A Winter of Meetings

LaboskiAs spring arrives, here’s a quick look back at the major educational meetings we attended this winter:

CPM Short Course – Dec 9-10, 2016

Master Marketer – Jan, Feb, Mar 2016 – Dennis only

Kevin Kimberly – February 3, 2016

Nutrient Management Conference – February 9, 2016

MVTL – February 18, 2016

MNICCA – February 19, 2016 – Lance only

Nitrogen Smart – March 7, 2016

Getting to the other end of the field with Google Maps

I wash harvesting soybeans and needed to send a location map to some friends coming for a ride. I put a location pin on the map and decided to hit the directions from current location for the fun of it. As you can see, there’s not way to the other end of the field except by road even when you’re not near one.


The riders made it and a fun time was had by all!Combine rides

Farming is also a Small Business!

     As a farmer today, we need to be advocates for our businesses. We don’t do this alone but belong to many other advocacy groups as well. Our farm is a member of ag related groups such as MN Farm Bureau, MN Corn Growers and MN Soybean Growers. Sometimes we need to think more outside the box when we’re looking for others with similar goals as ours. Farmers may not think of themselves as part of the “Independent Business” group but we all are an independent business. Any business on it’s own cannot stand up to the onslaught of what the government keeps throwing at us. Some of this comes via legislation while others come from judges writing laws when they shouldn’t be. While the corn, soybean, wheat, cattle, pork and many other ag groups do a great job at what they do, our farm business has chosen to go outside the “ag” world to the Small Business world by become members of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) as well as the US Chamber or Commerce. Nothing has strengthened my faith more in these groups than a recent article in the US Chamber Quarterly (Summer 2015). The article link below is worth your time to read. It encompasses so many of the things I believe in and am concerned about as a farmer. A second, reaffirming article came via email. It goes with the cattle photo above. Here’s the link.

Today’s issues can be attacked with tomorrow’s solutions–and the workforce of the future. The Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) initiative explores ways to transform the relationship between educators, workers, and business leaders to ensure that America has the workforce it needs to compete in the 21st century.

Source: Working on the Future of Business | U.S. Chamber of Commerce

WCROC Tillage and Technology Field Day

Morris Tillage and Tech Day 11A big thank you to all the U of M staff for putting on a fantastic field day at Morris, MN today! Jodi DeJong-Hughes led this multi-station field day. Five different stations were set up to focus on Tillage and Technology:Morris Tillage and Tech Day 24

  1. New tillage technology
  2. Planter set–up for moderate residue levels
  3. Residue management of corn–soybean rotations
  4. Tillage influence on soil properties
  5. Building soil health with improved soil structure

These sessions were followed by equipment field demonstrations showing chisel plow tillage with various points, vertical tillage and strip tillage.

The weather couldn’t have been nicer for a field day. Upper 60s, slight breeze and partly cloudy. It was a great chance to meet old friends and make new connections as well.

Morris Tillage and Tech Day 08Here’s the U of M’s description of the day:

Crop producers and other agricultural professionals can see the latest in variable depth tillage equipment, watch side–by–side field demonstrations by national and regional manufacturers, and learn how to build soil structure for maximum soil productivity. Other highlights include the following:Morris Tillage and Tech Day 15

  • Discover how strip tillage can fit into your rotation and individual soil situations.
  • Check out proper planter set–up for improved crop emergence and residue management.
  • Discuss how to save time and money while building soil productivity.
  • Visit with equipment reps about their new products and services.

Test Plot Evaluation

test plotFall is the time to evaluate our corn varieties in order to aid in decision making for next year’s planting. leaning cornOur test plot consists of 24 – 4 row strips planted 600′ long. Walking through the plot prior to harvest helps us learn about the strengths and weaknesses of each variety. This year we looked at how many harvest-able ears we have per acre along with how many of the ears were significantly under sized in our opinions. We also looked at the stalks and how much goose-necking they were doing. This year presented us with some strong winds along with a round of hail. The hail damage to the corn was minimal but the wind definitely put the stalks to the test. Now we wait for the combine and weigh wagon to give us the final results. 2015 Plot

Grain Leg Maintenance

grain cups 2Late summer means putting time into maintenance of harvest related equipment. The plastic cups on our grain leg, that handles the wet corn coming in from the fields, were getting brittle. We’ve found a couple of them stuck in various places in our grain system and succumbed to the fact that we needed to replace all 203 cups on the belt. Many of the bolts were rusted to the point where we had to either snap them off through the force of our 1/2″ DeWalt impact wrench or grind them off. After many hours the task was accomplished and we’re on to the next project!grain cups