McGrew Brothers Farm Journal 2004

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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12/31/04: We have been hauling corn. We will start to clean up the pile of corn and cobs on the ground in a few weeks and run it through the pit and cleaner. I have a picture of the pile from the air here. There is a picture of the auger wagon dumping corn and cob mix in the pit here.

12/19/04: We hauled soybeans this week. We have one more load to haul to finish all the soybean bins. It has gotten colder this weekend. It was even below 0 degrees this morning. You can see a picture of the finished pile of 262 truckloads here.

12/12/04: The boys have been hauling corn and soybeans this week. I went to Ankeny Friday for an Ag Leader GPS mapping class at DMACC. We had to pull the bin auger to get the first soybeans to flow because of pods at the very first. We pushed a rod up the tube. I found a picture of us pulling the pit auger last year after I got a rod caught in it trying to unplug it. You can see it here.

12/5/04: We finished combining the corn Saturday night. It has been raining most of Sunday afternoon. We ended up putting two thirds of the corn and cob mix on the ground. The corn yielded very well. We will be hauling corn and soybeans for a while now. I got my 1978 Honda CX500 to run this summer. It is an interesting low powered, dependable, liquid cooled bike. It has twin V cylinders that run sideways of the bike. It has a three inch bore and a two inch stroke. You can see a picture here.

12/1/04: We have about three days of corn left. It snowed about an inch Sunday. We went out last night when the ground was frozen and combined until noon. We started a second line on the pile. You can see a picture here.

11/21/04: The rain stopped us Thursday. We have about seven days left of combining corn. We have been dumping most of the corn on the ground. We put a few loads back in the bin after we have hauled some corn to town after a rain. You can see the JD 8820 combine that separates the cobs from the corn here. You can see a picture inside the combine here.

11/14/04: We are still making a corn pile on the ground. It rained 0.3 inches this week. The cobs seem to help keep the rain off of the grain. You can see the grain pile here. The lines in town had been getting worse and now people are starting to get done. You can see a yield map of some of our corn fields here. Notice the lower yield in the lower south east corner of the bottom field.

11/7/04: We are about half done combining our corn. It is getting hard for people to haul grain to town with the long truck lines. Our pile of corn on the ground is getting larger. My brother Kevin took some pictures of the combines here.

10/31/04: We have been combining corn. We filled the large bin and have started making a pile on the ground. You can see a picture here. We have a harder time unloading the straight truck and the pup in the auger, but we are starting to get the hang of it. The moisture of the corn is running 15.5% to 16.5% usually.

10/25/04: We finished the soybeans before it drizzled for a few days. We have been combining corn and cob mix. We only have one bin for corn and it will be full this week. We got our 12 inch auger in. We will make a pile on the ground with it. You can see a picture of the truck unloading soybeans here.

10/17/04: We have about one day left of combining soybeans. The harvest weather has been perfect with no rain. We have to combine our corn now. We filled several grain bins with soybeans that we had planned on putting corn in. We have decided to build a pile of corn and cob mix on the ground until we can haul the corn to the elevator after harvest. It might take us some time to clean it all up afterwards. You can see a picture of the combines unloading in the auger wagon here.

10/10/04: We are probably getting about half done with the soybeans. It is going very well except the Bunge crush plant keeps getting full. I hope that this week will be better. We are putting soybeans in bins that we wanted for the corn. The moisture of the soybeans has been between 10% all the way up to 18% on some 3.9 maturity beans. David and I had been hauling a few loads of soybeans a day to the crush plant during their reduced hours. We welded new flighting on the Mayrath auger last week. You can see a picture here.

10/3/04: We tested some soybeans Friday at 15.2%. We may try them again tomorrow. They are just about ready to combine. It froze a little Friday morning. We have been getting ready for the corn harvest, but will start on soybeans instead. David and I put a three foot tail on the corn/cob mix bin. We used an auto U joint for the bend. The bin kept plugging up last year. This should help. You can see a picture here.

