Tag Archives: Foodies

Our Farm In Pictures: Baseball, John Deere, Flipped Pivot and a New Home

Well, after quite a bit of time off from the blog, here we go again.  Been a busy 2013 so far.  All of our crops are in the ground for this year and have all emerged.  We will be raising popcorn, white corn, yellow corn, alfalfa and prairie hay this year.

Our color scheme change.  first planted corn field in the background
Our color scheme change. first planted corn field in the background

 

 

We welcomed a full time employee to our operation this year.  Mason is a graduate of Hastings College and had worked for us part time while attending college and playing college football.  He graduated in December and started work for us at the beginning of the year.  We are happy to have him helping us.

Hastings Brickyard Bombers 8u
Hastings Brickyard Bombers 8u

I have spent a lot of time this year coaching a USSSA 8u Hastings Brickyard Bombers baseball team.  Coaching 8 year old kid pitch baseball has been a great experience.  To see where the kids are now compared to the beginning of the year and to see them start to have some success has been very gratifying. It has been a year of fundamentals and learning how to play the game the right way.  The main thing we want out of our team is for them to look at us at the end of the year and say they can’t wait to play next year.

We broke from our color scheme on the farm this year and bought a John Deere tractor which has brought me much joy(sarcasm) in the form of all the ribbing I have taken from friends and neighbors.

Weather has created some interesting situations this year also.  We have had a flipped pivot, some minor hail, gone from dry to wet and experienced relatively cool temperatures so far outside of one 100 degree day.

We have also decided after two years of subdivision living that it is time to be back on the farm and will start the construction of our new house in the next couple weeks.  The mailbox is up, plans are done and we are off and running with it.  I spend a lot of time talking about the disconnect from agriculture in our society and we felt like we were contributing to that with our children.  There are many benefits of subdivision living like neighbors, kids for our kids to play with, socialization, etc, but we also enjoy the peace, family, responsibility, work ethic, freedom and privacy living on the farm provides us.  So, back to the home place we go!  Wishing you a safe and prosperous spring and summer season.  The Weeks Family

 

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The beginnings of our new house at the farm.

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Everything ready to go for 2013 planting season
Everything ready to go for 2013 planting season
Flipped pivot
Flipped pivot

Irrigation Season on Our Farm.

Water flowing down a row on our gravity irrigated fields 

 

It has been a very busy summer here as we have been in one of the worst droughts I have seen. We have caught a few timely rains here that other areas of the state have not. Our non-irrigated corn is just barely hanging on. We will have a crop from it, but it will be less than expected. Our irrigated fields look great and yield projections for those will most likely be record yields the way it looks now as we are way ahead on Growing Degree Units and have very minimal disease and insect pressure.

The popcorn looks good this year as do all of the soybeans also. I have included a few pictures of gravity irrigation and pictures of the crops to catch you all up with what is going on. Hope to get back to posting a little more often, but mother nature and kids activities dictate my free time this time of year.

 

 

a pipeline on one of our gravity irrigated fields. The water flows through the pipe and out individual gates for every row that we open manually. It is a labor intensive irrigation process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the lower end of the field that the water flows to and we check to make sure the rows flow through to the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are thankful to have the irrigation on our farms as much of this country’s ag producers are not so fortunate!

Our corn is nearing roasting ear stage and it looks like harvest will be around two weeks early this year.

This is a book we use to keep track of the rows that water reaches the end. This particular field has over 600 rows.

Did You Know McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Sonic All Support HSUS?

This is a great blog post by Chris Chinn, a farmer from Missouri.  Her number one concern is the welfare of her animals!

Did You Know McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Sonic All Support HSUS?.

Chris does a great job of explaining her family’s reasons for adopting modern pork production practices!!!

Downtime In the Winter? Not On This Farm!

One of the common misconceptions with row crop farming is that we tend to take the winters off and basically sit around doing nothing.  I would say a decade or two ago if you were purely a grain farmer, there was a lot more time off than now, however, most farms twenty years ago had a livestock presence also.  It seems we finish harvest, start fall fieldwork, ground freezes, and you tackle the continual pile of bookwork and planning for the next year along with working on equipment for the next few months so it performs with minimal breakdowns.

We used to have a cow/calf herd on this farm and I will tell you that when it is snowing and blowing I do not miss the cows a bit, but many in our area who farm also tend to a livestock herd year round.  I can tell you that if you have livestock, there is no downtime on the farm.  I remember calving out heifers (Cows who are having their first calf) and waking every two to four hours for two months to check on them in cold weather.  I also remember rolling bales in blizzards to try to keep them warm and give them a dry place to herd along with some energy from the feedstock.  Carrying a half frozen calf through snow while the cow head butts you in the rear because you took the calf.  Having a cow jump in the back of a pickup because you are tagging her calf.  The days of raising livestock on a larger scale are not something we intend to do again, but we will have a small herd again someday to teach my children the responsibility of caring for food animals and understanding the purpose they serve.

