McGrew Brothers Farm Journal 2001

I'll try to update this journal every Sunday night. I would welcome any comments, suggestions, or general information you might wish to send.

Thank you, Steve McGrew

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12/30/01: They have hauled most of the cobs out of the building except for about four loads. I think we won't be able to take any more soil samples this year because of the frost. We have been doing some year-end planning and buying. It is still pretty cold out this last week. There is barely any snow on the ground.

12/23/01: It is starting to get colder out now. It is getting below 20 F at night. I am trying to catch up on paperwork now. I am also looking at the yield maps. The antenna seems to be working well on the IPAQ. It is supposed to be 2-5 meters accurate.

12/16/01: We took it easy this week. The weather is still warm but humid. We moved the horses up to the barn. They are going to start hauling the cobs out of the building. We haven't decided if we will sell any more corn this month. The basis is narrow, but it keeps getting better. I have been working on the yield maps. I ordered an inexpensive GPS antenna from Farmworks to put on the IPAQ. I'm very interested to see how it works.

12/09/01: I'm sorry that I'm having trouble posting these last two weeks of journal entries. Our ISP has made some changes that I haven't figured out yet. We finished the corn harvest Monday. The auger broke coming out of the wet holding bin with a few hours of harvest left. We filled the trucks, auger wagons, and combines up to hold the rest of it. The weather is still warm for the season (in the 50's). I went to the Farmland annual meeting in Kansas City.

12/02/01: We have a little over a day left to combine the last of our corn. We have been tight on corn bin space and cob space. They will get two more trucks of cobs tomorrow and four trucks will haul corn to Council Bluffs. The weather has been very generous to us with warm temperatures and little rain. Only about three days this week were very cold. We are finishing up the fields around our farm.

-- missing September through November --

8/26/01: We have been mowing the field edges and buffer strips. A few cornfields in the area have black layered. We are deciding on whether to upgrade our cob cleaning system or not. The old combine is worn out but the price of cobs has dropped this year. Bill picked up two soybean head moving trailers.

8/19/01: Bill hauled the two soybean platforms back from Worthington MN. We received two showers this week that helped out. Some of the areas of the cornfields are drying out. Some of the ears are not filling out to the ends of the cobs very well. The kernels are not very large. The wild sunflowers are starting to bloom now.

8/12/01: It has finally cooled down some this week but still no rain. We have been painting the house. Bill went up to an auction in Minnesota and bought two soybean platforms to replace our soybean row heads. He has to haul them back in a few days. The wetland is filling up and there is getting to be some large flocks of ducks staying there.

8/05/01: It was very hot this week with high humidity and near 100-degree heat. A shaft on the 15' mower twisted off when it hit a coyote den. I guess the slip clutches didn't move enough. The sweet corn is about finished now. We have some thistle caterpillars making webs in a soybean field. I hope we don't have to spray it.

7/29/01: The weather this week was mixed with some very hot days and some cool days with a little rain. The corn is all tasseled out. The soybeans are blooming and many have pods. There are some weeds in the soybeans that may look bad in a month. Some of the later sprayed soybeans turned yellow this year because of the heat and humidity. The wetland reached the 6-foot draw down box. We will raise it another foot but unfortunately it will flood out more grain sorghum.

7/22/01: We had some severe wind damage on the corn this week. Some of it blew over from the strong north winds. It has been extremely hot this week with upper 90-degree heat and high humidity. The grain markets have gone down a lot. We finally bought a digital camera, so maybe I can try to keep the pictures a little more current. I'll try to put some new ones on tonight.

7/15/04: The weeds are really growing now. We have two days left of spraying Roundup on the soybeans. The soybeans are finally starting to grow some now. The wetland is about finished now and it has been filling since Thursday. The draw down structure has been installed. The county fair will start this next Saturday.

7/8/01: It has been very hot again this week. I sprayed some of the terraces for sunflowers with 2,4-D. I am getting behind in spraying the soybeans a second time with Roundup. We have finished some minor work on the wetland. We seeded the dam with oats and bromegrass and have moved another tree pile in the site. We are waiting on a draw down structure to attach to the main vertical tube.

