McGrew Brothers Farm Journal 2006

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  Email us

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12/25/06: Merry Christmas! The electricians have been running three phase current to the 12 inch auger coming out of the largest grain bin. It uses a 30 hp. motor. We will use that for unloading all of the corn as we clean it up. The pile still seems to be in good shape. It has had just one large 1.1” rain on it since harvest. You can see the finished pile here.

12/17/06: It has been staying warm in the 40 and 50 degree range. It may get colder in a few days. I would like to soil sample some if the ground stays soft. We need to haul corn in January for our contracts. The price of corn is very high. Corn is around $3.30 and soybeans are $6.35. The new ethanol plants are driving the demand up some and the fund buyers are buying grain as a commodity investment. You can see the different colors of cobs on the pile here.

12/10/06: We have emptied the large bin of soybeans. I am surprised that the auger broke a concrete block that we had put under it inside the bin. I suppose that the weight of the soybeans was huge. We have a few more loads to haul out of the other bin to fill the contract. This is a picture of the truck unloading corn into the auger and dumping on the pile a few weeks ago here.

12/3/06: We were able to finish our corn harvest after a small shower. We will start to haul the soybeans out of the large bin that we will use later to clean up the corn and cob mix pile with. The corn / cob mix is about 10% by weight or about one third by volume corncobs. The auger wagon is emptying into the truck here.

11/26/06: We have two days left of the harvest. It may rain tomorrow so we may have to finish later if it freezes up in a few days. We are mainly done with the trucks. We have the corn left around the barnyard, so we will mostly be using the auger wagons. You can see a picture of the pile from the air a few days ago here. The cobs tend to float to the top. You can see the different colors of red and white cobs.

11/19/06: We have been combining corn most of the week. The corn pile is getting big. We have about one and a half weeks left of harvest not counting rain. The corn moisture is above 15%. You can see the combines unloading grain on the go here.

11/12/06: We were able to combine corn for five days this week. The yields seem to be okay in spite of the hot and dry July that we had. We got rained out tonight. We are piling the corn and cob mix on the ground. Bud Maddocks shingled our house a few weeks ago here. He did a good job.

11/5/06: We finished combining the soybeans today. We waited until the last day when we were close to the scales to calibrate the yield monitors. We need to convert over to combine the corn and cobs. The other auger wagon needs some work on it before we can use it. We have replaced the augers and we still need to weld steel under it. You can see a picture of the side hill tilt of the combine here.

10/29/06: We have started to combine soybeans again. We had to put some 14.5% moisture beans in the bin and turn the fan on. They are now below 13% and we will haul some to the crush plant. The ground is still a little wet. We are about 50% done with the soybeans. You can see them unloading a combine into the truck here.

10/22/06: The rain has kept us out of the field all week. We have been working on the combines and the auger wagon. It is starting to get a little late to get the soybeans done in October. You can see a picture of the combine doing soybeans here.

10/15/06: We are about one third done with the soybeans. They are combining better now that we have had several hard freezes. We are putting them all in the grain bins. You can see a picture of two different varieties here. The beans on the right are almost ready to combine and the ones on the left still have leaves on them.

10/8/06: We have been combining soybeans for a few days. The beans are dry, but the stems are green. It is hard for them to combine some of the fields. I think that the soybeans will yield better than the corn in relation. You can see a picture of the combines here.

10/1/06: We have been working on the combines and the grain bins and augers. We may be able to combine some soybeans in about a week. The boys picked up two used eight row corn heads this week that we had bought earlier. You can see them here.

9/24/06: More rain again this week. Our soybeans are starting to yellow. We may be able to combine them in a few weeks. We put the auger in the bin. We are hooking up the control rods. You can see a picture of the end loader putting it in here.

9/17/06: We got more rain this week. I got 1.2 inches last night. We are putting together a 12 inch auger to put in the big bin. Some of the soybeans are starting to turn yellow. We usually combine our soybeans first and then the corn. For a few weeks, you can see some pictures of our church's 150 year celebration here.

9/10/06: We finished hauling the corn. We continue to get rain. We went for five weeks without mowing the yard around July when it was dry. Now we get a few rains a week and things are growing again. Most of our corn has not black-layered yet and our soybeans have not yellowed yet. Some people will be able to combine corn in a few weeks. You can see a picture of our soybean field here.

9/3/06: We cleaned out the big bin and had to take apart some of the cob cleaning equipment to get at the last corn bin. You can see a picture of us helping put up the school entrance sign here. We took it down earlier to allow a portable classroom to leave.

