December day

Monday, December 17, 2018

It’s a little bit of a slow day at Carnahan & Sons today.  Brandon is off to the doctor to get some attention to a finger  that got slammed in a door on Saturday.   Ouch!  The deliveries of grain are ‘caught up’ until the 28th.   The Pete and its trailer are in the shop today, for a wash job.  Tomorrow, Brandon will go to Frankfort, Indiana to pick up a new Wilson Commander semi trailer.  We upgraded a trailer, from the old ’96 model to a new ’19.  He’s eager to get that one home and start using it.

The Pete and its trailer are in the shop for a clean-up.

The new combines have arrived at the dealers… the CIH 8250 at JL Farm Equipment in Poseyville, IN and the JD S780 at Hutson’s in Jasper, IN.   It is an exciting thing to anticipate new machines arriving, probably before Christmas.  Each dealer has some considerable set-up and prep to do to be ready to deliver them here.   We are really hoping that the weather is nice on the delivery day.  It’s good to have a new machine arrive clean.

John speaks with Austin, who is the lead mechanic on the set-up of the S780.

The new 8250 combine has arrived at JL Poseyville, and will be delivered to the farm soon.

Some may wonder why we run 2 different colors of combines…. well, Ross prefers red, while I prefer green.  It’s nice that we can operate the machine of our choice.   We make it work… and with the adoption of Climate Corp’s, FieldView software system, we can seamlessly blend together the information gathered by each color combine into a single (and very useful) platform.

Pat and I just returned from a few fun days at Disney World.  We went down there to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  It was really a wonderful time.

It was only 40 degrees on the night of the Christmas Party, but we bundled up and enjoyed it all. It felt as if the ‘snow’ on Main Street’ could be real snow!

It’s a clear and sunny day in SWIN today, 46ºF (8ºC).   The sunshine lifts your spirits, after a gloomy and rainy 3 days last week.  We received over 3 inches of rain, but with the way the terraces and fields look flooded, it seems as if we received more than that.  The flooding will float the crop debris into windrows or piles, that will require a little burning ahead of field operations in the spring.

We hope you’re all ready for the Christmas season, and looking forward to some special family time together.   It’s an old cliche, but remember most of all the ‘reason for the season’.

Have a terrific week.

 

 

 

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Sun returns

Friday, December 7, 2018

The sunshine has returned this morning.  After yesterday’s drizzly, chilly, gray day… today is refreshing!  The morning saw us send corn to GPC in Washington, IN, and the afternoon we will be sending some soybeans to ADM in Newburgh, IN.  The grain receiving system at GPC is highly regarded here:  they take corn by appointment!  Brandon goes online to their site and chooses arrival times.  Since it’s only about 15 minutes east of here, he can arrive easily on time.  This system eliminates the hours and hours of waiting in line to unload your truck!   By comparison, Brandon waited 2+hours in line at ADM in Newburgh the last time he went there.   I’m surprised more buyers have not adopted GPC’s system.

The Pete is getting loaded with soybeans today.

Another load goes out the lane!

We are nearing the clean out of our #9 bin of soybeans.  It will be our first bin to go MT (empty).   It’s always a good feeling to get a bin cleaned out, but it’s a two-edged sword, too.  When the last bushel goes out to market, it’s a relief, but it would also be nice to have some more bushels to sell!

We’re closing out this first full week of December with a sunny and cold day.  Right now it’s 28 (-2C).   Last night’s low was typical for this week, in the low 20s.  The thing that makes the temperature okay today is that there is no wind.   The past few weeks have generally been running below average, which for today in SWIN would be about 45ºF (9C).  It has given us ample opportunity to run the aeration fans on the grain in storage and get the grain cooled down.

Thursday morning, John and I attended a breakfast meeting put on by a local bank.  The meeting featured Dr. Michael Langemeier of Purdue  AgEcon department, who reported on his view of the agricultural outlook for Indiana for 2019.  His report was more bullish on soybeans than I expected, but his overall forecast was not very optimistic.  He is involved with Purdue Ag’s “Barometer”, where they survey 400 producers around the nation to get a read on farmer’s relative ‘feel’ about their economic conditions.  I’ll share one of his slides, which shows what farmers plan to plant to acres they are pulling out of soybean production.

One of the many slides from Dr. Langemeier’s presentation. If you plan to draw down your soybean acres, what is your plan to plant instead?

Took the opportunity to clean up the pickup.  Just feels better to get around when it’s clean.

Happy to have a warm shop to wash the pickup.

