Step at a time

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

It rained a tiny bit last night, .03″, hardly enough to wet the grass.  So, I went out with the 7130 and the Bush Hog cutter to mow more roadsides.  Sure makes me feel better to improve the appearance along our fields.  In fact, one of our neighbors stopped as I was working to thank us for keeping the roadsides mowed.  He said, “If it wasn’t for you farmers, the roads in this county would be awful all summer.”   I think our little narrow county roads are safer, too, when they’re mowed.  No branches or weeds to scrape the side of your vehicle…

Here’s a ‘before’ shot of a typical roadside. I’m trying to improve the appearance, and hopefully this will be the last time this is needed before harvest.

… and the ‘after’ picture.

During the bush hog work, I noticed some spots of johnsongrass that I could reach from the Gator.  After wrapping up the mowing work, I took out the Gator and sprayed those spots I found this morning.  Sure there is a lot more that could be done, but it makes me feel better if I make a stab at keeping the j-grass down along the roads.

While servicing the Peterbilt semi, Brandon discovered a couple broken exhaust pipes near the turbo, and  he’s replacing those small sections.  He has also found a leaking wheel seal, and will take it to a local mechanic tomorrow to get that fixed.  These are all parts of the pre-harvest prep… to be ready (at least as much as possible!) for fall, and to minimize the down-time during harvest.

Brandon is making certain this Pete is ready for fall.

On Monday, John and Brandon had the JD 612C corn head in the shop to inspect and lubricate it.  The good news was that the wear on the gathering chains was still minimal, and that those did not require replacement.  Therefore, the JD corn head is ‘good to go’ for fall.

We got a load of propane delivered this morning.   That’s the fuel that makes the grain dryer function.  It has other uses, too, such as heating our shop and office.  The dryer is typically pretty busy early on in the corn harvest.  It has been inspected by the dealer, and it is ready to go, too.

Stangle & Son Propane is always timely in their deliveries.

Looks like rain is coming this afternoon.  That will certainly be welcome!

The Weather Channel is giving a 100% chance for later today…

Happy 6th birthday to our granddaughter Ella!  She started her kindergarten experience just last Tuesday.  Now, she’s officially a little South Knox Spartan!

Happy mid week to you all!


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A quiet week

Saturday, August 11, 2018

If you were a fan of Garrison Keillor’s radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, you undoubtedly know the phrase, “It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, my hometown.”  That could be said to be true of the week at Carnahan & Sons.  We did a little mowing, a little bush-hogging, and Brandon ran the sweep auger in a bin of wheat.  John and Brandon had a day with our Pioneer seed dealer to check out their products and programs at a special field day in central Indiana.

Mowing the grass road at Huey, sure improves not only the appearance, but also the access.

The view behind the bush hog is pretty nice on this day. We are hopeful about the prospects for the corn yields, but the final result is far from being a ‘done deal’.

Next week, the pace may pick up a little, as the temperatures are supposed to moderate a bit, down into the mid-80s, which will allow us to begin to give the combines another once-over in preparation for fall  harvest.  That sort of preventive maintenance seems to be effective in helping prevent some breakdown delays during the rush of harvest.  So, a little time invested up front pays big dividends.

We have a couple fields to scout next week using our Phantom 4 UAV.  We want to photograph from above them to check for some disease pressure and to discover any other problem that we cannot see in a drive-by view from the road.

Have a pleasant weekend, everyone!

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Hello again…

Monday August 6, 2018

Pat and I have returned from a couple weeks’ travel to Florida and Disney World, and a few points in-between.  We got back home late last week.  Our days down south were relaxed and a much-needed respite.  Most days down there were quite hot, with temps in the mid 90s every day.  If you could find shade, it was not too bad, but in the direct sun, you felt kinda scorched.  Guess that proves how wimpy I really am.

