income to support the families and communities either. Not to mention a shortage of food coming up. And as the war moved on from some of these areas, they needed ‘sappers’ to clear mines and other munitions from the fields, then they had to drag rockets and war detritus from their fields. Not something I have ever imagined doing, thankfully.

Padawan has been trimming weeds, and mowing grass, and he learned the basics on using a chainsaw.

EVER FELT PRESSURE TO STEP UP? WHAT ARE YOU SPIFFING UP LATELY?