May 17, 2012 at 7:56 am
Planting Countdown: 2970/3200 Spraying 2170/2200
May 5, 2012 at 8:55 am
This is why I do what I do…there is nothing more beautiful/hopeful than corn emerging…all we do is put the seed in the ground and pray for God to help with the rest…it was so hard for dad to not see it for the first time in 40 plus years while in the hospital 2 springs ago…it puts a smile on knowing he’ll be able to see every year come up from here on…-David
May 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm
Why I love a floater…55 gallon per acre at 16 MPH…oh and no wind today is nice too…
May 8, 2012 at 10:43 pm
Planting Countdown:2395/3200 Spraying: 1620/2200
We’re getting closer to being done harvesting beans – only about 50 acres left! We were hoping to be done this weekend, but after receiving a little moisture earlier this morning, we’re back to corn. That seems to be a common story this harvest…switching from beans to corns to beans (we can combine corn a lot easier with a little moisture than beans). It’s kind of a time killer to drop the combine head, switch fields, switch bins, etc. – so it will be very nice to be done with beans.
The photo below: filling a semi with beans. Bean yields overall have been good, except on dryland (no irrigation) – but we saw that coming since we’ve had minimal precipitation since July.
Photo Below: Every year we keep a paper “Harvest Countdown.” Yes, it could be done more quickly and probably more accurately in Excel…but tradition is tradition We’re used to looking on the fridge for a quick update!
We officially started harvest last week and things are now in full swing! This means that for the next six weeks or so I will be living off of Mt. Dew, Lay’s BBQ chips and pizza — my personal brand of “harvest fuel”!
The good news is that our combine, which is new to us, is performing extremely well. We had quite a few issues with our bean head last year, but so far our new one is cutting very well. Here it is in action:
We have more than 600 acres of beans done, so we still have a ways to go, but we’re making steady progress. We plant later season beans, which means they take a while to mature…so our beans have been some of the last to be ready in the area. In the meantime, we started on some corn and have been fine-tuning our dryer and let setup. Jim, the farm’s assistant manager, also put up a small shed to house our moisture reader and give people a chance to get out of the cold and wind when they need to watch the leg and/or the dryer. Below is our dryer that we try to keep going, but often likes to keep us on our toes by frequently stopping for various reasons!
That’s all for now, but I’ll be back with more harvest updates soon! – David
Well, we just wrapped up cutting silage! It’s the start of the best time of the year, harvest time! We custom feed around 500 holsteins for a local dairy, and corn silage is added to their diet of alfalfa hay. We cut about 120 acres of silage this year. It was a little drug out this year, as our 30 plus year old cutter gave us fits, it’ll get a bunch of work in the shop this winter before it goes again next year. As you can see, the cutter minces the corn into 1/4 inch pieces, which I either blow into a dump wagon or straight into the trucks, depending on the amount of help we have. We then dump it into a pile, and we pack it with the tractor. We pack the silage for several reasons, the first is you can put a lot more silage in a smaller area. The big reason though is to improve fermentation and reduce spoilage. When you pack silage, you remove the air from the pile, and also doesn’t allow air to work it’s way back in. We cover the tarp with a tarp that we seal all the way around it, and the silage will go through a fermentation process, after which we will begin feeding it. Now that we have silage wrapped up, we are in the process of getting ready to start combining. We’re finishing up grain bin maintenance, and finishing up a few projects. We just also finished running pivots. We’ve been done irrigating corn for a few weeks, but just did a final pass on beans while they are filling the pods out. Tomorrow we’re finishing up a bin, and we’re gonna start cleaning cattle yards and get them in good shape for harvest! That’s bout all that’s new here! Thanks, David
Wow, I logged on tonight to give an update on the happenings at Loberg Farms, thinking it’s been two weeks or so, only to realize it’s been over a month and a half! This has been the story the whole summer it seems. It just seemed like it was June and we were finishing planting. This summer has flown by, and we’re still moving right along. It’s been a busy summer, as I’ve gotten married, built a demo car for demo derbies, my one hobby I have, and filled in the rest with farmwork As of the last post, we were spraying crops with glyphosate, and fertigating the corn, and starting to make the pivots spin. We finished all of those tasks up, and have been up to quite a few other things.
As far as precipitation goes since the last post, there hasn’t been much. We got an inch of rain a week ago though, which let us shut down the pivots last weekend, which was a welcome relief, and made for a very nice relaxing weekend. We’ve been running all of our corn pivots non stop for about a month and a half now, and all the bean pivots for about a month. The crops are moving right along though, and corn has tasseled, pollinated and is getting close to dough stage, so we’re getting close to dent here in a bit. Once the corn reaches dent stage, the water in the soil profile should be enough to finish it out. So hopefully, we’ll be wrapping up irrigating corn here in the next couple weeks! We’ve also been busy with lots of small projects this summer, from working on cleaning out the grove on the home place, to adding guardrail to the cattle bunks to keep cattle from getting out, or falling into the feed bunk. And time is spent everyday on feeding those cattle, and the never ending process of hauling manure.
We’re also getting our grain system ready for harvest! Everything is installed, we’re just doing the last little bits and pieces. We just need to put stiffeners on a bin, do some bin floor and auger work yet, and the electrician finish wiring everything, and we’ll be ready to head to the fields!
Working in bins
Something else we’ve been doing, is going over the beans for a second time, just finishing up last Friday. We had some weed pressure come back this year after the first pass, so another application of glyphosate was needed. Although this time, we also sprayed a pesticide, Endigo, with it. As I said in a previous post, the reason for the pesticide is we’ve been blessed with soybean aphids this year. We applied Endigo, a residual pesticide. It kills the insects on contact, but will also remain around 30 days after spraying, which allows insect protection til the beans are finished filling their pods, and begin drying down. Aphids aren’t always present in numbers justifying a spray though, last year, very few were seen, so we didn’t have to spray. It’s a year to year thing. Tomorrow looks to be a fun day of checking pivots, chores, hauling corn to the ethanol plant, and working on the bin floor! So I best be off to bed here, and I’ll try to keep the updates a little more regular
The bin floor to install!
