McGrew Brothers Farm Journal 2005

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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12/25/05: Merry Christmas! We augered out a bin of soybeans this week. You can see a picture here. We started cleaning up some of the corn pile. The corn still seems to be in good shape. We are putting it into one of the other bins until we put up the new auger. We worked two days on it. It is kind of muddy out. It will be easier if it drys up or freezes.

12/18/05: We were proud to go to our son's graduation in Ames this week. He majored in Agricultural Engineering. The boys finished emptying the soybean bin. We still need to set up the new auger for the corn. It has been kind of cold and snowy to do that. Brother Kevin got a picture from the air of the finished corn pile. You can see it here.

12/11/05: We set some augers up to unload some soybeans. It has been kind of cold and snowy to do much this week. I have some pictures comparing a yield map with a vegetative index photo taken July 5 with a digital camera. The correlation is about 0.55. You can see it here.

12/4/05: We got around four to five inches of snow this week. We weren't able to work outside. The boys did some work in the shop. You can see a picture of the truck lines in October at the soybean crush plant here.

11/27/05: The boys finished combining the last three acres of corn. We have some corn to deliver in December. We still need to get the new auger up to the bin before we can start cleaning up the corn pile. We had some volunteer watermelons growing outside the shop this summer. You can see a picture of my daughter Stephanie holding one of them here.

11/20/05: We worked all Monday night and almost finished the corn before it rained and snowed. The tractors were having trouble getting up the hill. It was raining hard and with a few acres left the combine alternator quit and the combine died. We just have about one wagon left. We just couldn't quite get it. It is still muddy out. We will be able to finish when it dries up some. You can see a picture of the wagon emptying into the truck here.

11/13/05: We have about two good days of the corn harvest left. We are back around the farm now. We have had very little rain this harvest. We will be getting done much sooner than usual. The fields are very dry out. Our pile is getting big. The wind was blowing so hard yesterday that it was blowing some of the cobs off of the pile. You can see a picture of the auger under the trailer here.

11/6/05: We have had another good week of combining the corn with good weather. The corn is still standing very well. The moisture is around 14%. We have 164 truck loads on the ground pile. You can see a picture from the air here.

10/30/05: We have been combining corn this week. We have about 70 trucks of the corn and cob mix on the ground. You can see a picture of the start of the pile here. The corn is testing about 14% moisture. Things are going pretty well. I wanted to get our new grain pump auger up to the bin. It has a roller chain and paddles going around in two tubes. I hurt my ankle by stepping into a badger hole. I may not be able to work on the auger for a while.

10/23/05: We finished combining the soybeans. We had to put some grain in the bins that were already sold because Bunge would get full most days. We will start on the corn maybe tomorrow. We put the straight truck's trailer over the auger to empty the auger wagon into and ran it into the grain bin. You can see a picture of it here.

10/16/05: We are over 75% done with the soybeans. We are having a hard time getting them hauled to Bunge. The truck lines are long and the hours are short. We are putting a lot of them in the grain bins even though they are contracted for Oct-Nov delivery. My brothers welded a hitch on the back of the combines to pull the head trailers. You can see a picture of one here.

10/9/05: The soybean combining has been going pretty well. We are almost half done with them. They seem to be yielding good. You can see a picture of the combine unloading into the truck here.

10/2/05: We have started combining soybeans. We are doing the high protein soybeans first. We are putting them in a bin at the farm. They will have to be delivered on call this winter some time. The moisture has been running 9.5% to 12%. You can see a picture of the combine in the soybean field here.

9/25/05: We will be able to start combining the first soybeans anytime. It showered a little tonight. I hope that we will be able to keep going once we start. Some of the 3.9 maturity beans still have a lot of leaves on them. The boys have been working on the combines and are getting them cleaned out for the food soybeans. You can see a picture of the end loader moving the corn head here.

