McGrew Brothers Farm Journal 1998

June - December

Journal by Steve (usually updated Sunday night)

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12/27/98: We got back our soil test results. We will need some phosphate on most of the fields and some lime on some of the others. We will have the fertilizer applied this winter. We had to run the fans on the white corn bins to cool them down. Usually we haven't worried this early in the year about the corn. The warm December weather and the warm temperature it was harvested at have accelerated this.

12/20/98: It is finally cold out this Sunday (14 degrees). We had gotten spoiled over the warm weather. The soybean market keeps going down. Maybe it can recover this next week. We had the coop grid soil sample two fields. They sample every 3.3 acres and computer contour the results on the map. It is very nice but expensive to do the first time. I've been looking at some of the harvest yield data, but I need to get most of the files from the coop yet.

12/13/98: We got the rest of our corn contract hauled this week to Council Bluffs. We took quite a few soil samples also. We borrowed the neighbor's hand held GPS receiver to record the sample locations on some of the fields.  I was going to remove the GPS unit in the combine but it looked like too much work. We wanted to sell some of next year's soybeans but the price dropped $.25 this week. I hope that it can recover some soon. The weather is still very warm out for December.

12/6/98: It is white outside now with snow this Sunday. This is only our second snow of the year. It has been unusually warm this fall. It has been in the 50's and 60's lately. Our landlord has been building terraces and we got them seeded with brome while the dirt was still loose. We cleaned up around the grain site before it snowed. Robert got all of our weed seed combined except the giant ragweed. It was down so bad that it wouldn't feed through the row head. He's going to try the platform head if it dries up. I have a few pictures now on a page. The quality is poor; maybe I can learn how to do it better.

11/29/98: We put away machinery and have tried to catch up on things that got neglected during harvest. Three more loads of cobs were hauled out. We cleaned up about 100 Bu. of cobs on top of the Quonset that piled up when the auger broke. We need to haul some corn for December delivery. I was able to collect some more stalk samples even though it is very late for this test. It is now starting to rain this Sun. night. The scanner is going so I hope to have some farm pictures on a redesigned page soon. 

11/22/98: We finished our corn harvest yesterday (Sat.). The moisture was between 15.5% and 16.5% lately. It's nice to be done even though the weather is supposed to be good this next week. Our cob building is full and so are the grain bins. I hope to be able to spend some time looking at the GPS yield data. We will try to get our weed seed combined pretty soon. We have waterhemp, giant ragweed, giant foxtail, and maybe velvetleaf. Most of this is laying in windrows. We need to haul some grain pretty soon also.

11/18/98: We started to combine again Friday. We should get done this Friday or Saturday if it doesn't rain or snow. We need to get several trucks of cobs and maybe 15,000 bu. of corn hauled away to make room to finish harvest. We have several people hauling now.

11/8/98: We hauled corn to Council Bluffs all week. We almost have enough bin storage cleared out to finish harvest. We didn't get to combine any corn this week. We thought it was too muddy. Some people combined Thursday and Friday before it rained and snowed Saturday night. There was around one inch of snow mixed with some rain. It will be most of the week before we can combine again. They hauled away two more trucks of cobs this week. I bought a scanner at the Omaha computer show. Maybe I'll be able to put some farm pictures on our web page now.

11/1/98: We had a pretty good week of combining corn. It is raining now this Sunday so we may be stopped for a few days. We need to haul a lot of corn to Council Bluffs to make room for the rest of the harvest. The rain will give us a chance to do this. Our neighbor has been helping us drive the trucks the last few days. We have around 10 more days of harvest left. Our combines save the mixture of corn and broken cobs in the grain tank. We haul the mix back to the farm and dump the truck in a pit made out of a buried fertilizer tank. We then auger the mix to an electric powered combine that separates it. The wet corn drops into the dryer's wet holding bin and the cobs are augered into the Quonset.

10/25/98: We finished combining the soybeans Friday. The elevators are starting to fill up with grain. It was starting to become difficult to haul our contracted grain to Council Bluffs. We ended up only putting one load of soybeans in the bin. We probably have about 15 days left of corn to combine. I'm hoping it will be dry enough out of the field. The boys changed the combines over to do corn today. We should be able to start back on the corn tomorrow. We'll finish the white corn first. My nephew got two pheasants this weekend during the youth-only hunting season.

10/18/98: We are almost two thirds done combining the soybeans. We have about five days left. We have been hauling almost all of them to Council Bluffs. We sold a little more to finish our harvest at $5.28. That's a pretty low price. There was more waterhemp in the soybeans than I would have liked. The rest of the soybeans were resprayed with Roundup later and they are very clean. It rained 0.9 inches Friday and we hope to be back in the field by Tuesday. We are hauling corn to make room for the rest of the corn harvest. We are about one fourth done with the corn.

10/11/98: We combined a little white corn before we started doing the soybeans. They are testing between 12% and 13.5% moisture. The moisture docks are 6 to 7 cents a half point over 13%. We have been hauling some beans to the new Bunge plant. We usually load the semi trucks in the field and haul the beans straight to Council Bluffs. We had to put some beans in the bin this weekend. The yield on the beans seems to be pretty good. They hauled most of the cobs away. They were getting pretty warm. I took some corn stalk samples to test for nitrate levels. This will determine if we had the right amount of applied nitrogen.