When this is clean, it makes me feel better!

John has replaced the slightly tattered flag atop the grain leg.  He uses a ‘wind resistant’ flag which gives it a much longer life up there.

John placed a new flag on the top of the elevator.

Have a great weekend everyone.  Hope it’s also sunny where you are!

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Gold Key Trip

Monday, December 3, 2018

Late last week, John and I spent a couple days in Illinois, making a trip to Moline to see our new S780 combine come together.  This program is something John Deere calls their “Gold Key” program, where the customer is invited in to see the Harvester Works (HW), and have some interaction with their particular machine.  Yes, we’ve been to Gold Key a few times before, but it is an experience that never grows old or ordinary!  In past trips, they timed your visit so that you arrive at the assembly line at the exact time your combine arrives at Station 22–where you get to start the engine for its first time.  On this visit, however, they had simplified the process (for them) and we saw our combine completed, and ready to ship.  It was outdoors, and an HW employee took me for a ride around the grounds in the finished product.  They brought it inside so that we could comfortably view it up close, and have the opportunity for some pictures.   It was a neat day to visit with the HW employees who build your combine, and see your new combine for the first time.   It’s like you can learn about your machine from the inside out.

Arriving at the Harvester Works, there are special parking spots for Gold Key Customers

Approaching the Visitor Center, you can see the remnants of the recent Quad Cities snow.

L to R. Stephen, our Gold Key guide; Colby, the supervisor of the Final Inspection area; and Russ, one of the technicians who makes sure there are no defects before the machines are shipped.

Inside the HW, we toured almost every aspect of the combine-building process.  We saw welders and fiber-optic lasers galore.  The painting process is amazing, as the components, big and small, are immersed in tanks of cleaner and primers.  The robots that apply two coats of that special green paint were very fast and efficient.   We saw the engines arrive from Waterloo, Iowa– just in time to be placed in the proper order for the assembly line.  The cab assembly was interesting and more complex than you can imagine.

The HW employees seemed to notice that visitors were around.  I cannot count the number of times we saw employees greet us and often say, “Thank You” to us.

John and I caught up with the 780 near the door where the combines go out to the ‘test track’ for their initial shake down.

At the final inspection station, inside the HW, Stephen presented us with the official Gold Key to the S780.

…and yes, it will work in the ignition to fire up the combine!

Later, we traveled with 2 other GK customers to the JD World Headquarters.  There, we toured the impressive building, and were treated to a terrific lunch.

John Deere World HQ, on John Deere Road in SE Moline, IL.

Once inside, we saw one of the many digital displays that made certain throughout the facility that the GK customers were warmly welcomed.

A chef prepared a delicious meal and dessert, just for the GK customers and our hosts. Salad, roast pork, and apple tart for dessert. Yum.

We made the trip back home Friday evening.   It was a special trip.  Let’s hope this new machine will have a long and happy time here at Carnahan & Sons!

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Flurries

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

There is snow in the air today.  Just a light amount of flurries, not a heavy snowfall.  We don’t expect any accumulation.  Still, it reinforces the chill in the air, and makes it seem like winter instead of late fall.  Snow in November is rare in SWIN.

It would be easier to see in a video, but the flakes are definitely there!

Today we’ll have a meeting with our accountant, and tomorrow another meeting with our agronomist from Nutrien.  We will finalize the pesticide and fertility plan for 2019.   Always something!

 

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Warm weekend, chilly Monday

November 26, 2018

What a difference a day makes… weather wise anyway.  Saturday, we were at 55F (13C), and yesterday, we hit 61ºF (16C)!  Yesterday had bright sunshine, but today is overcast, gray, drizzly, and gloomy.  The temp is 32F (0C) with 15mph winds, making it ‘feel like’ 21F (-6C)!

Brandon is delivering corn to GPC; he has a busy day with 5 trips to make.  Good thing it’s only about 11 miles away.  Ever since GPC arrived in SWIN, it has brought us a better corn market, often paying equal to the Ohio River corn markets, which are a bit over an hour’s drive from here.  The inbound grain system at GPC is rather unique.  You make appointments at a special website, (typically they are set for every 4 minutes), and thus long waits in line are eliminated.  John says that he once waited 8 hours at GPC to unload his truck, before this new methodology was adopted.  I’m surprised that similar plants haven’t adopted this model.  It sure makes for a more productive day…at least for those of us delivering to GPC.

Just takes about 4 minutes to load the trailer, but the guy outside on the platform has a chilly task today.

