Hot Day

Thursday, July 9, 2020

This qualifies as a hot day in SWIN.  Ambient temperature is 93ºF (34C) and a ‘feels like’ (or humiture) temp of 106ºF (41C).   So far in 2020, we have not had a day when we hit 100ºF or above.  I cannot remember exactly when the temp went above 100ºF, but it may have been back in the drought year of 2012.  Dad always talked about the year 1936 as a really HOT summer.  And that was back before air conditioning!   I can recall summers as a kid before mom and dad got A/C.  It was difficult to get to sleep, a hot and sticky sensation kept you from resting.  You could try going down in the basement of the house, or even going outside…the hot and sticky feeling just went with you.  As our neighbor Richard Dutton used to say, “I’ll just stay inside by the pneumonia machine,” — that’s what he called his A/C window unit.

The weather read-out in the office this afternoon.

The JD 7130 is in the shop; it needs a new alternator, and it’ll take a day or two to get one.  It was sweaty work this morning as we removed the faulty alternator.  That puts the bush hog work ‘on hold’.

The JD 7130 is out of service today. We wait for a replacement alternator.

The guys are out spraying this afternoon.  Brandon on the Gator, spraying waterhemp and johnsongrass along roadsides and edges of fields.  John is at Freddie in the JD 4730 sprayer, applying some Roundup WeatherMAX, but mostly applying Delaro fungicide on soybeans.

John is refilling his sprayer at the Freddie farm.

Brandon sprays waterhemp and johnsongrass along the edge of a field, as he goes along on the Gator.

Brandon has the Gator much cleaner today.

I hope to get the bush hog back in action tomorrow.

We try to visit each field at least once per week to evaluate the crop condition and determine if any action needs to taken.  John has his list of soybean fields that need herbicide/fungicide down to 4, and could be down to 2 by tonight.  Brandon is out wrapping up his spot spraying from the Gator, and he should be ‘caught up’ or even finished by tonight.   It is always a good thing to be able to cross a task off the to-do list.

Brandon will be getting married Saturday, so today’s his last ‘at work’ day for a couple weeks.  We are happy for him and for Emily, his soon-to-be wife.

Many farmers around the Corn Belt and especially in NE Indiana, are praying for rain.  It is getting urgent for them.  Here in SWIN, a good soaking inch rain would be very welcome, but we are not at a crisis just yet.  We don’t see the rolled-up corn stalks yet, you know… the ones you see that look like pineapple fields.  That’s when you know your corn is hurting.Even if our situation is not quite as dire as NEIN, we are also praying for a good rain event.

Keep cool out there, everyone.

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#plant20 and #replant20 are done

Monday, July 6, 2020

Today, we finished all the planting for 2020.  PTL!  On Saturday-Sunday June 28 & 29, we received 3.4″ (86mm) of rain.  This was just after the DCB were planted.  Driving around yesterday, I discovered a few spots, mostly in the bottoms of WASCoBs where the newly-planted DCB had drowned out.  So, this morning we loaded some single bag units of AG 38X6 into the air drill, and I replanted those spots.  With that work, all planting for 2020 should be done.  After the replanting this morning, I washed the air drill (mostly the yellow wheels– it’s not #Andyclean).  Then, after lunch, I took it down to the quonset building at the Huey farm and placed it inside there, out of the sun.  It feels good to finally unhook from that machine.  It performed fairly well this spring/summer.   Now, the JD 9520R can be washed up and placed under roof, too.

JD 1890 -1910 no-till air drill ready for the trip to the quonset building at the Huey farm.

JD 9520R tractor is on the wash pad, ready for its summer clean-up. I’ve certainly seen it dirtier than this after planting time.

I had been concerned last week about the ‘stand’ of the DCBs.  I scouted the fields at 7 days post-planting, and I was not confident we would have enough soybeans get up through that wheat straw residue.  I looked again at 10 days, and felt a little better.  Then, I scouted those DCB fields once again yesterday afternoon.  I found not a perfect stand, but ‘good enough’.  Also, I found that the big rain of June 28-29 had drowned some DCB in the basins of the WASCoBs, leading to the little bit of replant today.

DCB emerging

John is out spraying some soybeans with Roundup and Delaro (a fungicide) today.  Brandon is out on the Gator, cleaning up some roadsides and ditch banks with some special herbicide (Outrider) that stops johnsongrass but allows the fescue to remain.

After a little spraying work last Saturday morning, John performs the 50-hour lubrication service on the JD 4730 sprayer.

Should I mention that the holiday weekend was a hot one?  Got up to the mid 90s Saturday and Sunday.   It is 93ºF  this afternoon.  The humidity is high, making the ‘feels like’ temperature 104ºF (40C).  To add to the discomfort, there is barely any breeze, <2mph.   The standing corn and soybeans are still benefiting from that big rain 2 weeks ago, not showing that ‘rolled up’ or ‘pineapple’ look– at least not yet.  We have a 40% chance of rain tomorrow, and if it comes, that’ll be okay.