10/6/98: We had a pretty good week of getting some corn harvested. Bill and Robert started working on the combine's bean heads Thursday and then it rained Friday and is still raining hard today. We have about 150 tons of cobs in the building that are starting to smell fermented. A truck is supposed to come Monday to haul them to Omaha. Most of the corn tested 17.5% moisture, but a 100 acre field tested 22%. We would like to combine all our soybeans next, but with all this rain we may have to go back to corn. We would probably do our white corn next. The yield monitor quit and we had put in a loaner. It's hard to calibrate the yield with the different weight of the cobs per bushel. The new Bunge plant in Council Bluffs is supposed to be open Monday.

9/27/98: We started combining corn Thursday. It is yielding pretty well. The corn is testing 19.5% - 22.5% moisture. It is hard for the dryer to keep up. We have a Farm Fans 420 J batch dryer that I like. The GPS yield monitor seems to be working pretty well. We put a screen in front of the moisture tester. It surprisingly doesn't seem to be plugging up. The cobs seem to be quite wet. We may have to get them hauled away before they get hot. Our soybeans will probably be ready by the end of the week. A lot of the neighbors are combining theirs now. The boys are working on the soybean heads when they can.

9/20/98: We've been getting ready for harvest. Bill combined a sample of 23.8% white corn. The hand shell samples from another field would put it wetter than that. We may start the middle of the week on corn. The soybeans will be ready pretty soon also. The coop came out and put a different moisture reader on the yield monitor. We may try a GPS receiver. David windrowed some waterhemp.

9/13/98: We got the other combine a few days ago. It has the Bish extensions on it and a yield monitor. We've been getting the combines and the grain handling system ready. It gets harder every year to hire help during the harvest. Allen, who has helped us twice, will help us this year along with a friend of his. We're glad to have our help lined up. We may be ready to combine corn in about a week. Most of the corn is probably in the upper twenty percents, but some people can find some fields that test below 18%. Bill hauled the JD 1928 GP to the Emerson parade to pull the library float. We might get it painted next year.

9/8/98: Bill and Robert put the cob screens in the combine. We still haven't gotten the second one. David did some dirt work around the machine shed with the road grader. We are still mowing and spraying sunflowers and cockleburs. Some of the neighbors have been chopping corn silage and we noticed one who was combining some high moisture corn. Our corn should be ready to combine in a week or two. We can't combine much over 24% moisture because of the cobs in the mix. We've been talking to another town about using the cob pieces for a playground cushion. I looked at the high school playground and was very pleased at the way it looked.

8/30/98: Robert and Bill are overhauling the six row bean head. Putting in new bearings, chains and some shafts. We are still mowing and getting sunflowers. They brought out one of the combines Saturday and took the old one away. I think it will help the harvest go faster. It's a larger machine than the old one.

8/22/98: The cobs are almost all hauled now. We usually do it in the winter. We are not having very good luck trying to find the separator off an 8820 JD combine to separate the cobs at the bin site. This would replace our 7700. The grain will be coming in faster this year with the newer combines. We got the bid for an old Cat road grader from the nearby town. It is a late 1940's to early 1950's model with a four-cylinder engine. We are going to use it to fix some field ditches all over. The boys delivered two truck loads of cobs to the school playground for a cushion under the playground equipment.

8/9/98: Bill has been hauling cobs to Omaha. We've been mowing with the tractors and spraying sunflowers by hand. The week before, we emptied out our last bin of corn and hauled two loads to Council Bluffs. We sold it for a little under $2.00 per Bu. It's even lower than that now.

8/4/98: We picked up the cob trailer in Omaha to start hauling cobs. Had to work on the lights and air on it. Bill hauled a load up today. Started mowing around the fields again. We put the sprayer away today. Robert has been getting the JD 6620 Sidehill combine ready to trade in. We're going to get two used JD 9500 Sidehill combines to replace them. The one has a yield monitor on it and we may get to try a GPS receiver for a few days this harvest. I don't know how it will work on the corn with the cobs mixed in with the grain. The crops look real good. I suspect harvest will start early this year, maybe mid September.

7/21/98: It has been in the upper 90 degrees the last few days. I finished respraying 300 acres of our Roundup Ready soybeans Friday. I guess we'll have to wait later next year to spray our second trip because of the lack of residual. They do look very clean except for the small grass that had emerged.

7/16/98: Our first Roundup Ready beans that we sprayed around June 21 need to be redone. There is some giant foxtail in them. It has been hot out but we do keep getting rain. Most of the corn is tasseling now. This is the first year we have planted some white corn. It is looking pretty good.

7/3/98: Finished spraying the soybeans yesterday with Pursuit & Status. Since we use the floater we don't like them to get too big. We had a lot of wind last week. It blew three windows out of the house and blew a 3000 bu. grain bin a half mile away into the neighbors field.

6/26/98: We have been spraying our soybeans this week with Roundup. They are in the 2 to 4 trifoliate leaf stage. About 60% of our soybeans are Roundup Ready. We planted some giant ragweed along the creek. David had to cultivate some corn that got grassy on us for some reason. Bill has been mowing the fence rows this week.