7/1/01: They have finished most of the dam on the wetland area. They need the emergency spillway surveyed to level it and we still need to install the draw down structure. They finished the two nesting islands today. We have been hauling dirt with the tractor and scraper. We sprayed the soybeans with Roundup that were first sprayed in April. I'm afraid that we might have to spray them again later in the season. Bill has been mowing around the fields.

6/24/01: We finished spraying the corn with Basis Gold and Clarity. The boys planted the buffer and filter 10-year reserve strips with big bluestem, indiangrass, and switchgrass. The weeds are really starting to grow now in the soybeans. We will have to spray the next trip of Roundup sooner than we had planned.

6/17/01: We finished planting the soybeans. We are trying to spray the corn post emerge herbicide before it gets too big. They set the tube in today for the new wetland area. They will build the dam after the tube gets covered and the core trench is finished.

6/10/01: We worked a few more days this week after the rains. We have about two more days to plant soybeans. I have one more day of spraying the burn-down ahead of the soybeans. After that I will spray several days of post corn. We've tried to lead the new colt a few times. She doesn't like the halter on.

6/3/01: We were only able to work a few days this week in the fields because of the rain. I'm trying to keep ahead of the soybean planters with the Domain - Roundup. I need to post emerge spray the corn pretty soon also before it gets too big. We had to spray 20 acres of corn for cutworms.

5/27/01: The rain kept us out of the field all week. We started planting soybeans again today. The cold weather also has not been ideal to spray weeds. The weeds don't take in the herbicides very well even if we did spray. The corn is stressed because of the cold and we probably shouldn't spray it either. We should be able to be going again tomorrow.

5/21/01: We finished planting the corn and applying the nitrogen and the corn herbicides. We have only started planting the soybeans. It will take us about 10 days plus rain delays to finish the soybeans. We received between one and two inches of rain all day Sunday. It was getting dry out.

5/13/01: We had a pretty good week of getting fieldwork done. The nitrogen injector has had a few breakdowns. It should get done this week. I have several days of corn herbicide spraying left. We have a full week of corn planting left. We had some heavy rain and large hail (large marble) at our north fields. We were able to work at our south fields after lunch. I'm still very pleased with the handheld computer hooked into the GPS. We ordered one to hook up to the planter receiver also.

5/6/01: It has rained over two inches this week. We planted a little over a day and also ran some nitrogen. It was too windy to spray those days. The wind got over 30 miles per hour sometimes. Some of our fields are getting some tall weeds like pennycress in them. We should be able to get back in the fields in a few days if it doesn't rain.

4/29/01: We are injecting 32% nitrogen. The ground is working well now. We sprayed some of the cornstalks going to soybeans with Domain and 2,4-D. We are now spraying the soybean stubble with atrazine or Fieldmaster before the planters get to them. I am pleased with the way the handheld computer and the GPS receiver help show where I have sprayed. It helps remove some of the doubt when the foam has melted or if I forget whether a terrace has been sprayed yet. Our horse had a mare foal yesterday. We got her in the pasture just in time.

4/22/01: There is more fieldwork starting to be done now. We will soon be spraying herbicide and applying nitrogen. We will try to spray some soybean ground before we switch to the corn ground to save on buying the Roundup on the soybean's first trip. It has been very windy with some showers this week. The wind has caused some damage throughout the neighborhood. We have been in several tornado watches.

4/15/01: It keeps raining some. The co-op is trying to finish spreading our MAP fertilizer. It looks like we won't get our lime spread this year because of the past winter's weather. A few people have put on some anhydrous ammonia. We are trying to get ready to spray and inject our 32% nitrogen this next week or so. It is supposed to get below freezing this week, so we aren't filling the spray tanks yet. There are a few places in the fields now that are starting to green up with weeds. The bromegrass is about three inches tall. I'm still working on getting a handheld IPAQ computer to mark where I have sprayed in the field. I have everything except a cable.

4/8/01: We finished hauling the rest of the corn. It has been raining some and warming up also. It got all the way up to 87 F today. The grass is starting to green up. We'll be getting the nitrogen injector and the sprayer ready. Corn is $1.90 and soybeans are $4.19.