Disney World provided another very special time for us, and during our days there, we celebrated our 4oth wedding anniversary.   We had a special dinner that night, at the California Grill, high atop the Contemporary Resort Hotel.  The view that night of the Magic Kingdom fireworks show was spectacular!  They also pipe in the soundtrack from that show, so that dinner guests get a pretty complete effect of the show.

Our days there were packed, or at least early mornings and late nights were… we took downtime during the afternoons.  Time in the pool at our resort– The Wilderness Lodge– was very nice, and then we took a little nap to top that off.  We felt rested to return to the parks and a great dinner each evening.  Disney World is a very special place to Pat and me.

While we were away, John and Brandon have been occupied with moving some wheat to market, and spraying some ditch banks and roadsides to control johnsongrass and other pesky weeds.  Ross was able to sell most of our ’18-crop wheat, and he even got some ’19-crop wheat sold.  So, it looks like we will be back in the soft red winter wheat business again in 2019!   That diversification (when wheat prices allow) helps us both economically and agronomically… so it feels good to know we will again be wheat farmers.

Today, I took the morning to do some of that spraying from the seat of the Gator, and John and Brandon are off on a special trip with our Pioneer seed dealer to view a certain central Indiana test plot.

They tell us the southern Indiana weather was more comfortable while we were gone, with temps in the low 80s and sometime even in the 70s.  But now we are back to days in the 90s!  Upon a quick tour of most fields, the corn and soybeans are looking pretty good right now.  And the double-crop soybeans (DCB) are especially nice.  Grateful to come home to that.

Even though our vacations always seem to fly by and seem kinda short, it’s good to be back home and to get back into our routine.  Harvest preparations will begin soon, as we inspect the combines and headers and grain cart.  Six weeks and we could be out there harvesting corn or soybeans!

I’ll post a few pictures from our trip.

We toured the original Governor’s Mansion for the state of Georgia in Milledgeville.

The morning services at Northridge Christian Church in Milledgeville were really special. Great worship, and solid message.

We enjoyed the famous Leopold’s Ice Cream in Savannah.

The Tybee Island Lighthouse

Pat’s step-mom Renee took us to the beach at Ponte Vedra, Florida.

Although the visit to the beach was short, the surf felt good on our feet!

It’s always an exciting moment to drive under this arch

We love our resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.


Epcot entertained us a couple mornings.

In Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we got pretty up-close-and-personal with a giraffe.

And, of course, you can’t be in Florida without spotting a Gator…

We had a fun time in the newly-opened Toy Story Land in Disney Hollywood Studios

Our favorite, like most folks, is the Magic Kingdom park.

Now we are happily ‘Back Home Again in Indiana”.    And yes…we do sing it when we cross the border back to the Hoosier state!

Have a great week…


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July Jobs

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

John is out with the 4730 sprayer today putting WeatherMax on the double-crop soybeans (DCB).  He will return with some dicamba on most of them later in the week.  His scouting work yesterday led him to develop a plan of attack for DCB herbicides, and now he’s beginning to put that into action.

Brandon gave the Bush Hog a ‘tune up’ this morning… lubrication and blade-sharpening.  Now, he’s out testing how it works.

Brandon lubricates all the drivelines and U-joints, and then gives the blades a sharpening

Away he goes to test the bush hog’s newly sharpened blades on a nearby waterway.

The Knox County fair is going on this week, pigs and goats judged today, cattle tomorrow.  It’s usually hot during fair week, and it’s not unusual to get a rain.  In reality, the temps are backing off a bit this week, with highs in the 80s, not the 90s!  A noticeable difference.


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Check another thing off the list…

Friday the 13th

#replant18 got done today!

