The 2013 harvest began this week. Not as unusual as it used to be, we started harvest with corn instead of soybeans. The corn stalks are quite weak this year from drought stress driving us to fire up the corn dryer and get moving taking the weakest corn first. Not all corn is created equal and some is falling before we can harvest it.
We tried harvesting the variety that was the worst but the kernels would not come off the cob so it waits longer and falls more.
We prefer to dry corn rather than let it naturally dry in the field. This saves us from phantom losses as well as over dry kernels shelling off in the corn head and dropping in the field.
To declare more independence from seed dealers, as well as add another “tool” to the business, Otto Farms has purchased their own forklift. After a couple months of scouting we settled on a 2000 Daewoo 5000# capacity lift truck. Very nice machine with records back to new. Purchased from Forklifts of MN. I’m sure that over time we will find many uses for this machine. A fork mounted scaffolding is next on our list.
Earlier this summer we added pallet racking to part of an end wall of our machine shed in anticipation of acquiring a forklift that would reach the 10 foot level. This shelving was intended to not only clear some floor space in the shed but to allow us to possibly store our rotary sickle on the top of the rack. After fitting our JD8310T with new tracks late summer, we were left with two very hefty pallets that the tracks were delivered on. With the addition of some scrap piping and angle irons we built a pallet to set the mower on and thus were able to lift it to the top of our rack.
The combine is out of the shed, the heads are ready, the grain system is ready and very soon the crops will be ready to harvest. A few neighbors have started to take out both corn and soybeans. At last check our corn was too wet and beans are a few days away as well.
The time has come to do our post-emerge application of Roundup on our soybeans. This spring we used a pre-emerge herbicide on our our fields. The soybean fields looked so clean we delayed longer than usual with our post emerge application. When we started spraying we realized the mistake we had made. The remaining weeds were 1 foot or taller. Too large for Roundup to do significant damage to. Many will burn down and then come back. Scouting the field one week later we already saw signs of new growth on waterhemp that looked dead from a distance. We also found 1 1/2 foot tall waterhemp than had little or no damage to the plant from our Roundup application of 38oz/acre.
On two fields we chose to take more drastic measure and hired migrant workers to hoe out our resistant weeds. They showed up two weeks after spraying and spent a few days walking the fields.
We also dug our old bean rider out of the shed and did some field border spraying from that.
Not to leave any weed patches untouched, we finally brought out our own hoes and went after some stray weeds with them.
Building ridges in corn always seems to have a narrow window of opportunity. We had a couple false starts where we were burying too much corn. Waited 3 or 4 days and suddenly we were ridging like mad July 1 -3. A few areas in the field were already on the verge of being too large as my rock box occasionally snapped off a stalk because it is the lowest point on my tractor. That will be remedied before next year’s ridges are built.
One week later, the corn was significantly taller. No way we could have made it through it then. One mistimed rainfall and we may have missed our opportunity.
As I drove through the yard the morning of July 5 I took a deep breath and enjoyed the aroma of fresh cut hay. The round bales were lined up in the yard and ready to be tucked away in the shed. It’s one of those rare times when you remember back to your youth when putting up hay meant a whole different thing. A lot of man and kid power was needed to fill the hay loft with hundreds of small square bales. Thanks to modern technology we now handle hay by machine instead of by hand.
The corn is growing quickly in Southwest MN. With the recent rains, we are finally feeling like our drought is subsiding, at least for the moment. This crop has a long way to go but it is doing well. We drove to Spirit Lake, IA the June 22 weekend. Throughout most of the trip, from Sanborn, MN south there was ponding and crops being lost to excess water. These areas had rains earlier that we missed and received as much or more rain that the 4″ we were blessed with in the past week. We did receive some hail with one rain event but crop damage was minimal for us while others to the south east had nearly total losses in a small area.
We came close to cutting our ditch hay but held off. It’s a good thing that we did. There’s a lot of cut hay going to waste as rains continued and didn’t allow timely baling.
The next push for use is building ridges in our corn. Every year it seems we have a narrow window of opportunity between corn being too small and too big. Our B & H brand ridging cultivators are serviced and ready to hit the field. We cultivated some headlands already and found our that the GPS guidance on our 8295RT tractor was not serving us well. Today we upgraded to a newer GPS globe and are pleased with the stability of the tracking.
Every year we put in our own corn test plot. We enter everything we plant in our fields plus other varieties we’re interested in growing for next year. Our direction has turned from past years back toward Double Pro varieties and applying insecticide as well as Triple Pro corn. We are rejecting Smartstax and similar super varieties with multiple root worm modes of control. With root worm resistance showing up in MN fields, not real far from us it’s time to take control and not follow the seed company mantra of more in seed technology. Bugs are adaptive and will overcome these traits in time. We chose not to apply any insecticide in our test plot this year, even on the non RW corn.
That being said, here is our lineup for the 2013 test plot.
It’s been a crazy spring for 2013 planting. The weather is not in a normal pattern to say the least. We plant when we can, spray pre-emerge herbicides when we can and put in odd hours. More than usual seems to happen in the dark this year. We are down to our last 120 acres of soybeans then wait until about June 15 to plant Brad’s 40 acres of sweet corn.
Last year we had to push the sweet corn ahead a couple days in order to get our ridges built in the corn before it got too big to get through. That will definitely not be the case this year. The corn has emerged but has mostly been greeted by cold weather and damp, cloudy conditions. Not much height being added to it.
After a long, cold spring the weather has finally turned favorable for corn planting in Redwood County, MN. There were a few neighbors putting in corn last week but planting began in full force on Monday, May 6 from most area farmers. Everyone worked hard and fast with the impending rain in the forecast for Wednesday. The rain did come and now we wait again for the next window of opportunity.