McGrew Brothers Farm Journal 2007

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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12/31/07: We have been working on the cob separator in the shop. You can see it being carried here. There are year end chores to be taken care of like ordering seed, chemicals, and fertilizers.

12/23/07: We keep getting more snow. We got the last load of soybeans on the truck. We are getting ready to pick up the corn pile. You can see a picture of it covered with a little snow here. They have been grinding some corn cobs the last two weeks.

12/16/07: The boys are still hauling soybeans. It snowed another four inches this weekend. It was below 0 F degrees this morning. I will put a picture of my daughter Stephanie holding a watermelon from the garden last year here.

12/9/07: Robert hauled soybeans to the crush plant this week. It has snowed several inches during a few times. It has been cold this week (14 F this morning). You can see the corn cob mix being augered here.

12/2/07: We finished the corn just in time before it rained and partly froze over an inch. We have the pile outside of corn and cob mix just like the last three years. The corn tested between 13% and 15% moisture. It should keep better this year if it doesn't get rained on much and it stays cold. You can see another picture of us making the pile here.

11/25/07: We combined corn this week. We got stopped for a while with an inch of snow. It has slowed the harvest some because of the snow and frost on the stalks for a few days. We have a short week left to finish. We started the second line of the pile. You can see a picture of our three trucks here.

11/18/07: We have been combining yellow corn all week. We lost much of today because of a little rain this morning. We have about ten days left to harvest. We have a pretty large pile of corn / cob mix on the ground. Here is a picture of when the pile was started with about 100 acres.

11/11/07: We finished the white corn and have been combining yellow corn for two days. We seem to have gotten along okay this year with the white corn. It will be delivered to the processor this winter. We started a pile on the ground of yellow corn and cob mix. The corn moisture is around 15%. You can see the white corn being loaded onto the truck here.

11/4/07: We finished the soybeans Friday. We are getting ready to combine the white corn. It is not standing as well as the yellow corn. We have to make sure to not have any soybeans in the white corn bin. We will not be able to save the cobs this year in the white corn. You can see a picture of the combine unloading soybeans in the auger wagon here.

10/28/07: We had a good week of combining soybeans. We have about one week left and then we will do our white corn. We are filling a bin with the rest of the soybeans after taking some to Council Bluffs. You can see the sidehill combine here.

10/21/07: We didn't get to combine anything this last week because of the rain (7-8 inches). A few people have gone out and got a little corn. It is getting pretty late to have this much harvest left to do in our area. We will be able to combine soybeans again in a day or two if it doesn't rain tonight. We have been working on the combines and augers. We are wiring a three phase 15 hp motor to put on the pit. You can see a picture of soybeans being unloaded into the truck from the combine here.

10/14/07: We were able to combine soybeans for several days. We have had over 3.5 inches of rain so far since Friday night. The soybeans were 11.5% to 12.5% moisture. We had to leave some that were wetter. We have been hauling soybeans that have been contracted to town. We fixed and supported the auger in the bin that was bent. You can see a picture here. The sweep will go under the iron legs when we pull the wood blocks out.

10/7/07: We finished pouring concrete for the auger towers. We took the forms off today. You can see a picture here. We have parts of some soybean fields that can go pretty soon. It may rain tonight and then we can maybe combine after it dries. Our white corn is still pretty wet (22%). It looks like we will wait on it.

9/30/07: We worked on the tower forms some more. They have been cleaning on the combines some. It has been hot and windy this week. I don't know if we will combine soybeans first or white corn. You can see a picture of some yellowing soybeans here. A lot of people are combining corn now. The boys have been selling some large bales of brome hay.

9/23/07: More people are going to start combining corn. Some of the soybeans are losing most of their leaves and will be ready to combine soon. Most of our soybeans are still green. We are working on setting up forms for the auger towers. The concrete will be four foot under ground and four foot above the ground. You can see a picture here.

9/16/07: We have been putting some machinery away and getting some harvest machinery out. Some of the soybeans in the area are yellowing or losing leaves. Our crops still have a ways to go. Our white corn has not black layered yet. It is looking pretty good. I don't know if we will do some corn or soybeans first. You can see a picture of me carrying a tree with the end loader here.

9/9/07: We hauled some used towers from town to support an auger to make one pile at harvest. The auger won't be here until October. It will be difficult to get it finished for harvest. David is about done hauling corn to empty the bin. The weight of the corn bent the 12 inch auger and 2 inch angle iron brace. We will fix it before harvest. You can almost see the bent leg here. We had planned to use the 12 inch auger for most of the bin. It bent when we were about two thirds done.