I’ve been praying for rain a lot the past few weeks. Despite the above average precipitation we had earlier this spring, things are dry here; we’re now well below average in regards to precipitation and well above average for temperatures and humidity. I find myself turning to the weather channel at night and holding my breath, waiting to see when our next chance of rain is. I’ve also stopped looking at radar whenever any precipitation gets close; it’s frustrating watching the blobs (the correct meteorological term, I’m sure!) of green split and go around us.
All this dry and hot weather means that pivots have been running as much as possible. It also means that fields that are not irrigated are starting to suffer. By 5 pm, after enduring yet another scorching day of heat, some of our dryland corn really starts to look rough.
So, I continue to pray, but I know that I’m not alone. I know farmers and ranchers in Texas and Oklahoma, some of them suffering from the driest eight months on record since 1930, continue to pray daily for rain. Although it’s too late to save many of the crops down there, hopefully they will be able to salvage some fields to use as feed for animals.
Photos of Texas drought, taken by Jay Janner/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN during the week of July 25th.
The number of cattle being sold in the south and the poor prices ranchers are getting for them, along with the rising cost of hay that they have no choice to but to buy to keep their animals fed because their pasture land has burned up, is sad and scary.
Seeing the devastation that drought has brought in the Southeast puts things into perspective a bit here. I continue to say a quick prayer when I see any clouds in the sky here, and hope and pray that some of those clouds and rain will show up in the South where they’re even more needed. From the flooding that continues to plague those near the river just to the east to us, to the drought that haunting so many other areas of the country this summer, it’s humbling to know that even when all the factors that go into agriculture go right, Mother Nature will always have a mind of her own.
Wooh…it’s been awhile. It’s been a busy few weeks here at Loberg Farms. We’ve been wrapped up spraying corn for awhile now, and have just a few acres of beans to cover. We ended up renting a 4930 from our local john Deere. It was definitely an adjustment running it, the widest boom I’ve ever ran was our 90′. It sure did eat up acres though once I got the hang of it. As you can see though, it was wet going, I managed to get it stuck going through a ditch. Our hired hand Brandon drove the Ro-gater on beans while I sprayed corn. We finished corn in time to enjoy Carroll’s Q125 celebration.
Our grain system project is moving right along as well. Ivan’s Welding, who is putting up everything, is now done. We just have a few projects that we need to finish up, and our electrician wire everything, and we should be ready for harvest! Once I was able to get out of the sprayer, fertigation is now on our agenda. We fertigate all of our corn on corn acres, as it requires more nitrogen due to the fact that corn doesn’t produce nitrogen, while soybeans do as they grow, so when corn is planted into last year’s corn stubble, there isn’t as much nitrogen in the soil as the bean stubble.
The reason we fertigate is to spread our applications out. In the spring we apply 45 gal/acre of 32-0-0 fertilizer with our floater. To produce our yield goal though, we need more nitrogen. We don’t want to apply all of it in the spring though, as it is exposed to more opportunities to be lost. Hard rains can wash it away, or it can leach down in the soil to where the young corn plant’s roots can’t get to it. By spreading it out, and applying 10 gal/acre applications through the pivot, we can minimize loss of fertilizer, and ensure the growing corn has available nitrogen in the root zone.
When you introduce fertilizer into the pivot pipe after the well though, you run the risk of contaminating groundwater if not done properly. This is why to fertigate, you must take classes about proper equipment and procedures, and become certified by the State of Nebraska as a licensed fertigator. Also, each pivot must be inspected by a Natural Resources District inspector every year to make sure that all safety measures and backstops are put in place, and once he inspects it, he issues us a permit for each pivot. All of this is done to ensure that one of Nebraska’s greatest qualities, our abundant source of water, is not harmed.
Irrigation wells are different than residential house wells. Most house wells have enough water to meet normal demand at a shallow depth such as 75-125 feet. Irrigation wells pump a large volume of water, and therefore go much deeper, up to 400 feet. At a certain level that deep, there is a layer of gravel, which water flows through very easily, and irrigation wells can pull a large quanity of water out of this layer in a short time. But this means irrigation wells are a direct access to our groundwater and aquifers. As such, heavy fines are imposed if you are caught fertigating without having proper certification and equipment.
This weeks projects look to be continuing to work on pivots that aren’t fertigating. As muddy as it was spraying, it has dried up in a hurry, and we are starting to irrigate all of our corn until we can hopefully get a rain. Irrigation season also means late nights, starting them after 11pm. Which explains why I’m posting at 2 am in the morning! ha. We run pivots at night for two reasons. The first and main is cost. Our electrical company charges different rates based on different times of the day. Irrigation wells have electric motors that require a fair amount of energy. So on a hot summer day, when every house and buisness has there a/c running, the addition of all of the wells would overload the electrical system. So they discourage us from running them by charging substantially more during peak usage hours. But once it’s night, and it cools off and everyone’s a/c slows down, and buisnesses are closed, they offer cheap rates to run.
The second reason we run pivots at night is because of evaporation. Watering at night is very efficient. During the day, when it is hot and sunny, some of the water is lost due to evaporation, as it falls to the ground, and as it’s exposed to sun on the leaves of corn. Watering at night allows the water to reach the soil by day, and the shade from the corn helps to retain it. But I believe it’s time to get to bed here, it’s gonna be another fun day tommorow!