9/26/04: Many people are combining corn and soybeans. I have heard that corn has been testing 17% to 24% depending on the planting date and maturity. Some group two soybeans are combining now also. Our group three soybeans may be ready in a week or two if the warm windy weather keeps up. We have been getting the combines ready. We are reflighting an auger that goes to the main corn bin. You can see a picture of last weeks tree trimming here.

9/19/04: David and Robert have been trimming some trees. We had a few elm trees hanging close to the houses that needed to be cut back. Some of the limbs were dead. Some neighbors have combined some early soybeans and some wet corn has been combined. They delivered our 1999 Patriot sprayer. You can see a picture here.

9/12/04: We have been cleaning up around the grain bin equipment. We traded our 75 foot Patriot for a 1999 unit with 90 foot boom. It has the same John Deere engine and the wide trax basic machine. Emerson Days and the Indian Creek Historical Society had there weekend show. You can see the pictures on our pictures link or you can click here.

9/5/04: We have just about finished putting the yield monitor in Robert's combine. It rained .45 inches this afternoon. Some of the neighbor's soybeans are starting to yellow. Some of the corn is starting to dry down. Our corn is starting to black layer now. It will be a later wetter corn harvest. I wonder if we will combine our soybeans first. I went to the Farm Progress show near Ames, Iowa. You can see a picture here.

8/29/04: We finished hauling the corn. We finished installing some of the yield monitor out in the Quonset. We need to get the combine out of the shed and over to the shop. We need to cut a place for the moisture sensor on the side and the weigh pad at the top. I put a picture of our Blu Jet 32% nitrogen injector here. We use this in the spring to inject the UAN liquid nitrogen.

8/22/04: We have been hauling the last bin of corn to Council Bluffs. We have to put in the sweep tomorrow. The weather is still a little cool. I have started to install an older inexpensive yield monitor (Ag Leader YM 2000) in the second combine. We went to the Iowa State fair today to pick up Monica's projects. I caught a 15.75 inch - 2.6 lb. Bass here.

8/15/04: The weather has been unusually cool out. We had a record low of about 45 degrees the other night. The soybeans may be losing some pods over this cool weather. It may be delaying the corn maturity. The corn is still looking very good though. The markets are undecided about this. They are mainly going down. Here is an old picture of us unloading a tote of soybean seed in the belt auger at planting time.

8/8/04: The boys have been working on the JD 4010 tractor. The starter went out again and the three point arms are leaking oil. The corn is looking good and the beans will probably decide this month what they will yield. I went to some co-op meetings this week. I'm trying to get over my hurt back. My son Nicholas, bought a 1982 Honda GL 500 motorcycle here. It has the same V twin water-cooled engine that my CX 500 has.

8/1/04: The Mill's county fair went well. The Sunday horse show had to be postponed because of the rain to Saturday. Everything went well at the horse show also. David has been walking the terraces with Roundup for sunflowers. The week was fairly cool with rain Saturday. We took a picture of a small dead Turkey Vulture on the road here.

7/25/04: I finished spraying the soybeans. I have just a nine acre field of late corn that I need to respray for velvetleaf. The county fair is on now. Monica's horse show was postponed until next Saturday because of the rain. You can see a picture of Stephanie being judged on her woodworking here and Monica's stained glass window here.

7/18/04: I sprayed one of the last two soybean fields Saturday. I will finish tomorrow. It has been showering for two weeks. The fields are not that weedy, but some of the sunflowers are four feet tall. These last planted soybeans are just starting to bloom. The corn has been tasseling the last few weeks. The Mills county fair starts next Saturday. My daughter Monica will be taking her three year old horse among other projects. You can see a picture here.

7/11/04: I waited on the last two fields of soybeans a while and then it rained some more. I was hoping to finsih spraying this Monday, but it rained a little today again. Maybe I can spray Tuesday. We received 2.8 inches of rain on Thursday night. The small pond that has been low for two years is finally filling up. The grain markets are coming down in price from some very high levels. I will try to get my 1978 Honda CX500 running this summer. The carburators need a new kit put in. You can see a picture here.