8/27/06: The boys have been putting new tires and switching others around on the grain trailers. We still have a little more corn to haul to town. We put up an old Aeromotor windmill in the yard for Nancy. It is about 34 feet tall here.

8/13/06: We emptied out the holding bin for the cob mix and finished separating the corn and cob on that small amount. The elevators are still running low on rail cars. We have a little more corn to haul. The grain price has dropped a lot this week. Corn in Council Bluffs is $1.98 and soybeans are $5.08. You can see a picture of our end loader with the forks on it here.

8/6/06: We hauled some more corn. We cleaned up three loads of soybeans that were left in a small bin. It has been a little hot and dusty in the bins. The elevators have a little trouble getting rail cars to haul the corn away. You can see a cob grinder grinding a load of our cobs for a cattle feeder here.

7/30/06: It has been hot this last week again. We have been hauling corn. We had a little trouble getting the corn bin to flow out the middle. We finally got it rodded out. We hadn't cleaned out the corn mix holding bin from April. David has been inside the hot bin digging out the cobs on the outer wall of the bin. Sometimes the cobs are very dusty. You can see a picture here.

7/23/06: We got 0.42” rain this week. We could use more. The markets have started to fall down. They were at a pretty good price. The boys have been hauling some corn to Council Bluffs. The county fair at Malvern started Friday. You can see a picture of fireworks from Red Oak here.

7/16/06: It has been very hot this week. There have been several days it has been in the upper 90's. We have gotten a few rains this week between one and two inches total. Grain prices have gotten high again because of the weather concern. You can see an aerial photo of our farmstead here.

7/10/06: Our cousin Ross flew David and I around the fields to take some aerial photos. It is kind of nice to get some pictures every year of the crops. You can see a picture of a corn field here. It has been getting very dry out, but it is raining this morning.

7/2/06: We finished spraying the soybeans with Roundup on the second trip. The soybeans are less than a foot tall. I hope that they canopy in before we have to spray them another time. I just have a few terraces left to spray with 2,4-D. Bill has been cleaning up some trees with the end loader and tree shear. You can see two pictures of it here.

6/25/06: We said good bye to our foreign exchange student Genie from the Philippines today. You can see a picture of my wife Nancy, daughter Stephanie, Genie, and me here. We have about one week left of spraying the soybeans with Roundup.

6/18/06: We are waiting on the soybeans and the weeds to get bigger before we spray them with Roundup the last time. David hauled some soybeans this week. It rained two inches at our house, but only 0.20 inches at the farm last night. You can see a picture of a rainbow at Emerson here.

6/11/06: We finished spraying all the corn post emerge. We will spray the soybeans with Roundup sometime starting this week. It was 99 degrees hot on Friday. You can see a movie of the screen shot of the sprayer monitor here. It is a “wmv.” file that is 238 KB large.

6/4/06: The boys finished planting the soybeans last week. We have been spraying the corn with Steadfast and Callisto. The corn is growing so fast that I need to finish spraying it before it gets too big. You can see a picture of the Patriot spraying the corn here.

5/28/06: We have about two days of soybean planting left. It rained 0.5 to 1.2 inches Saturday. We finished spraying the soybean ground finally. It has been extremely windy the last week. We put another two hundred 10-inch Channel Catfish in the pond last month here.

5/21/06: The boys have been planting soybeans for a few days. I have a few days left to spray the fields with Prowl and Roundup. There is a picture of Bill planting corn pulling the two eight-row planters here.

5/14/06: We have a few days left to plant corn. We have the first pass of corn sprayed and have started to spray the soybeans ground with Prowl and Roundup. It has been windy the last four days and I haven't gotten much spraying done. You can see a picture of us unloading one of Bill's eight row planters here.

5/7/06: We got back into the field yesterday. It might rain tomorrow night again. I have a little more than a day left to spray the pre-emerged corn. You can see a picture of the older JD 7000 planter here.

4/31/06: We were able to plant, apply nitrogen and spray until it started raining Friday and has been since. It has been a very nice slow soaking rain. You can see a picture of the nitrogen high pressure injector from the air here.

4/24/06: David has been planting corn. Bill is going to pull two eight row units with a Hinson hitch like he did with the two six row planters. Both of them switched planters this year so we can combine with eight row corn heads. I have been spraying the corn herbicide. The Ag Leader Direct Command GPS unit is working very well in shutting off the booms. We put a large amount of gypsum where the corn pile was to help loosen the ground. You can see the floater spreading it here.