My next project will involve getting the bush hog going again, beautifying some of the roadsides and waterways.

The corn is about at 50-60% tasseled, and looking quite good.  It may be a bit too warm to have effective pollination, but the nights do cool down to about 70ºF  (21C).  The soybeans are blooming profusely, and the earliest ones are beginning to set pods.  The DCB are now emerging, and will soon grow above and hide the wheat residue.  That residue also makes for a moisture-conserving mulch.

Tassels are out, and the sweet aroma of the corn fills the air.

Soybeans are blooming, and if you look closely, you can see the tiny beginnings of some pods.

Not a perfect stand, but better than ‘just okay’

Tomorrow will bring a trip to the Knox County FSA to ‘certify’ all plantings. That process has been altered somewhat by the COVID-19 effect on the operation of that office.  We did some preliminary work by email with my excel sheet and their maps.  I think we are ready for the signatures, but we will find out for sure tomorrow.

A good start to this first full week of July, 2020.

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Summer sizzles

Friday, July 3, 2020

Today it is 90ºF (32C) outside.  And, typical for southern Indiana, it is humid as can be!  It just feels ‘sticky’ out there.  But there is plenty of moisture in the soils and the corn and soybeans are showing no signs of moisture stress today.  If it stays this hot and dry for another week, the stress will come.  But today it’s looking pretty good.

The corn tassels started to emerge here on July 2. We are just a couple days away from that sweet aroma. Best smell ever!

Wheat harvest is wrapped up and the DCB are beginning to emerge.  The ‘stand’ of DCB is not ideal–any spot where the wheat straw was very thick, the emergence has been hampered.  So, we will evaluate the ‘stand’ along about Wednesday or Thursday of next week, and determine if some replanting is gonna be necessary.  I sure hope not.  It would be nice to get the drill stored away, and place the tractor in the shed, out of the sun.

Planting DCB at the Dunn farm. I hope the ‘stand’ is sufficient and no replant will be needed.

We have been spraying a post emerge Roundup WeatherMax herbicide treatment on the soybeans, and added to the mix is a treatment of  Delaro fungicide.   We have been concentrating on this task this week, and it will continue into next week.  We are hoping that this is the final trip across the soybeans for 2020.  But, our experience tells us that we may have to go again with a pass of glyphosate (Roundup) in early August.  The conditions then will tell us what is necessary.

The combines are back in storage, waiting for their post-harvest wash.  We have been focusing on other tasks, like spraying soybeans and delivering the wheat to the market. So far, Brandon has the Demco 1322 grain cart washed and put away.


The combines wait patiently inside for their turn on the wash pad

The grain cart has been washed and is stored away until September.

The wheat crop has all been taken to market at ADM in Newburgh and Evansville, Indiana– about 1-hour away.  Those elevators are on the Ohio River, and have barge-loading capability.  We are fortunate to have access to that river market.  There are just a couple loads of 2019 corn left to be delivered, and that’ll go out next week.

Today, John and Ashley are celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary.  A special day.

Everyone here at Carnahan & Sons wishes you a safe and happy 4th!  We have a magnificent nation to celebrate.  No, not flawless, but the one that provides the greatest freedom and the most opportunities for success!  Happy 244th Birthday, USA!


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A good week.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

We had a good week.  The wheat harvest was finished on Thursday afternoon, and the double-crop soybean (DCB) planting was completed Friday evening.  Yes, the wheat yields were disappointing, but we did have a crop to bring in.   Some neighbors abandoned their wheat two or three weeks ago, and just planted soybeans without trying to harvest the crop.  So, it could have been worse!  Today, the weather is overcast, hazy, and 76ºF (24C).   It is a pleasant day to be out, and some rain is predicted for the afternoon/evening.   A gentle rain would ‘cap off’ a really good week.

Next week will bring some routine maintenance items.  The machines will be cleaned up from the harvest.  The last of the wheat will be delivered to market, and roadside mowing will begin again.  Brandon will also do some spraying of fences and ditch banks from the Gator.  The pressure and urgency of planting and harvest is now passed.  We will clean up the air drill, but leave it connected for several days, just in case some replanting might become necessary.  It will be a happy thing when we can take it down to the Huey farm to place it into storage.

Here are some scenes of the week:

The view of wheat harvest from the seat of the combine.

The new grain cart worked well.

John sprayed the wheat stubble with herbicide ahead of planting the DCB.

This particular hill field is one of our steepest to manage. No-till planting of the DCB helps to protect the soil.

The main field at the Lett farm was the final location for #plant20

Hutson, Inc. has brought us a demonstrator  JD R4038 sprayer to use for a few days.  We are considering replacing/upgrading our current sprayer (a JD 4730) and this demonstrator will allow us to evaluate the new technology that is available in the R4 series.

The R4038 sprayer. A ‘demonstrator’ to use for a couple days.