We had to wait many days to complete the replanting of soybeans.  This afternoon, that happened.  If you check the post for last Saturday, you see in the aerial photos some bare spots in the soybeans on the Commer farm.  Those spots, 10.2 acres in all, got replanted last Saturday.   I was hoping to do the replants at the Freddie farm that same  day, but there was still water standing.  So, those at the Freddie farm got planted today (36 acres in drowned-out sloughs.  It was not the river that killed them, but a 3+ inch rain 3 weeks ago).  Freddie is our most distant farm location, 12 miles from the main farm, down in the White River bottomlands.  As I was returning home after this final replant session, I was passing the Huey farm east of Wheatland–where we store the air drill in the quonset building.  So, I pulled in there and John and Brandon met me there to assist with the backing in and the detaching.  Backing the air cart and drill into that building is kinda tricky, a tight fit…some would say you need a shoe horn to fit it in there!  But now its unhooked and stored inside, out of the sun and rain.

Pulling out on the gravel county road, I begin the trek home after completing the last bit of #replant18

Here, I’m pulling away from the drill, now that it is stored in the quonset building. Brandon and John came to help me get it backed in and disconnected from the tractor.  We will see this again in March 2019 when we bring it home to tune it up for #plant19

The JD 9520R tractor that pulls the soybean drill is now home, and ready for a good wash job!

The Weather Channel is giving a 100% chance of rain here on Monday, and we will be pleased if that comes to pass!

Have a pleasant weekend.  The humidity has backed off a bit here the past few days, making the evenings and mornings very comfortable…


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Special meeting

Friday, July 13, 2018

Last week I received a call from Steve Brown, the State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency in Indiana.

He called to report that the head of the Risk Management Agency (RMA) of USDA, Martin Barbre, was coming to Indiana… and he was looking for a Knox County farm to host a visit.  We gladly accepted his request.  I invited a few neighbor-farmers, as well as our crop insurance agent and our banker to be in attendance.  Today that event took place in our shop.

It was a pleasant time, with a few other state and local USDA officials also in attendance.  Mr. Barbre, a farmer from southern Illinois, filled us in on what it was like to move into such an administrative position in Washington, DC.  He also took our questions about such things as World Trade Organization (WTO), the current trade standoff and its effect on grain markets, and Waters of the US (WOTUS).  He gave us reassurances that there would likely be some support given to grain farmers who are impacted by current trade tariff policies.  He indicated that it is his impression that such assistance would come from Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), and not through RMA.  He also was fairly frank in declaring that the upcoming Farm Bill would continue strong Federal support for crop insurance.

Martin Barbre, Administrator of RMA at USDA, speaks to the group

After the Q&A, the group assembled for a photo.
Mr Barbre in in the navy shirt in the front row, and Mr. Brown is in the yellow shirt next to him. Local FSA Administrator, Diane Mason, stands next to Mr. Brown.

The whole thing took about an hour, and it was a comfortable meeting, both in terms of the temperature in our shop, and in the amicable discourse among those attending.  I believe it is a good thing to have in these types of positions individuals who have actual experience dealing with the unpredictable nature of farming, and personal, on-farm and real-world interaction with USDA’s RMA system.

It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Brown and Mr. Barbre and have some interaction with them.  I’m glad the RMA Administrator chose southern Indiana for his initial travel experience in his position.  If he travels to an area near you, I think you would also appreciate getting to know him.


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Scouting, from the air…

Saturday, July 7, 2018

John flew the DJI Phantom 4Pro this morning at the Commer and Nellie farms in order to evaluate the need for replant.  He said, “Sure is better than walking, huh?”  I gotta agree.  Even though it is pleasantly cool this morning (day began at 58F  or 14C), flying to look at these distant spots is easier than walking.  He was even able to scout for weed pressure, and found some cockleburs at Commer that he will spray in the next week or so.

This shot of the west side of Commer shows the areas that will need some replant, as soon as it it dry enough. Approximately 12 acres, by my estimate.

If you zoom in on this pic, you can see some cockleburs that will need some attention soon.

South end of Nellie farm… looks good enough to keep the replant out of here.

North end of Nellie, adjacent to W. Fork of White River… some drowned spots, but ‘keep out’ the replant planter.

Net effect of this morning’s flights:  Replant at Commer, no replant at Nellie… and some glyphosate needed at Commer.

Have a good weekend.



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