4/16/06: Billy J. finished spreading the fertilizer. We had a load of gypsum brought out to run a test using it on both corn and soybean ground. It might help some of the soils high in Mg or that are poorly drained. It was too windy to spread it before it rained Saturday. We may have to let it dry out some now. You can see a picture of the pile here.

4/9/06: David picked up a load of 11-52-0 (MAP) fertilizer at Omaha Friday. We have started to spread the fertilizer using variable rate. Billy J. is running the floater using the IPAQ to control the rate on the Raven monitor. You can see a picture of the floater spreading dry fertilizer here.

4/02/06: We finally finished the grain pile before it rained Saturday. The bins are full and we can haul corn now. It has rained over 1.5 inches the past two days. We can really use the moisture. You can see the south end of the cob building here.

3/26/06: I think that we cleaned corn two days this week after about five inches of snow. We have a few days left to clean. The bin is getting full, but we won't be able to haul the next corn until April 1. We may have to wait before we finish the pile. We had to pull the pit auger a few weeks ago and weld some more flighting on the bottom. You can see a picture here.

3/19/06: We cleaned corn again this week. We have a short week left. It is supposed to snow a lot in the next few days. We will have to wait a while to finish. I went to the Triumph of Agriculture Show at the Quest Center in Omaha. They have a lot of machinery and farm products. We ordered an Ag Leader Direct Command sprayer control. It shuts off the boom sections automatically by GPS. It may save on chemical expense and overlaps. You can see a picture of the man cage we used to work on the auger here.

3/12/06: We were able to clean a lot of corn again this week. The elevators are still having problems getting rail cars. We blow the cobs into the building with a 30-hp fan. You can see the cobs being blown into the Quonset here.

3/5/06: We cleaned and hauled corn all week. We are about two thirds done. We pulled the pit auger out and welded another piece of flighting on the bottom. That sped things up some. The elevators are still having problems getting rail cars. The elevator at Council Bluffs is making another pile on the ground and the truck traffic is really not that heavy yet. We need to fix a splice on the belt auger tomorrow. You can see a picture of the pile and loader here.

2/26/06: We were able to clean corn all week. The pile is getting close to half done now. It stayed warmer this week even up to 62 degrees one day. Things worked much better while it was warm. You can see another picture of the double tube chain and paddle auger (Grain Pump) here.

2/19/06: We had several breakdowns in the cold weather this week. I suppose that the bearings don't last when the temperature drops below 10 degrees F. The combine quit when I went to the shop to make a phone call. The motor burned the belts off. The corn overflowed into the cob air tube and plugged 60 feet all the way to where it goes up. We had to cut a three inch hole to blow it out. We have it fixed and it should be warmer this next week. I put an index of the 2005 pictures a few weeks ago here.

2/12/06: We were able to clean a fair amount of corn this week. It has gotten cold out again, so I'm glad that we are finished working on the augers. It snowed a little this weekend. The elevators are having a hard time getting rail cars. They have been shut down some. I am able to clean the cobs from the corn a little faster with the new auger. The combine cleaner broke the the upper tailings auger and we had to weld the flighting back on. You can see a picture of the pile after we started cleaning on it here.

2/5/06: We finally got the grain pump going. It seems to work nice. It is quiet and smooth. It takes less power to run than the screw auger. It has around a 4000 bushel per hour capacity, but we will clean less than half of that. We emptied the holding bin Saturday and we will haul from the pile tomorrow. You can see a picture of the Gnuse bucket on the six foot forklift rail here. We could load the 13.5 foot cob trailer with it if we wanted to.

1/29/06: The auger was lifted up on the bin this week. Kenny Bruce hooked onto it at the top with his crane and we carried the bottom with the end loader. We have a few days of work to get it going. You can see a picture of the crane lifting it up here.

1/22/06: We are still waiting on a crane before we can clean any more corn. We hope to get the auger put up this week. It snowed one or two inches Friday and was foggy Saturday morning. You can see a picture of our house here.

1/15/06: We had a lot of trouble with the Mayrath bottom drive auger this week. We went though several gearboxes and finally gave up on the old auger. We are going to have to spend a week and put up the grain pump auger (chain and paddles) before we work on the pile any more. You can see a picture of us setting up the auger pole here.

1/8/06: We cleaned more on the pile this week. Billy J. worked on the one truck putting in a water pump and block heater so we caught up to the grain bin. We will be able to run more this next week. You can see a picture of the JD 544 end loader here.

1/1/06: We cleaned some more corn this week. You can see the loader filling the auger wagon here. We can start hauling again on Tuesday. We have a lot of corn to haul this month. It is starting to dry up some now.