9/18/05: We are getting ready for harvest. The boys have welded some metal sheets under the combine tank augers. We will do soybeans first. They will not be ready this week yet. Some of the leaves are still on them. We are fairly dry. We got some rain this week. You can see a picture of us baling up the straw pile at the museum here.

9/11/05: The crops continue to dry down very fast in the heat and wind. I wish the soybeans would stay green longer. Our high protein soybeans that are a 2.8 maturity are turning yellow and losing leaves. They may be ready to combine in a couple of weeks. The Emerson Days activities were this weekend. You can see a picture of threshing oats here. For just a little while, you can see some pictures of the antique tractor pull and the museum here. I am running out of free web space.

9/4/05: The crops are drying down fast. It has been hot and dry for a while. I don't like the crops turning yellow so fast, but they will probably yield okay. The grain prices are under pressure because of the hurricane damage to the grain ports. We ordered a Hutchinson grain pump (roller chain and paddle in a double tubed auger) to replace the auger and roof auger for the cleaned corn to the big bin. We are replacing the unloading auger also. You can see three pictures stitched together of the bins here. We are replacing the right auger in the picture.

8/28/05: We have been getting some rain. Some of the soybeans in the area are starting to yellow. It will be a little while before any of our group three soybeans will turn yellow. The corn looks good and the soybeans will be filling the pods during the next few weeks. The grain prices have been going down a lot the last few weeks. New crop corn is $1.70 and new soybeans are $5.67. Bill is taking off some forks from an old fork lift to put on the end loader here.

8/21/05: We have been trying to order some augers to replace two that need it before harvest. We went to the state fair to pick up some projects today. We finished running the bean buggy over some of the high protein soybeans to spray Roundup on the volunteer corn. It is fun to ride it for an hour or so. Then it gets boring. You can see a picture here.

8/15/05: The boys finished hauling the last few loads of corn to town. The corn basis is getting worse at 48 cents. The pipeline will probably be full of corn even when the harvest starts. We may pile corn on the ground again. There is a picture of us reflighting an auger here. We picked up our foreign exchange student Genevieve from the Philippines on Saturday. She will be us for 11 months.

7/30/05: We received 2 to 3 inches of rain around our area. It was a nice slow rain. We may have to remove some volunteer corn out of our high protein soybeans. They do not want it in the edible soybeans. We have been mowing and cutting weeds. Here is a picture of the cast iron press wheels on our no-till planter.

7/24/05: It is still hot out, but we have been getting some rain. It was close to a 100 degrees today. The corn has been tasseling the last few weeks. The grain markets are starting to go down now because of some rain in the dry eastern corn belt. You can see a picture of us fixing an auger motor here. The Mills county fair started Saturday. My daughters Monica and Stephanie have been busy there. You can see a picture of Monica at the queen contest here. She is the girl on the right.

7/17/05: We have been hauling some corn this last week. I had to respray two of the conventional soybean fields with Poast Plus for foxtail. We had planned to spray some fungicide even without the Asian soybean rust. As dry as it is now, we will wait until next year. Some of the corn is starting to roll because of the heat and dryness. It has not rained much for several weeks. You can see a picture of the sprayer in the soybean field here.

7/10/05: We finished spraying the soybeans a week ago with Roundup. The non GMO soybeans that we sprayed conventionally are not as clean. It is getting hot and dry out. We would like to have a rain, but the crops are looking very good. We will spray a fungicide on some of the soybeans later to see if it improves the yield even without the Asian rust. Our cousin Ross flew us over our fields and I took pictures at about 6500 feet above the ground. You can see one of the fields here.

6/26/05: We have sprayed most of the soybeans with Roundup. I have about two days left of them to spray. It is supposed to be windy for a while so I may have to wait. The soybean prices are getting very high because of the dry weather in the East. Old crop is about $7.44 now. You can see a picture of our soybean seed wagon and quad runner here.