7/05/04: We have about one more day of spraying Roundup. We were going to wait until after this weekend because the weeds were small. It has been raining the weekend anyway. This is the first year we have been using a generic Roundup. We had some corn turn yellow that was sprayed with Steadfast on one day. You can see a picture here.

6/27/04: We sprayed some more soybeans this week with Roundup. The temperature got down to 45 degrees Friday morning. We had to wait for the temperature to get back up to 70 before we sprayed that day. We took some aerial photos of the fields from our cousin's airplane. They turned out well except it started to get cloudy and there were some shadows in the fields. To see a picture of the field around my house, click here.

6/20/04: I have sprayed soybeans with Roundup for two days. Our soybeans are not real tall yet. They have two to three trifoliate leaves so far. The weeds are starting to grow in the soybeans now. There are more broadleaves like velvetleaf and less grass than normal. The corn is getting tall and green now. Some of the corn is waist high. test

6/13/04: It has rained for several days. I finished spraying the corn. I may start spraying Roundup on the soybeans this next week. We have put up some small square bales of hay between the rains.

6/6/04: The boys finished planting the soybeans this week with the help of our cousin Ronnie. I have two days of corn left to spray. The soybeans will need to be sprayed with Roundup next. Billy J. has been putting up some bromegrass around the fields in small bales. It has still been raining some. It has been hard to get hay baled this week.

5/30/04: We had two and a half days in the field this week. We still have quite a few soybeans to plant. I have been spraying the corn post with Steadfast/Callisto. Our corn is three and four collars mature. We are still getting a lot of rain, which is good. Robert and Billy J. want to mow some bromegrass for small hay bales, but the weather hasn't let them.

5/23/04: We had a half a day in the field this week because of the rains. I was able to finish spraying the corn stalks going to soybeans. The boys were able to plant some soybeans on Saturday also. We received 1.15 inches of rain Sunday Morning. We will start spraying post emerge corn when it dries up with Steadfast / Callisto.

5/16/04: We have had quite a few rains this week and we did not get back into the field until a little bit today. It got very windy and we had to quite spraying after noon. I have one day of corn stalks left to spray. I am surprised that the weeds are not thicker than they are. We have added Roundup to the mix on these last fields. It might rain again tonight. Bill picked up two trucks of soybean seed at Dike.

5/9/04: The boys finished planting the corn and will start on the soybeans. We got 0.6 inches of rain Saturday night and may get some more. I have one or so days left to spray the corn stalks with Authority and 2,4-D for the soybeans. The steering bearings went out of the Patriot on one side. I didn't lose much time because it rained some that day. I froze last Monday and got down to about 27 degrees F. It has been in the 80's and 90's also.

5/02/04: We have been planting corn most of the week. They will probably get done with the corn this week. I finished spraying the corn pre-emergent herbicide of Volley (generic Harness-Atrazine). I will start spraying the Authority on the soybeans tomorrow. I sprayed some terraces today even though it was sprinkling and was windy. We vaccinated the horses for the West Nile virus and wormed them.

4/25/04: We have been planting corn and spraying herbicides this week until it rained Saturday morning. We mixed up a load of spray and only got half of it applied when we got rained out. The kids would have put the horses out in the pasture this weekend except for the rain. We probably have about a third of the corn planted, two thirds of the nitrogen on, and about one half of the corn herbicide sprayed.

4/18/04: We finished spreading the lime as the quarry ran out. We were lucky to get done. David has planted a little corn. We got the sprayer ready to go, but it is far too windy to spray today and even yesterday. The wind may decrease tomorrow so we can spray. They are forecasting thunderstorms for Tuesday. Billy J. has been injecting the nitrogen. He is probably over half done.

4/11/04: We finished the MAP and have been spreading lime for a few days. We are applying 10 times the rate per acre now. We put on 1000 to 3000 pounds per acre based on the soil prescription target files. We shouldn't put on too much lime on top without working it in. The quarry is running low on lime. We'll see how long it holds up.

4/4/04: We spread some more 11-52-0 (MAP) on our northern farms. I finished emptying the semi trailer several hours in the dark. The GPS helped quite a lot. At least the field was square and flat. We will start on the second trailer tomorrow. The variable rate technology (VRT) seems to be working well. We have several days left of fertilizer left. We are still waiting on two field's soil tests.

