The 2018-2019 winter started out rather slow but once the snow started in mid January, it was never ending along with the winds. We burned through more tractor fuel than we ever have trying to keep up. Not only did we have two yards to clear, we also had to blow portions of the road to travel between farm sites. I am thankful for the snow blower because if we were piling with a loader we would have run out of space to push the snow especially between my garage and barn.
I’m sitting in the office on April 14, 2018 looking at through snow covered windows at a persistent blizzard. Biggest storm of the winter for us! It started yesterday with a wintry mix of rain/ice pellets/snow pellets/snow. Through the night it became all snow. We had a lull this morning to get the steer chores done and now we wait out the storm.
I figure that this is as good of time as any to get caught up on some of our winter happenings. Winter was going so well until we hit March and April. These scenes have been all too common since.
We spent some time, in early March in the shop getting some small projects out of the way. Lawn mowers were gone through and a portable auger was refurbished with all new bearings.
On March 20 we did catch a nice break, where the yard wasn’t too soft, and pulled the planter out of the shed to get it ready for the 2018 planting season. After power washing the dust off of it, we moved it into the comfortable environment of the shop.
We did take some time to attend the 2018 Soybean Symposium at the U of M Landscape Arboretum. There were great topics and plenty of discussion that revolve around soybean quality and trade.
OK. I know it’s now the end of January and I’m still not caught up on posting from last fall. I am finally feeling caught up, to a point, with my most important winter office work. Last year’s data has been pored over, crunched, edited, tweaked, post calibrated and used to make decisions for 2018 and forward. Time has been put into selecting seed, figuring out the best way to keep weeds at bay both chemically and physically, crunching numbers to make the current corn and soybean prices work, developing marketing plans and attending winter meetings put on by the U of M, Coop and other ag related entities. My calendar for February still has more meetings and training sessions on it.
First field of corn.
Opening up the headland.
Fan motor needed bearings.
Now where was I before going off on that tangent. Oh yeah, corn harvest. It really did happen and I have the pictures to prove it. Normally, we don’t start harvesting corn until after soybeans are done but this fall was not normal by any measure. After getting tired of the weather delay we kept having during soybean harvest, we gave in and harvested some corn. The moisture was at 22%, dry enough to get a start. The variety removed all of the headlands on a 300 acre field. Taking these off would make harvesting the remainder of that field much easier when the time came. After meticulously going through the electric motors that need to reliably get us through harvest, we still had a breakdown on day two of corn harvest. We hadn’t done the main motors that cool the large grain bin. The second one went out about 3/4 of the way through harvest as well. Oh, well. Maybe next year will be trouble free. Yes, I’m dreaming again. Continue reading →
One final blow by mother nature a week and a half ago was hopefully the last big snow of the winter. We did have our snow blower off of the tractor and were forced to re-attach it. These snow photos were taken earlier in the winter but it’s fun to see the steers not really care what’s going on with the weather.
We did find out though that they don’t much care for hail. The stood outside during round 1 but when round 2 showed up, they headed for the shelter as fast as a steer can run! Continue reading →
After much of the snow melted away we were presented with a stark comparison of wind erosion on our Ridge Till field versus the neighbors well worked field. If you click on the photo to the left to enlarge, you will see almost black covered snow compared to our nearby ditch. The photo to the right is a shot down the field.
From 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.
You’ve heard of counting growth rings in a log or tree stump to find out how many years old it is. Well, while clearing snow from our east facing machine shed doors we discovered that you can count how many snow/wind storms we had through the winter by counting dirt lines.
When 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.
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.
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.