Another thing that has changed over the years for our farm is that there is a tremendous amount of management and bookwork that goes into a farming operation.  We have become more like a full fledged business.  We have moved from written accounting ledgers, to quicken, to quickbooks, and now to managerial accounting which allows us to analyze data from a cash or accrual basis on individual field levels.  We have changed from, well I think i will plant this because of rotation or preference to hard financial analysis of what crop will provide the best return while also properly nurturing the soil that is the living organism that our farm depends on each and every day to make our living.  We spend days in the winter analyzing yield data, soils maps, soil fertility tests, and hybrid data to pull all of these things together and go to the field in March or April with a plan that rests on hopes of a good weather year.

You all know the sayings about farmers.  “Three and three, three weeks in the spring and three weeks in the fall”, Keep the hat rolled so it will fit in the mailbox”, etc, etc.  Agriculture has become a full time, highly management focused business.  It has adapted and changed to meet ever increasing needs both domestically and globally while maintaining the “Family Farm”.

Do we slow down a little in the winter compared to the growing season, yes, but do accountants slow down other than year end and the tax season early in the year?    Yes, they do.  Is winter “downtime” on our farm?  I would say, no.  Is winter downtime when raising livestock on a farm?  I would definitely say NO!

Our Farm Week In Pictures 11/6/2011

Well, we finished up harvest a little over a week ago and it has been a blur of activity since then.  We are shredding stalks on the gravity irrigated fields, discing up our organic quarter to return it to conventional production, drying grain in the bins to prepare the crop for winter storage, cleaning up equipment, winterizing equipment, storing equipment in the building for the winter, purchasing and making commitments for next years crop inputs, planning for next years crop and meeting with our seed customers to get next years orders.

Below are a few pictures to get you caught up on our farm happenings.

This is us harvesting our NET plot which is an experimental corn plot with all of the newest genetics either entering full production, or still in the experimental stage. These hybrids are compared against current hybrids both in our line-up and competitive companies. Each hybrid has four rows spaced 30 inches and 400 feet long. We plant the corn at a population of 34,000 plants per acre.
This is our sprayer we purchased recently to do all of our own spraying. We had previously done all of our own and spent two years having it commercially done by someone else. I am looking forward to getting to run this machine.
My son getting his four wheeler fix for the week shortly before we started harvest.
End of the first day of hunting at the Korkow Rodeos Ranch near Pierre, SD. I make this trip annually. Beautiful country and a few days of unplugging from technology as cell phones do not work there for the most part.

Farming, Kids, Golfing, Wine, Country Music, Leadership, Community, Networking, College Football and Sushi

One of the things I really came to the realization of this weekend at the Agchat Foundation Conference is that as hard as you try to be yourself in your online conversations, the real you doesn’t get across until you have those in person conversations not limited by 140 characters or the time we spend in our endeavours to promote agriculture. So, in light of that, this is a blog post to introduce you to me. This is not our farm, what happens on our farm, or an agvocating post! It is a post about all of those things in the title that are me and create the fire inside.  In short, how do all of the words in this post title fit together?

Many on here know and have experienced my intense passion for the occupation in which I work, but there is much more that lays the foundation for who I am. I view my interests as rather diverse for a country kid raised on the farm. I am equally comfortable in Wranglers as I am in a Business Suit. I enoy being covered in grease, sweat, and mud while working but enjoy an evening of golf with my wife or friends at the country club. There is nothing better than charburgers on the grill and fresh sweetcorn, although to me equally good is great sushi and a Sapporo.

I love Country Music, but a little Eminem now and then with some Nickleback suits me also. Taste testing different local beers is something I love to do, and I also enjoy the experience with wine. Leadership roles come naturally to me, but I can serve in structure of an organization effectively. I can carry a hard edge when working, but have three kids that soften me more with age. I love college football, parrticulary the Nebraska Cornhuskers and also have an artsy side that appreciates greatly the gifts

artists have as I don’t play an instument and the only drawing I can do is a picture of Snoopy!  I like to Hunt and Fish, but also enjoy a night on the town with my wife.  I have a strong feeling that all need to serve their commuity in some kind of volunteer capactiy as working for something besides money is satisfying to me. I used to love politics, now it infuriates me!  I believe strongly in the community in which I live and will continue to fight to preserve it for my kids. But most of all I just want to be a good Husband, Father, and Friend!So while this gives you a glimpse of the things that drive my passion and are parts of my life, the one thing I realized and heard over and over this weekend was how important your real life connections are and that you must find a balance.  I am very fortunate to have a very diverse group of friends and family in my life.

Future blog posts are going to try to reflect our lives as a whole on this farm and not just the agvocating that we do.  In order to effectively communicate our thoughts and ideas relating to agriculture, you must know who we are also.

Our Farm Week In Pictures 6/16/2011

Just a few pictures to get everyone updated on the happenings around our farm lately.  We are just finishing side-dressing the nitrogen on the corn.  We are currently cultivating and ridging the corn for gravity irrigation.  We are also in the process of getting irrigation motors ready for irrigation season and hauling some of last years corn to our local elevator to sell.

Newly side-dressed corn that is about to canopy the row. We will ridge this corn next week and be gravity irrigating it in about 2 weeks if no rain between now and then.
Unloading corn at our local elevator.
My son waiting patiently while we load the truck with corn to deliver to the local elevator. This is one of the few times he was not running the air horn on the semi.
My Father and My Son waiting while we are loading corn out of the bins. My son is really into doing the bunny ears during pictures theses days.