3/28/04: We only got started spreading 11-52-0 using the variable rate. We tried to use an old grain auger that was worn out. We didn't want to rust up a good auger. The flighting was worn enough that it plugged the auger. I came up with the idea to raise the auger and let the fertilizer run out the bottom. It was so heavy that it bent the hydraulic cylinder ram and dropped the auger to the ground. It didn't hurt anything else, but we had to buy another used auger that was in better shape. It rained about an inch Saturday. Everything else seems to be working okay.

3/21/04: It snowed about two inches Monday. It is almost dry out again. My nephew Billy J. and I started soil sampling the last two fields Saturday. It was a little too wet for a good probe. Some people have started to run some anhydrous ammonia. We got the dry floater out to get ready to put on some 11-52-0 and then some lime.

3/14/04: We finally finished the shop makeover in time for Progressive Farmer to come out and take some pictures for the magazine. We still have to finish putting the vinyl on the inside of the large doors. We installed more cabinets and put up some shelving. We painted the walls and put up a new steel ceiling. The electricians put up four metal halide lights. Things look pretty nice in the shop now. We still have to decide how much of the stuff we put on the wagons will get stored somewhere else. We put the old shelving back in the other room to hold most of it.

3/7/04: We are still working on the shop. It is getting close to finished. Robert and I went to the Triumph of Agriculture at Omaha in the new Qwest Center. There were over 500 exhibitors. We parked at Roesenblatt stadium and rode the school bus downtown. It is almost starting to dry up outside.

2/29/04: Bill finished hauling our corn contract. We will probably haul some more this next week. We have most of the steel ceiling up in the shop now. It has been raining today and it has been muddy all week. The Canadian and Snow geese have started to fly over the area now. Soybean prices are very high now. Old crop soybeans are $9.47 and new crop October is $7.15. Corn is $2.87 and new crop October is $2.72.

2/22/04: Bill has been hauling corn this last week. We had a few meetings to go to. We have been working on the shop ceiling when we can. New crop white corn will be 40 cents over yellow for new crop delivery. We have not grown any white corn for quite a few years. A lot of the snow has melted off the fields now. It is very muddy out. It will have to freeze or dry up a lot before we could spread any lime.

2/15/04: We got our delivery for the corn extended to the end of the month. Bill bladed some snow so we could haul corn Thursday and Friday. We have been working some in the shop. We finished cleaning out the cone of corn and cob mix in the 24-foot bin. I would like to fill it with pure cobs and just leave it every year.

2/8/04: I am concerned about getting the rest of our corn hauled to Council Bluffs this week. The wind is blowing the snow around. School is two hours late again tomorrow. We may need to get an extension to haul the rest. There is about 24 inches of snow that has fallen the last few weeks. We have the shop pretty well painted and we will start to put up the steel ceiling.

2/1/04: We had freezing rain and a little snow today. Church was canceled again. It is supposed to snow more tonight. We didn't haul corn this week because of the deep snow. We have cleaned out the shop some.

1/25/04: We have been cleaning out the shop for a magazine article on a shop makeover. Progressive Farmer is going to help us work on our shop to write an article about ways to organize shop storage and workspace. It was raining and now is snowing out today. They canceled church today and school tomorrow.

1/18/04: My brothers hauled a lot of corn this last week. We need to clean out the cone in the cob mix bin before we can take down the augers and empty out the last two bins. We got the soil test results back and I have been making some prescriptions for the phosphate and for the lime applications. We have several things to do before we can start spreading the lime.

1/11/04: We started to haul some corn Friday to Council Bluffs. It got below 0 degrees for a few days last week. It snowed about 6 inches last week and it has started to melt. Robert threw some of the snow out before we turned on the auger. He wanted to make sure that it didn't plug up.

1/4/04: We were able to grid sample some soil before it snowed last night. We had some problems with the soil freezing on the steel probe. We were able to sample three farms. I will send in the samples this next week. We used the IPAQ and the Garmin GPS to mark the locations.