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

Corn Test Plot Harvest Day 2013

As we work our way through harvest, one of the events we look forward to is harvesting our corn test plot. A lot of time and thought go into choosing hybrids for this plot. This plot is an extremely vital part of our operation’s decision making process for the next year’s corn varieties.

Because our operation focuses heavily on corn varieties that use hybrids with less insect traits than the companies are pushing, there is little plot data available to help us make decisions on these hybrids. This is a part of our broad plan to deal with corn insect resistance issues. Continue reading

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

Ridging Corn

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. OneĀ  mistimed rainfall and we may have missed our opportunity.

Ridging two tractors Ridging front low Ridging rear Ridge level view

Getting Ready to Ridge Corn

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.

Cultivators Ready Clutivating Corn Clutivating close zoom Cultivating front view

Corn Test Plot for 2013

Test Plot Filling 2Every 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.

South to North Repeated Channel 197-31 at North side.
Company Variety Maturity CB RW
1 Kruger 4195VT2P 95 Y
2 Wensman 8148VT2P 95 Y Y
3 Channel 197-31VT2P 97 Y
4 Dekalb 48-40RR 98
5 Gold Country 99-04VT3P 99 Y Y
6 Wensman 8294VT2RIB 99 Y
7 Wensman 7290VT3P 99 Y Y
8 Dekalb 50-66VT3P 100 Y Y
9 Kruger 7400VT3P 100 Y Y
10 Latham 5185VT2P 101 Y Y
11 Dekalb 52-61VT2P 102 Y
12 Pioneer 0392AMX 102 Y Y
13 Pioneer 0062AMX 102 Y Y
14 Kruger 6102VT3 102 Y Y
15 Pioneer 0297XR 102 Y Y
16 Latham 5215VT2P 102 Y
17 Gold Country 103-09 VT3 103 Y Y
18 Pioneer 0533AM1 104 Y Y
19 Kruger 4104VT2P 104 Y
20 Pioneer 0407AMXT 104 Y Y
21 Channel 197-31VT2P 97 Y

Planting is Winding Down

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.

Planting and Digger in Field Burning Seed Bags Burning Bean Straw Piles Box of RIB Seed Sunset Planting Sunrise Planting Rear View Mirror

Corn planting has begun in Redwood County MN

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.

Planting corn Seed in pickup Spraying Planting rain 2013

About ready to plant.

The weather has finally warmed to the point where some neighbors are planting corn. Soil has warmed nicely to over 50 degrees but there’s a lot of cold weather on the horizon. We’re holding off so we don’t risk stand and yield loss. It costs too much to put the seed in the ground. With all the warnings for the Universities and the seed companies about seed being hurt by cold soils/water we have chosen to ride out this next stretch of weather.

We spent today finalizing field cultivator maintenance, calibrating the planter liquid fertilizer system and sorting our seed corn by field and order of planting. We will ready the pull behind sprayer tomorrow as well as tweak to GPS autotrac settings.

water-truck tractor-digger Sorting Seed Sorted Seed