9/3/07: The corn is starting to dry down in places. The August rains may have added ten bushels an acre to a soybean crop that was behind all year. The soybeans are looking pretty good now finally. The corn may have been hot during pollination. Some of the ear tips do not have grain. We may end up being average with both crops. You can see some big watermelons at the state fair here.

8/26/07: We are still getting a lot of rain. We had some heavy wind that blew down some trees. Some areas of the county had some corn blow down. Most of ours is okay. We went to the last day at the state fair in Des Moines, Iowa. You can see a 1203 pound boar that won the largest hog prize here.

8/12/07: We got around 3 inches of rain in places this last week and another inch today. We went to Branson, MO last week. We rode on an amphibious military vehicle converted to hauling tourists. They were used in WW II. They have three axles and a propeller. Here is a picture of one.

8/5/07: We finished up hauling the soybeans. There is more corn to haul. The boys are still baling bromegrass in large round bales. You can see our little pontoon boat here.

7/29/07: We have gotten more rain. Almost two inches Saturday. The grain markets have been going up and down a lot. Mostly down. We have been hauling some corn and soybeans. We had the county fair last week. You can see the pot of sweet corn at the museum corn boil a few weeks ago here.

7/22/07: We get a little rain, but it is still fairly dry. We hauled some more corn last week. Here is a photo of a storm coming over the pond. Some small places in the corn fields ran out of nitrogen.

7/15/07: We went up in our cousin's airplane to take some pictures of the fields. The field here had a hard time getting planted and emerging in the wet terraces. The boys are hauling corn and baling hay. We are hopefully finished spraying for the year. It is still dry out. We did get 0.2 to 0.6 inches of rain a few days ago.

7/8/07: We have two days of soybeans left to spray. I broke a cast iron elbow trying to get the muffler off. I may have to wait a few days to finish. It is getting dry out. A few weeks ago, the motor was acting up on the spray boom section behind where I couldn't easily see. You can see a picture of the missed weeds here.

7/1/07: We started to spray the soybeans again with Cornerstone (Roundup). The boys are baling some hay around the fence rows. There has not been a very good crop of hay this year. You can see a before and after picture of a terrace that we fixed with the end loader here.

6/24/07: We finished spraying the corn and side dressing nitrogen. You can see a picture of the corn and soybeans when I took a picture of a deer here. We replanted a little corn and maybe some soybeans soon.

6/17/07: We have sprayed most of the corn with Liberty. We could not use that on the white corn. Billy J. is side dressing some corn with nitrogen. David replanted a few wet spots of corn. It is actually starting to get dry out now. The corn roots are shallow from the earlier wetness. You can see a picture of some turkey vultures that landed on our barn here.

6/10/07: I finished spraying the stalks going to soybeans with Roundup and Prowl yesterday. They will finish planting the soybeans tomorrow. I will spray the corn next with either Liberty or Steadfast/Callisto. You can see a picture of the sprayer in the cornstalks here. We are still putting 32% nitrogen on the corn with the Blu Jet high pressure applicator.

6/3/07: We are still having a hard time getting back into the field because of the rain. We have just been out a little this week. We had a water jet (Don's Septic) come out and get some tiles unplugged in the field. You can see a picture of it here.

5/27/07: We got all the corn planted before it rained several times again this week. We have had more rain this spring than we have had for a long time. We probably have had around 12 inches this month. I am getting behind with the spraying. It is supposed to rain again Tuesday, so I will go out tomorrow with Prowl and Roundup for the soybeans. You can see the finished culvert that was moved up the creek here.

5/20/07: We are still working on planting corn. It is getting a little harder to get nitrogen. Brown's fixed a culvert that washed out, so I can spray the last corn field tomorrow. I really like Ag Leader's Direct Command in the sprayer. It turns the boom sections on and off automatically using less spray than I would manually. You can see a picture of the monitor screen here. The left side of the triangle is running along a 30' grass buffer. The right side is turning on as needed. I have the booms set to turn on 2.5 seconds early (now at 2.0).

5/13/07: We are planting corn, putting on 32% nitrogen, and spraying herbicides. Most of the fields have dried out, but there are wet spots that we have to avoid. I got the sprayer stuck in the field today. Billy J. pulled it out with the tractor. You can see a picture of it here.

5/6/07: There has been more rain again this week. We have planted and sprayed some more corn. It rained 5 inches last night and it is raining again tonight. Some of the creeks and rivers are flooding the lower fields around us. We haven't had much of that yet in our fields. The rains may cause us get our corn planted later than normal. We pulled the old flag pole out of the cemetery. You can see it here. There was about a 24” by 6' concrete base.