4/1/01: The boys hauled more corn this week. We are down to our last grain bin. The co-op spread a little dry fertilizer earlier this week on our fields when it was frozen out. It is starting to dry out now. The kids tried to catch some fish at the pond today to check their size, but it was too cold and windy. Corn is 1.83 and soybeans are $4.10.

3/25/01: We hauled a lot of grain this week, but they ran out of rail cars and filled up Friday. Bill picked up another load of soybean seed Saturday. We had several meetings this week. I am still working on a site verification monitor for the sprayer. Most of the snow is gone now. The fields are muddy, but the barnyards are starting to dry up. Corn is $1.85 and soybeans are $4.18.

3/18/01: My brothers are hauling corn to Council Bluffs. The price of grain fell quite a bit this week. We cleaned and shipped some Giant Foxtail seed. It is very muddy out and most of the snow has melted. The pond has risen to 36 inches below the tube. My son Nicholas and I walked down to the pond to measure it again Saturday, but a pair of Canadian Geese started honking at us. We didn't want to bother them so we left. They are probably thinking about nesting there for the spring.

3/11/01: Robert and I went to the Triumph of Ag show at Omaha. We saw a lot of interesting exhibits. We spend too long inside and I got a parking ticket. I am interested in an inexpensive hand unit that GPS tracks my spraying acres to find misses. Corn is $1.97 and soybeans are $4.43.

3/4/01: Bill picked up two more loads of soybean seed this week. The warmer weather is finally melting some of the ice and snow. Our pond rose 15 inches the last two weeks. It is 61 inches below the tube now. Corn is $2.00 and soybeans are $4.39.

2/25/01: We went to several meetings this week. One of which was the chemical round robin at the co-op at Council Bluffs. We heard from many companies about their next year's products. There are many new products, which are all combinations of old products. We received over an inch of rain this weekend, which eventually froze. Corn is $1.91 and soybeans are $4.31.

2/18/01: Bill went to Dike (Kruger) to get the first load of soybean seed. He had to delay the trip twice because of the snow and ice we got this week. The DOT inspected him for 45 minutes. Everything was okay except for a clearance light. Robert has been drying some foxtail seed in a modified clothes dryer. We set it on its back, stopped the drum from turning, and changed the voltage to 120. Corn is $1.93 and soybeans are $4.36.

2/12/01: There are some Internet links added to the main menu of our page. Robert and I went to a crop meeting in Clarinda. They talked about justifying expenses during low crop prices. We had an ice storm Thursday and about six inches of snow. Our electricity was off for 23 hours. Several counties had similar problems. The wires were blowing in the wind and tripping the power company's breakers. We ran some propane heaters and generators to keep the pipes from freezing.

2/4/01: I went to the Conservation Expo in Shenandoah. They talked about filter and buffer strips as well as no-till. There were segments on marketing and general farm economics. We had to work on our income taxes this week. We have been helping lay dry wall at the Indian Creek Historical Society museum. We are working on fertilizer application maps. Corn ended the week at $1.87 and soybeans were $4.45 at Council Bluffs.

1/28/01: Robert and I went to our yearly pesticide training with the extension service. We got around 4 inches of snow today and more is expected tomorrow. The grain markets have continued to go down. We have been working on our tax records also. We took our son Nicholas and two of his friends to look at Iowa State University at Ames. A lot has changed since 1979.

1/21/01: Went to a lot of meetings this week. The grain markets are still down. Corn is about $1.90 and soybeans are $4.44 at Council Bluffs now. Most of the snow has melted. The temperature sometimes gets down to 5 F at night but it is supposed to warm up this week. We ordered our herbicides last week, but we are still thinking about different programs we could use.

1/14/01: We got some more snow and rain this week. The grain markets have lost some ground this week also. We are trying to catch up on a lot of paper work now. There is a lot of work to do on the 10 year buffer strips for contour grass strips. There are a lot of meetings for us to attend also.

1/7/01: It has warmed up and a lot of the snow has melted. We will be getting our seed and fertilizer orders in this week. The soybean prices are starting to see some pressure now because of a possible shift away from corn because of the nitrogen shortage.