McGrew Brothers Farm Journal 2014

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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-- Click on the blue hyperlink each week to see the picture. --

12/28/14: We are trying to take care of year end purchases. You can see the drill here where I ran between the new terraces a few weeks ago trying to get some cover.

12/21/14: We were able to finish hauling the rest of our soybeans to town. We will haul corn next. You can watch me playing a musical saw at church a few months ago on YouTube here.

12/14/14: We hauled soybeans to Council Bluffs this week. You can see the loader here in the Quonset getting a bucket to dump in the truck. It was warm this week. I drilled some triticale beside where the bulldozer made some terraces this fall.

12/7/14: We are trying to make some seed purchasing decisions. I had to fix the electrical wiring going to the barn and garage. You can see here where the lighting must have hit it this summer.

11/23/14: It got pretty cold this week (5 degrees F). That could end any NH3 applications and cover crop plantings until spring. We put up Nancy's barn quilt today that she made here.

11/16/14: We were able to finish the corn before it snowed. We are basically done except for a few acres of soybeans that were too muddy to get. Maybe we can get them after it freezes some more. You can see a picture of the auger wagon dumping in the truck here.

11/09/14: We have two days left of the corn harvest. We have been hauling some corn to Council Bluffs instead of making a pile like we were originally planning on. You can see the combines here.

11/02/14: We have had a pretty good run combining the corn this last week. We had to dry some corn at first. You can see the dryer here. It had not been used for a while.

10/26/14: We finished combining the soybeans and have started on the corn again. The corn may have to be dried some this year. You can see a picture of us combining soybeans here.

10/19/14: We are over half done with harvesting our soybeans. We are putting them in the flat storage of our Quonset that we used to store the corn cobs in. You can see a picture here. We almost have the building full now. We will have to put the rest in a bin.

10/12/14: We have combined some corn and some soybeans.

10/5/14: Many people have combined some corn and a little soybeans. We are about to start. It has been raining some more. It is starting to look like a late harvest. You can see a picture here of some aerial seeded cereal rye and rapeseed.

9/28/14: The corn has dried quite a lot this last week. It will dry some more until maybe a rain Tuesday night. We made a spout to connect the dryer drag to the top of the dead-man on top of the grain bin. It is the shiny spout and tube above the round part here.

9/21/14: We are getting ready for harvest. We had some cover crops flown on the yellowing soybeans. Some fields have cereal rye and rapeseed. Another has hairy vetch, rapeseed, spring barley, and crimson clover. You can see what the soybeans look like here.

9/14/14: We received about 3” of rain in the day which shows in this picture running across the pasture here. The weather has also been cool. We would still expect the harvest to be later and wet.

9/7/14: The northern corn leaf blight continued to spread eventually even after we sprayed it. It has been cool and it keeps raining. You can see the tile lines draining the field here. We are trying to decide whether to fly some cover crop seed on early when it may rain this week.

8/31/14: It has been raining a lot lately. We even got eight inches in one week. The crops look good, except they are getting more diseases with the moisture. You can see some northern corn leaf blight in the picture here. It leaves long cigar shaped dead lesions on the leaves. We expect the harvest to run later and wetter this year.

8/17/14: The crops still look good. The weather has been cool with rain. The harvest will be late and maybe wet. We are working on the grain dryer. You can see a picture of the Living History Indian hut here.

8/10/14: We have been getting rain this week. That will really help the soybeans fill the pods. With the cool and wet weather we have been having, it was probably a good idea to spray the corn for the northern corn leaf blight. The mild and wet weather favors the disease. I loaded up some 5 horse power motors to get fixed here.

8/3/14: We borrowed a GoPro camera and attached it on the wing of an ultra-light airplane. It took some pictures of our fields. This is the field at my house here. You can see some yellowing of the corn where the excess rain reduced the nitrogen in places. We still have a few bugs in the system to improve.

7/27/14: We had to have some additional acres of corn sprayed. The corn is really looking good now and the price continues to go down. We went to Living History Farms near Des Moines. You can see the 1850 field and fence here. Our daughter Stephanie is working at a summer internship there.

7/20/14: Some of our corn has been infected with northern corn leaf blight. We had some of it sprayed aerially with a fungicide. It can be severe if the weather would be mild and damp. I hope we don't have to spray anymore. You can see a picture of us getting ready to return some seed boxes here.

7/13/14: I was finishing spraying the replanted soybeans and got rained out. May have to respray 10 acres. The Pork Producers grilled pork chops at the museum corn boil here. The museum had an antique tractor pull also.

7/6/14: Finished spraying the main soybeans. I just have the replanted ones left to spray. I may get to do them tomorrow. They used to hope for knee high corn by the fourth of July. My daughter Stephanie is standing by our corn here. The crops look better than I ever remember now. Unfortunately the grain prices are going down hard because of this.