We got another USDA survey in Saturday’s mail, so I spent some time today filling that out.  It was similar to the many other USDA inquiries we receive during the year, so, we are getting familiar with the routine.  We can fill it out online nowadays, and that seems to go faster than the old paper document we had to compile and mail in.   Still, I have to gather information from the file cabinet and the computer to give them the information about acres and yields that they request.  I certainly don’t have it all memorized!

They still send a complete booklet of paper survey, but these days, I fill it out online.

We had a small family gathering for Thanksgiving on Thursday.  John and his family came for dinner (that’s at noon in rural Indiana).  The time was special, even if the group was small.   We all shared ‘what we are thankful for’… the girls’ answers were precious.   A nap was in the offing for part of the afternoon, and then some football on TV.   Pat’s mom came for a couple hours in the afternoon, but she was not feeling the best, and didn’t stay long.  John and Ashley had another family gathering that evening, so Pat and I were home alone the rest of the day.  The quiet was okay, too. Let’s you think…

Those of you dealing with heavy snow from the weekend, be careful and cautious.  Have a pleasant week!

 

 

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Chilly job

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Today, John has taken it on to get the JD combine cleaned up.  He first used compressed air to blow the crusty, packed-on clumps of debris away… then took out the hose and brush and bucket of soapy water.   Brandon assisted, in between taking loads of soybeans out to Robinson’s.  Makes me shiver just to watch.  John says he prefers to wash outside, keeping all that muddy debris out of the shop.

First, compressed air is used to blast away stuck-on dirt.

Then, the outside panels are scrubbed with a soapy brush, and rinsed down. Note the concrete under the combine is covered in sloppy, muddy debris. That stuff is easier to scrape away outside, rather than inside the shop.

We brought the combine into the shop for a little while to remove the filler grates from the front concave. We also removed the 2-way radio and wrenches, because this machine is getting traded soon.

After the clean-up, the S680 was moved back into the big shed. With this wash job completed, it truly feels like #harvest18 is over! John said it feels really good to have everything all clean again.

The clouds have obscured the sun again today, and it only got up to about 34ºF (1C).  The lane is firming up after the rain, but the Vision truck and trailer are quite dirty from this week’s grain deliveries.  They don’t get dirty (well, a little dusty perhaps) sitting in the shed, but they can’t sit there all the time.

Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

 

 

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Gray November day

Monday, November 19, 2018

It’s gray and chilly out there, 41ºF (5C).  There is a bit of fog in the air, and there is drizzly rain, too.  You wouldn’t call it a rainy day, but it’s like some of those Oregon days we remember when visiting Philip in Portland.  You don’t need an umbrella, but a hood on your coat will keep you dry.  It is messy to drive around, and hard to keep my Saturday pickup wash job clean.

A gray November day, as we move corn from storage to the overhead load-out bin

We are sending corn to market today at GPC at Washington.  We have some LH November contracts to fill.  December will be a busy trucking month also, with both corn to GPC and soybeans to ADM in Newburgh getting delivered.  The current grain market gives us no incentive to make many additional sales… we will merely fill our forward-sale contracts, and cover our cash flow needs until some market recovery occurs. 

Brandon is using the Vision today… I think to protect the Pete from getting dirty on the messy roads.

From the loading platform, here is the corn dropping into the Vision’s trailer. Brandon tells me the test weight is running 62+ today! Doesn’t it look nice in the truck?

It is also a busy time in the office, with the development of the ’19 crop budget, multi-year cash flows, and end-of-year tax strategies.  Plans for the 2019 crop year are firming up.  Seeds have already being purchased.  Almost all the lime and fertilizers are applied.   We will be arranging by month’s end for the 2019 nitrogen and herbicide/fungicide programs.  The 2019 wheat is all up and growing, turning those fields a beautiful, deep green.  Wheat in the late fall is always a contrast to the surrounding fields that are turning their post-harvest gray.

The desk can be cluttered with papers and files. The computer helps with all the analyses. If I’m working on information that sharpens our management, it’s fun. If I’m filling out forms for bureaucrats, it’s work.

It would look even better if the sun were shining brightly, but this wheat field looks okay even on this gray day.

There are many reasons to be thankful during this Thanksgiving season.  The fact that the harvest is complete is a good one.   Only one machine remains to be washed.  (the JD combine).  We made it through the harvest without significant injury.  The yields were pretty good, with the best-ever DCB crop.  Corn and soybean average yields were near the top.  There are many more… we should all remember the line from the old hymn, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one…”

 

 

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