#CrappyBlogger Alert – 2016 Spring Planting

Well, it’s been almost one and a half years since I have updated this blog, so I will admit it, I am a #crappyblogger.  We are going to work to change that and have at least a couple updates a month here to keep everyone updated on the happenings on the farm and in our lives on the farm.   If we fail in that endeavour, I will refer to the aforementioned hashtag and you can too!

Spring planting got off to a very dry start and the last week has brought 4.3 inches of rain.  The conditions prior to that rain were incredibly difficult to plant in and we only put in around 160 acres.  Now, with ample moisture to plant into and a weather forecast that looks favorable we plan to roll by the weekend on #plant16.

Below are a few photos from the spring here on the farm.

 

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Getting the planter ready to go
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Kristi and I at some business training working on our business plan
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Delivering Producers Hybrids seed to customers
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Our son doing what he loves to do
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Plenty of help from the girls
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Treating soybeans with Fungicide, insecticide and inoculant for #plant16

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

Wordless Wednesday: early morning planting

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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!

4 Wheelers, Hunting, #agnerd-ing and Some Snow – A Picture Show of The Last Few Weeks on the Farm

A little post harvest 4 wheelin' through the harvested soybean field on our home place

 

Deer Hunting

 

 

#agnerd-ing out by checking soil types while going through the field with a soilweb app on the iPad while sattellites steer the tractor for me.

 

Received a little snow last night just in time for Christmas.
Received a little snow last night just in time for Christmas!

 

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.

Our Farm Week In Pictures 10-16-2011

Just a few pictures to catch you up with what we have going this time of year.  We are currently very busy with yellow corn harvest and have seen some very good yields.  We finished soybeans a few days ago.  The corn is still a little too wet to go to the elevator with it so we are putting it in bins to dry it down and store.

Also included is a short video of how I taught my black lab Coal to jump up to the combine platform to ride along.  I apologize for the video being sideways as I held my phone that way.   Tilt your head a little to the left and you will never notice!!!

This is a picture of our computer which logs yield, moisture, work rate, time, date, etc. while going though the field. We use this data along with soil maps, soil sampling, and previous years application data and yield data to make decisions regarding nutrient application and cropping plans for the next year.
This is a picture of the stover left over after harvesting a yellow corn field. The red parts are the cob that the kernels were on. The combine take the ear in, shells it, and spits everything else out of the rear of the machine. This stover becomes an organism in itself as it decays and provides nutrients for next years crop and helps control soil and water erosion in our no-till system.
This is a sunrise this week as we were preparing the combine for the day. I tried to catch the Hunters moon in the evening, but the iPhone camera would not do it justice.
My son and I taking a picture from the top of the combine while we were greasing it to get it ready for the day. It was a very brisk morning! I really enjoy the time he spends with me in the combine. The iPad has also made it a time when he can get a little learning in while riding along with me. We use apps such as Smarty Pants and a Phonics app.