6/29/14: It keeps raining too much to finish spraying the soybeans. It is supposed to rain tomorrow also. Lightning hit the maple tree outside our house here. It took out our computer router, but nothing else. We were lucky it didn't do more. We must have been gone when it happened.

6/22/14: They got the hydraulic pumps fixed on the sprayer. Something is still funny with the speed. It has been wet or windy for several weeks. It rained again today and yesterday. The boys hauled some corn last week. You can see the power sweep here in the bin. It works well.

6/15/14: Bill replanted the soybeans in the one field that was hailed out. I have almost half of the soybeans sprayed the second time. It rained last night so we will have them pull the hydraulic pumps off of the sprayer to get them overhauled. We should be back in the field in a few days. You can see the soybeans in another field here. They are about two trifoliate leaf staged.

6/8/14: We had some bad storms Tuesday night. We will have to replant the soybeans on the farm west of Henderson because of the hail. You can see the dead soybeans here. We have been getting a lot of rain lately and the corn will start growing fast. Some of it got a little torn up in the wind.

6/1/14: I have a little corn left to spray. I got rained out today. I had to try really hard to get the tank empty because it settles out overnight. Here is a picture of some drilled soybeans emerging.

5/25/14: We were able to finish planting the soybeans. We have started to spray the corn post emergence with Halex. You can see planted soybeans in the old corn stalks here. We try not to disturb the residue very much.

5/18/14: We have been planting soybeans for several days. I am waiting for the corn to get two collars old to spray again. I have been running the JD 1690 drill in the meantime planting soybeans here. It is wet out to plant, but most people are going to finish anyway.

5/11/14: We are almost done planting the corn. It rained this morning, so we will be stopped for a while. I finished spraying the ground going to soybeans and will wait for the corn to come up before I spray it. You can see a picture here of the 8”-10” wheat cover crop.

5/04/14: We are getting back into the field again. We have sprayed a little and are testing out the planters. It is more wet out than I expected. You can see the planter here.

4/27/14: Bill finished the NH3. It has been raining some. We need the rain, but we wish we could get some field work done. I got to tour an older co-op grain elevator and took this picture of the grain being moved. It is called Avon and was very impressive.

4/20/14: We are working on equipment. Bill has two days left of NH3. We got another rain today. There have been some people planting corn already. You can see some Easter eggs the kids dyed this weekend here.

4/13/14: Bill has applied most of the NH3. We finally received some good rains, 1.7” so far. It will take a few days to finish after it drys. You can see a picture here of the wheat cover crop that the bar has gone through. It did not disturb it much. The cereal grains are just starting to green up.

4/6/14: Still running NH3. The bar seems to be working pretty well. You can hardly see where it has been. It is starting to get hard to get NH3 in town. The Ag Supply companies are on allocation. You can see another picture of the row units here. We are pretty dry out. We get a few showers and a little snow.

3/30/14: We finished spreading the dry fertilizer with the floater. We have started to apply NH3 with a new type of anhydrous bar made by Ag Synergy. It has rubber roller tracks that hold the residue and the soil in place while the knife goes over it. You can see it here. We are trying it out.

3/23/14: We have been spreading dry fertilizer. We are spreading both phosphate and potash. You can see a picture here. There is some field work being done in the neighborhood. It is supposed to snow tomorrow.

3/16/14: We went to pick up a NH3 bar to demo. We drove the old the straight truck here. We started hooking it up to the tractor.

3/9/14: It warmed up and got over 60 degrees today and slightly muddy. The fields are very dry out. We could use some rain. You can see us storing some soybean seed in Pro Boxes here.

3/2/14: Still cold out. We have hauled some corn. The price of grain has risen the last few weeks. You can see a picture of a rainbow we took last fall here.

2/23/14: Same field as last week, but with snow over it now here. We have been going to a lot of winter meetings. I have been going to some cover crop meetings. That is our farm in the background.

2/16/14: We hauled some corn and spread some lime this week. Corn has been going down in price the last few months and soybeans have been going up. The fields are dry. You can see some cracks in the ground where we parked the trucks at harvest here.

2/9/14: We had six inches of snow this week. You can see a drift here. We are waiting for it to warm up a bit to haul some corn. They were spreading some lime last week before the snow.

1/26/14: We finished hauling the rest of the soybeans. The markets have been very volatile and have been trending downward. You can see a picture of us dumping corn in the drag at harvest here.

1/19/14: We hauled some more soybeans and put on some ag lime. We had to pull the auger flighting out of the bin to get it going here.

1/12/14: We are trying to find some warmer days to get back to work outside. You can see a picture of my daughter here and her friend leading the horses back in November.

1/6/14: It has been bitterly cold out the last few weeks. It got down to -15 degrees Sunday night. We have held off hauling grain when it is so cold. The diesel fuel does not work as well in the cold as it used to. Here is a picture of one temperature cable out of the five they installed in our corn bin. We plug in a hand held device to read it. It is an OPI Integris.

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