It begins…

Saturday, September 21, 2019

#harvest19 has started.

We went to the corn field on Thursday.   The corn was wetter than we would like, but we had to bring some in to fill our September sales contracts.  The grain was also quite variable in moisture content, ranging from 22 to 29%.  This variability makes the operation of the grain dryer more difficult, but John is quite diligent to try to get uniform moisture out of it.  We harvested the Harry farm, finishing yesterday afternoon.  Now that we have enough corn in the bin to fill our September contracts, we thought we would prefer to cut soybeans, and allow the ‘solar dryer’ to work on the corn some more!  The guys will get that corn delivered over the next several mornings.

Ross decided to go try to cut some soybeans on Friday evening.  I thought he was too optimistic.  I just knew by the looks of those beans that they’d be wet– and come in 15-16%.  But Ross was right (again).   The moisture levels ran 9-11%, and he finished that first 21 acre field beans right before dark.  We will both be going to the soybean field today!   Because it’s cloudy this morning, we should be able to start a bit earlier in the day.

I’ll attach some pictures here of the first couple days of harvest.

The machines were all shiny on Thursday morning before we headed off to the field.

The first day is replete with calibrations and set-ups. Shane Knoy from Hutsons came by to help us get set up properly. He discusses the crop with Ross

Ross in the 8250

Unloading on-the-go is a typical practice at Carnahan & Sons.

By Thursday night, the trucks were waiting to get unloaded. The really wet corn slows the drying process considerably.

Yesterday evening, Ross was cutting dry soybeans! I’ll join him today (Saturday the 21st)

Brandon fill the trucks.

Larry is here today to operate the JD 9360R with the disk and crumbler to disk the corn stalks at the just-harvested Harry farm.  He’ll plant that in wheat late next week.

There is a little rain in our forecast.  If it comes, or if it does not…either way, it’s okay.

Have a great weekend.


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A start date in mind

Tuesday, September 17,2019

Ross is saying that he thinks we need to get harvest started on this Thursday, the 19th of September.  It is the latest start to harvest in my memory.  But, it fits with the pattern of 2019… delayed planting has led to this delayed harvest.  We are certain that there will be no mid-October finish to harvest this year.  The last harvest day will not be spent in a warm, sunny October afternoon.  We expect harvest to extend far into November this year.  And, November weather is a toss-up.  It can be beautiful and warm, or chilly and soggy.  But either way, we will do our best to bring in our 2019 corn and soybeans.

Performing some calibrations today.

Preparations continue.  John is servicing today the “compressorator” that sits in the back of his pickup during the busy seasons.  This device combines an air compressor and a generator.  It often comes in handy for repairs we must do in the field.


The weather has been quite hot for several days.  90s and high 80s.  We know that it is drying down the corn and soybeans that are ripe for harvest.  But the hot days are a two-edged sword.  The hot, dry days are also reducing yield potential for the late-planted corn and soybeans. I saw some DCB on a hillside yesterday afternoon that were definitely showing signs of moisture deficiency stress.


An eye-catching SWIN sunset over Carnahan & Sons.

All in all, we plan to be ready for harvest field work on Thursday.  We are praying for  favorable harvest weather.


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Leaves are a-turnin’

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Yes, fall is coming, harvest is not far away.  Ross thinks we shall begin corn harvesting next week.  That may be a little optimistic, but we will get going the week of the 23rd for sure.

The leaves on this tulip tree are mostly yellow, and many have fallen to the ground.

Soybeans are coming along, too.  We have the earliest-planted fields that seem about 10 days away from cutting.  And, of course, we have some beans planted in July that are just beginning to set pods.  We do anticipate the harvest season extending deep into November.  No mid-October finish this year!

What do you think? 10 days from harvest?

We do expect to begin fall harvest in the corn field.  We have some September sales contracts to fill, so that is a must this year.  In a typical year, we would be well along by now.  In fact, on 9-11-01… a day we will never forget…we were picking corn at the Harry farm, on the most beautiful day you can imagine.

We would prefer that the corn moisture level be 22% or less to begin, but we may not be able wait for that.  It will be a balancing act, trying to weigh the urgency of harvest with the cost of drying wet corn.  The 94ºF (34C) temperature this afternoon will help cook out some of that moisture!

Have a great weekend.

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September arrives…

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The morning was a bit cooler today, after a high of 88F yesterday.  Low 80s predicted for today, and 70s for the remainder of the week.  You could feel it yesterday for the first time:


The sun was hot but the air was cool.  This seems a bit early compared to average.  But 2019 has been anything but average, so what else is new?

Brandon is out today with the JD 9360R and a disk and crumbler, working the acres that remained unplanted this summer.  It will be good to get the weeds brought down on those acres, and get them ready for fall.   These “bare” acres are in the White River bottoms.  Ross says there is still standing water in some places.  Brandon will dodge those spots.

John and Brandon service the tire pressures and lubricate the bearings on the disk.

Brandon is headed out to disk the areas of unplanted acres in two fields near White River.

The Pete (one of the trucks) is still in the shop at VoMac in Vincennes, getting the A/C repaired.  It has a slow leak in it that allows the freon to disappear.  They’ll find the leak and make it work well.  VoMac has a great shop.

The combines and heads are completely prepared for fall.  The grain cart is yet to come out of storage for initial maintenance, and adjustments.  We rebuilt the tracks last year, so those should require only adjustments and lubrication.

The set-up information for the combines for fall harvest has been created and installed in the JD S780 and the CIH 8250. The small repairs to the soybean headers have been made. The corn heads have been serviced.  It feels like we are ready…at least for the field work.  There is some repair work going on to bin #7 and the Honeyville grain leg.  Montgomery Welding is performing those repairs and they are making good progress.