6/19/05: We finally got the post corn sprayed. We started spraying the high protein soybeans which are not Roundup Ready. We are using Poast Plus, FirstRate, and UltraBlazer. The soybeans are starting to get weedy. You can see a picture of the end loader dumping a 2500 pound bag of seed into the wagon here.

6/12/05: I got to spray just a little this week. I still have some corn that needs to be sprayed pretty soon. It is at least six collars mature now. They are calling for a near 100% chance of rain again tonight. The corn is really growing fast with all this rain and now some heat. Here is a picture of me spraying the soybeans in the old corn stalks.

6/5/05: We have been getting rain all week. We didn't get back into the field. I need to spray the corn by the time it gets seven collars. It has five now. I will try to spray tomorrow. Bill got the tree shear hooked up to the end loader. You can see a picture here.

5/29/05: We have a few days left to plant soybeans. It rained some more Saturday night. We finished spraying the soybean fields the first time. I have started spraying the four inch corn with Steadfast and Callisto. There are not many weeds coming up in it yet. Since all the corn has not grown very fast after it was planted because of the cold, it will probably all grow very fast all at once now. You can see a picture of David's 12 row planter on the soybeans here.

5/22/05: We were able to do a little field work this week. We planted some more soybeans and sprayed some more cornstalks with Authority and Roundup. We bought a tree shear for cutting trees. My daughter Monica and Robert's daughter Leah both graduated from high school today at Nishna Valley. You can see a picture of them on a mini bike that they almost rode to school here.

5/15/05: We have had a lot of rain all week. We have had between 4 and 5 inches around different farms. The fields have had some ditches start to wash. We have just started planting the soybeans. I have been spraying the cornstalks. You can see a picture of Monica bringing the horses back to the pasture last month here.

5/8/05: Bill and David finished planting the corn on Friday. It is always nice to finish the corn by May 10. It has been cold out for people to be planting soybeans. At least it has started to warm up the last few days. We will be planting some high protein soybeans for food grade. I sprayed the first trip for them with Boundary herbicide. They are not Roundup Ready. We will be using Authority on the normal soybeans. You can see a picture of the truck and sprayer here.

5/1/05: We have been able to do a lot of fieldwork this week. We have been putting on nitrogen and spraying herbicide. Bill and David have planted quite a bit of corn. It has turned cold this week. There has been some frost on the ground several mornings. Some days it has only got up to 50 degrees or less. It should warm up by the end of next week. Some of the early planted corn in the area frosted off, but it will regrow. I like the 90 foot boom on the sprayer, even in the terraces. Robert pulled the quad runner behind the nitrogen trailer to get a ride back home. You can see a picture here.

4/24/05: We have been working on equipment a lot this week while it has been raining. We will probably get started planting and spraying corn some more tomorrow. We have been testing the equipment. I was able to get the light bar working that came with our sprayer. It is a Trimble Ag 21 hooked to a 132 receiver. I have also hooked up the IPAQ with Site Mate to the receiver. You can see another picture of the Blu Jet nitrogen injector here.

4/17/05: We finished the dry phosphate except for emptying and cleaning out the floater. I am waiting for a filter to fix an oil leak. You can see a picture of us loading the floater here. We are working on getting the planters and the sprayer ready. Billy J. is putting on the 32% UAN nitrogen. The weeds will be coming up early this year.

4/10/05: We have one day left of dry fertilizer. It rained me out today and it is supposed to rain more tonight. We may wait on the lime. We have been variable rate applying the fertilizer with the Ag Leader 3000 Pro hooked up to the Raven 660 controller. It seems to work well except sometimes the monitor seems to slow down to a crawl this year. We have been pulling our 32% nitrogen high pressure injector with the JD 4430 the past few years. It has been slipping out of gear so we rented a JD 4650 to pull it. It seems to be a nice tractor. You can see a picture of it here.