4/29/07: We have received a lot of rain this last week. We have had between three and four inches. We have just started to barely plant corn and spray now. It was windy again today. The fields are barely dry enough to be out in. You can see a picture of the boys sweeping out the holding bin for the corn and cob mix here.

4/22/07: We finally finished cleaning up the corn pile. Billy J. has been spreading dry fertilizer (11-52-0) using variable rate with the GPS. I have been working on the sprayer getting it ready to go. It was too windy the last two days to spray. Bill and David are working on their planters. It rained again today. You can see the floater getting loaded from the semi truck here.

4/16/07: We received more rain this last week. We have about one load left to pick off the ground. There is more damage this year because of the rain and warm temperatures. We will consider covering the pile and making one large peak next year. You can see a picture of the cobs blowing into the building here.

4/8/07: We have about two days left to clean up the rest of the pile. We hauled some of the corn mix to a cattle feeder. We brought the dry box floater into the shop to work on it. The price of corn has gone down over a dollar in the last few weeks. You can see a picture of the truck unloading corn into the pile last harvest here.

4/1/07: We have still been hauling corn. Our next job will be to spread some dry phosphate fertilizer (11-52-0). We got our end loader back now. Here is a picture of the rental telehandler loading a wagon. The price of corn went limit down (20 cents) Friday after the government intended acres report. Corn would have been $3.52 if it would have traded (probably 12 cents lower yet) and soybeans are $7.06.

3/25/07: It has been warm all week. We are still working on the pile of corn and David is hauling some soybeans. We have been getting some rain and it is muddy out. We had to go back to the 8 inch auger because something is wrong with the 12 inch on the bin. You can see the truck being loaded here.

3/18/07: We are still hauling corn. The corn has not kept as well this year because of around four inches of rain in December – January and the warm winter. We are about 60% done with the pile. Here is a picture of the rental telehandler.

3/11/07: It has warmed up and has been very muddy. We have been hauling grain from the pile and have been hauling it to Council Bluffs. It has been a little hard in the mud. We had to take the end loader in to get the engine over-hauled. There was a hole in a piston. We had to rent a telehandler for a little while. You can see the end loader filling a wagon here.

3/04/07: We had quite a blizzard starting Thursday. I don't know how much snow they called it (10”), but the wind drifted it badly. School was canceled for two days and the roads were closed. A lot of cars when in the ditch. We have to overhaul the engine in the end loader. You can see a picture of the new sieve we put in the cob combine here.

2/25/07: We are still cleaning up the corn pile. We will be able to haul more corn in March. The bin is not very full yet. It was so windy Friday that we had to put a three foot tube on the auger to keep the corn from blowing out of the truck. I added the 2006 picture achieve last week. You can also see it here.

2/18/07: It has still been cold out. It will get above freezing most of this next week. The snow in the corn has been causing some problems with the machinery. The wetter cobs tend to bridge up. You can see a picture of the auger wagon unloading in the pit here.

2/11/07: We cleaned on the corn pile this week again. The boys have also been hauling corn to Council Bluffs. The 12-inch bin auger works good except we have to empty it out every load so it will start. It has snowed some and it has been cold this week. You can see a picture of the combine cleaning the corn-cob mix here.

2/4/07: We have been hauling corn and cob mix from the pile to the cleaner. It has been below zero degrees some mornings. The cold is hard on the machinery. We put a new sieve in the combine cleaner. You can see the start of the pile being removed here. Robert started hauling corn to Council Bluffs.

1/28/07: I was gone most of the week for some co-op meetings. The boys emptied a truck of corn and cob mix and started the combine cleaner. There is still snow on the ground at 8 degrees F this morning and will get to around 28 F tomorrow afternoon. You can see the loader lifting the 30 hp motor to the 12 inch auger here.

1/21/07: We are getting close to getting all the augers and bins ready to pick up the corn pile. It has snowed a few times this week. We got around 4 inches of snow last night. We cut two holes in the concrete floor of the grain bin to help uncover the sweep auger when the bin is almost empty. You can see a harvest picture of the combines unloading into the wagon here.

1/14/07: We worked this week on the augers and other shop work. We received a little rain and about three inches of snow eventually today. We dug a soil pit to look at the corn roots this summer. The roots were over 52 inches deep in this spot. The pit is about 4.5 feet deep. You can see it here.

1/7/07: We are getting ready to clean up the corn and cob pile. We are putting new flighting on an auger and working on several other jobs. Paulsen electric is adding a variable speed controller to the auger that feeds the combine cleaner. They are also wiring up the new bin auger. The weather has been unusually warm and wet. The pile will not keep as long this year as the last two. You can see where the boys replaced the combine cylinder bars and filler plates before harvest here.