Yesterday, Ross tested some corn from the first-planted field.   He got 32% moisture.  Of course, if you were to take the combine it would bring in a sample about 2 points above that.  So, the corn has a ways to go before the combines run.  A couple weeks, at least.  We’d prefer the corn be <25% (22%, really) to start.  But all the farm magazines are telling us get those combines going!  Start that grain dryer!   We assume from the delayed planting date that 2019 harvest will extend far into November.

Have a good rest of your week.


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Harvest prep begins

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Beginning on Monday, we started prepping the combines for fall harvest.  We had to remove some parts from the internal workings of the JD S780 combine (concave filler plates and separator grate covers), and switch out the concaves of the CIH 8250.  We checked and adjusted the clean grain and tailings elevators on each machine.  We set up these combines for corn, which we anticipate being the first thing we will harvest.  Brandon gave them a wash; that was a good thing– he had not had a chance to wash off the dirt from the wheat harvest. These machines performed very well in our wheat crop; we are eager to see what they will do in corn and soybeans!

We attached the new (to us) JD 712FC corn head to the combine, and performed the many calibrations.  We encountered some difficulty with the “fold” sensors, and a mechanic from the selling dealer (Alliance Tractor) had to come and make it work.  So, now the corn head is ready, and the folding mechanism works as designed!  There is some repair do be done to both the JD and MacDon flex draper platforms.  Probably get to that tomorrow.

This new (to us) corn head required many adjustments and a few repairs. Many calibrations were necessary. And, of course, those calibrations had to be done in a very specific order!  We are getting more and more acquainted with the Gen 4 system.

All the gathering chains needed a little adjustment, and the oil level in every row-unit gearbox was corrected.  The grease zerks were lubricated. 

It took a while to get the ‘fold sensors’ properly adjusted, but now the header folds correctly and easily with a mere touch on the Gen4 screen.

Brandon makes the CIH 8250 shine.

There were other, random tasks to do on this nice day.  John replaced the flag at the top of the grain elevator.  It was getting quite ragged from months of winds.  This one was deployed in December of last year, so that was a pretty long-lasting flag!  It always feels good to have “Old Glory” flying above Carnahan & Sons.

down with the worn out flag…

…and up with the new!

I did a little cleaning in the shop.  I cleared away some of the clutter and layers of dust from the work bench.  I carried out and disposed many used (and drained) oil filters.  I also went out with the Gator to spray a couple spots of johnsongrass over at the Cox Hill field.

I hope to work with the bush hog again tomorrow, while the young guys do the prep and repair on the soybean platforms.

Jake and Matt were here again today from Montgomery Welding to begin installing a new unloading auger in our bin #7.  The floor will go down again soon.

We met with a representative of the Bayer Corp (they acquired Monsanto) to review our herbicide program for 2019, and to plan for a few anticipated changes for 2020.  We are also meeting with our seed suppliers to discuss the possibility of planting wheat again for 2020.  With profit margins narrowing significantly, we are examining more intensively our alternatives.  Corn and soybean planting decisions will be made later, in late October and early November.

The annual Farm Progress Show began yesterday in Decatur, Illinois and will run through tomorrow.  It is a fantastic outdoor farm exhibition, but we just could not get away to take it in this year.   It will return to Decatur in 2021, as it moves in the even-numbered  years to its other permanent location at Boone, Iowa.

It was a very pleasant 78ºF (25C) day today, with a gentle and cool breeze.  It was so very comfortable to be outside today.  I suppose the corn and soybeans would prefer mid 80s, but for people, it was a wonderful day.  The cloudless blue sky was brilliant!



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Feels like fall

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The temperature got down into the high 50s last night, so when we ventured out this morning, it was downright refreshing.  People are going to love this weekend here.  High temps in the 70s, and brilliant sunshine.  Wow.  Yes, it does feel like fall.

Such a beautiful blue sky on a lovely SWIN August day. We’ll take it!

It was so nice, I just had to wash the pickup…and Pat’s car, too.

One downside may be the effect of the lower temperatures on crop development.  Will this slow down the already late corn and soybeans?  Perhaps.  But next week, daytime 80s return, and that will again accelerate the crop progress.

We have not reached 100ºF here this summer.  We occasionally complain about the heat and humidity (often, really).  But of course, there have been summers  that have been hotter.  Remember 2012, the drought year?  One that regularly gets discussed is the summer of 1936.  There were many days over 100 degrees that year, and no one had an air conditioner back then!  Mom or dad would often remark about that summer with, “You think this is hot?  You shoulda been there in ’36!”

I can recall the summer nights in the early 1960s, before mom and dad got central air in our house.  Sticky, hard to rest, yucky circumstances.  Sometimes we just went outside to lie in the yard to see if it was any better (it usually wasn’t better, but we had to try something).  That’s one thing about the old days I don’t miss.

So we will enjoy this short respite.

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Two nights in a row

Thursday, August 22, 2019

During the night, we were awakened by strong booms of “rolling” thunder… that makes two nights in a row that we’ve had storms.  Tuesday night, we got lots of wind and .35″, and last night the wind was not so strong, but 1.04″ (26mm) rain came down.  So we are grateful for the rain.  As dad used to say, “This will just ruin those little soybeans.  It will make big ones out of them!”  So, yes… it should add bushels to the soybean fields… and perhaps to the late corn fields, too.

The weather folks are predicting more rain this afternoon/evening.

The morning is a bit cooler, and that is pleasant.  All in all, a happy day at Carnahan & Sons.

1Thess 5:18


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