4/3/05: We finally got the corn and cob pile cleaned up. The last week didn't seem to have very much damaged corn in it. We will haul some more corn from the bin and then probably spread some dry phosphate fertilizer (MAP 11-52-0). You can see some of the last of the snow geese flying over the farm here.

3/27/05: It rained some this week. The elevators are still having some trouble getting rail cars in for the corn. We have about two days left to clean up the pile. We had some bearing problems with the grain belt conveyors also. We had to weld the damaged shaft and David turned it back smooth on his lathe. We reflighted another auger. We put the three point crane on the front of the end loader. You can see a picture here.

3/20/05: We are starting to get a little damage on some of the corn loads. It is not amounting to much yet. I think that it is starting to go bad. It is fortunate that we are just about done. We bought a 1997 Freightliner semi truck with a Detroit engine. Trucks have not been very expensive the last few years. You can see a picture of it here.

3/13/05: We are still working on the corn pile. I went to some co-op meetings in Omaha this week. You can see a cartoon of my wife Nancy and I here. Some of the neighbors are discing and putting on anhydrous ammonia.

3/6/05: We may be about two thirds done cleaning up the corn pile. You can see a picture of it here. We had to replace a gearbox in the auger again. The snow geese have been flying over for about two weeks now. Three of our grade school girls get to advance on from the invention convention contest held at Abraham Lincoln in Council Bluffs. They will compete in Ames April 30. Mary Harbor, my daughter Stephanie McGrew, and Michelle Pullen are pictured here.

2/27/05: The auger has worn out coming out of grain bin. We have started to reflight it. We should get it back in tomorrow. It has jambed up several times. You can see a close up of the corn and cob mix pile here. The cobs formed a layer on top that gets thicker towards the bottom. We have not gotten very much damage dock from the corn. It is still fairly wet at around 16.5% to 17.5%.

2/20/05: We worked on the corn pile again this week. We are getting close to half done with it. The moisture is still running high on the corn. It is augering better now that the snow is gone. It rained a little this weekend. None of the elevators may be opened until Wednesday. I should have given this link to the article about our shop makeover in Progressive Farmer magazine last spring. You can click here to see it. There is a composite of four pictures of our shop last month here.

2/13/05: We have the corn pile about 30% cleaned up. It is kind of muddy out now. The ground under the pile is dry though. It rained a lot this weekend so we probably won't get to work on the pile for a few days. The moisture of the corn has been a little high at 16% to 18%. The elevators have had a little trouble getting rail cars. You can see another picture of the end loader with the side metal added here.

2/6/05: We have been getting along a little better with the corn pile. It was a little wet and frozen at the end of the pile. Bill had to take off the cover that restricted the flow into the auger. It would probably work with it on now that the grain is more normal. I went to a director training at the Amana's this week for our co-op. You can see a picture of the end loader dumping in a wagon here.

1/30/05: We got started cleaning up the corn and cob pile. It is going a little slower than I wanted because of the frozen chunks and snow. You can see a picture of the grain bin tail here. We are using the end loader and one or two auger wagons to dump in the pit. The grain is pulling hard in the pit for some reason. We installed a rod and tube to unplug the pit easily if we have to.

1/23/05: Bill and Billy J. picked up the 12 foot Gnuse bucket for the loader at Arlington Friday. We had a category 3 hitch welded to fit the front of the loader. You can see a picture of it here. We could start on the pile about anytime except it will probably be muddy this week. We have hauled all the corn that can run out of the bins without a sweep.

1/16/05: We were able to haul some corn to Council Bluffs after the snow. We have started to clean some more corn and cob mix, but we have not started hauling from the pile yet. You can see a picture inside of the cob building here.

1/9/05: We were able to soil sample a field Dec 31 before it froze up and then snowed 12 to 14 inches this last week. We probably won't be able to sample any more fields this winter. We are trying out a John Deere 544 D end loader. We may put a different bucket on it to load the pile back on the wagons or trucks. You can see a picture of it here.