Is it really January in Minnesota?

combine looking inFrom this photo you’d think that it’s a beautiful spring or fall day. The bi-fold shop door is open and the combine is ready for maintenance. It would be a shame to shut the door with such beautiful, sunny weather upon us.

Well, this photo was taken on January 26, 2015 on our farm. It was 46 degrees outside and the shop door did stay open for a couple hours that afternoon. We also brought the snow blower out of the shed for some PTO maintenance. Not much snow has come but we did have a problem to take care of and what better time than when you can work with the door open.

Here’s the photo taken from inside the shop to prove to you that it was indeed winter. Not much snow but it’s there all the same. Combine looking out

2014 Corn Planting

We had a narrow window of opportunity on Saturday, April 26th to get some corn planted. On Tuesday we had worked up 40 acres in anticipation of getting started but last minute equipment issues stopped this from happening. After a rain delay, things dried out once again and we headed to the field Saturday afternoon. With rain in the forecast for most of the next week, we wanted to get something in the ground so any hidden problems could be dealt with during the break. 55 acres later we quit around 9pm and headed home to tuck things away before the rain fell.

planting corn

Rain Clouds Looming on the Horizon

Out Comes the Old

push tankAfter sitting in the back of the shed for many years, we dusted off our 400 gallon water tank on a 2 wheel carrier. A few years back we added inboard saddle tanks to our 8301T planting tractor and abandoned this rig to make things less cumbersome. Since that time, we are putting on more product per acre and stopping to fill more often. We are hoping this will solve some efficiency problems without being too cumbersome. It makes a mighty long rig going down the field.

Cyst Nematode Counts Crash in 2013

Our soybean cyst nematode counts from the fall of 2013 sampling brought us some surprise results. Cyst counts have dropped dramatically from the direction we had seen in the pas years’ samples. This was not just a one field phenomenon but across all fields sampled.

I would like someone to take a shot of explaining this to me. Is it weather related? We have been using PI88788 soybeans for many years on these fields in a corn soybean rotation.

Mapshots Customer Conference

I started the month of February with a trip to Atlanta for the MapShots conference. Timing couldn’t have been better. The conference dates were sandwiched between the two Atlanta snow events that shut down the city.

Otto Farms has been using MapShots software for many years to do field mapping as well as data collection and analysis. MapShots has spent the past 3+ years transitioning to a new cloud based platform with many new features for our farming operation. We will be able to access most of our data from any computer connected to the interned including iPads in the field. This is very exciting for us! I have been looking forward to this happening for a few years already. MapShots has done a fantastic job of modularizing the software so customers can purchase what they need for their operation. I’m really looking forward to transitioning to the new software through the summer and using it exclusively in 2015.

mapshots-shauna mapshots-macy

Cold Sunrise Loading Beans

Filling a truck with soybeansWhen you grow seed beans for seed companies, you have little choice of when they decide to pick them up from the farm. The morning of December 7th started out a -11F and warmed all the way up to a high of zero. Bundling up and sitting in an idling pickup occasionally to stay warm is how we handle this situation. Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the coffee. Filing beans sunrise

Fall into Winter

This blog has been rather quiet through the winter. You would think that there’s lots of time to post once in a while but it just seems to fall to the bottom of my list.

Winter started with a bang. All was going well but we still had one more job to do, pull soil samples in the corn ground to test for soybean cyst nematodes. Sounds simple enough but not when you have an impending snow breathing down your neck. November 5, 2013 was the beginning of the end of our nice fall weather. Samples were pulled on three fields and as snow began to fall we scrambled to get the most critical areas sampled of the last field. soil probe for cyst

By the time the fourth and final sample was pulled, we already had 1″ of snow on the ground and it was coming down heavy and wet. One of the soil probes gave up working in these conditions. We woke up the next morning to this. Fall was officially over.snow nov 6 2013

2013 Harvest Has Begun

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.

harvest corn night dryer