The Weather Channel has been reporting the “Sahara Dust” cloud that is coming to the Midwest.  We think we may be seeing some of that this morning.  It has no odor, but the sky and atmosphere is unusually ‘hazy’ .

On this overcast Saturday morning, it seems that the haze is more than a typical summer day. Could this be the “Sahara Dust’?

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.  God is good.

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A happy weekend

Monday, June 22, 2020

Yes, we got started with wheat harvest on Saturday.  The grain got dry enough that we could harvest it well.  After Ross started on Saturday afternoon, he called to say I should bring the other combine to the wheat field.  I joined him at the Harry farm, and we had a good afternoon and evening.  We finished the Harry farm, and moved the equipment home.  We finished the last of those fields with the lights on.

Headed down US 50 to the wheat field

Saturday was a good day for harvesting wheat, even if the yields were disappointing

Then, on Sunday morning, some rain fell!  We were very pleased to have some rain, even if that slows down wheat harvest.  During the day Sunday, we received .9″ (23mm) rain.  It did move our Fathers’ Day meal indoors, but that was okay, too.  The granddaughters brought decorations they had made!  And Pat prepared a terrific summer meal. We had a great time together.

Looks like we will try wheat harvest again this afternoon.

Rain is predicted again for tonight, so we will see how/when we return to wheat harvest.   I think we will need to apply a burndown herbicide before we plant the double-crop soybeans (DCB).  The moisture will help those DCB get started.


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What to do?

Friday, June 19, 2020

Wheat.  It is a puzzle again this year.  Some neighbors are cutting wheat.  Ross is out there with the CIH 8250 trying it.  The moisture level is not quite down to where we are comfortable, or at a point where it is a no-brainer to get the machines rolling.   The moisture level is inconsistent, ranging from 23-29%.  Our preferred start is <22%.  Also rain is predicted for Sunday-Monday, and that increases the urgency to get the wheat in the truck.  The  yields are very average; the late frost in May hurt the yield more than we had expected.   So, it looks like Ross will cut a bit over one truckload, and we will run it through the dryer.  We will not take the other machine to the field today, but maybe we will start with it tomorrow.   Like many things on the farm, figuring out what to do is more difficult than the work itself…

Today’s 90ºF is helping the ‘solar dryer’ to burn out some of the moisture from the grain.   They are telling us 92ºF tomorrow.

So, this afternoon, wheat harvest is on ‘yellow light’  I hope we can turn on the ‘green light’ tomorrow.


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Not yet

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

After checking the wheat late this morning, Ross says it is not ready yet.  He was hoping to start wheat harvest tomorrow, but it looks like that will have to wait until at least the weekend.    So, we wait for proper conditions.  We would prefer the moisture content at the start of harvest to be 18%, and then run the wheat through the dryer to take it down to 13%.  It also typically gains a bit of test weight ( measure of density) if it goes through the dryer.

We have neighbors who have abandoned their wheat crops, and planted soybeans in it.  We will cut ours, even though the prospects for a bumper crop are not very good.

No combines running here today.  But they will be running ASAP.



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Wheat harvest prep

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Today, the combines came out of storage to prepare for wheat harvest.  The inner workings of each one requires some significant changes in order to do an efficient job of harvesting.  It is a pleasant, sunny day to work on these machines.  The humidity is down a bit, and it is 81ºF (27C).

The concaves are switched out of the CIH 8250 and on the JD S780, inserts are placed under the concave, and special covers placed over strategic parts of the separator grates.  In making these changes, the result is a remarkably clean grain sample.  Of course there are other adjustments that are made specifically for harvesting wheat, but these are the changes that require some mechanic work.  The others are made without tools, and mostly with the push of a button on the control panel screen.

On the JD S780:

There are 2 inserts placed under the forward parts of the concave.

There are these covers placed on 3 rows of the separator grates, here on the LH side.  Two rows of covers are installed on the RH side–but it is really difficult to maneuver to get them installed.

The JD 640FD has lock-out bolts installed to make the cutterbar rigid.

JD S780 is nearly ready…

On the CIH 8250:

The air filters are cleaned with compressed air

The round-bar concaves that are suitable for harvesting corn and soybeans are removed. Here you see the front concave has been taken out…

… and these small-wire concaves are installed in their place

The Case-IH 8250 is almost prepared.

A thorough lubrication is given to each combine. That should be enough to take care of the 3-4 days it will take to harvest the wheat crop.  The MacDon header for the CIH combine will come out next to be serviced and prepared.

The wheat that is grown here in SWIN is a type of soft, red winter wheat.  It is not typically used for bread or pasta, but made into a richer flour for cakes and pastries.

My estimate for a start to wheat harvest is Monday, June 22.


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Got a rain.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Yes it rained.  YAY!  According to, we received .4″ (10mm) late yesterday afternoon.  It was pretty even across all our fields.  We had been praying for rain, and it was good to get a little bit.  It is still windy today, but less than yesterday’s gusts of around 40 mph.  We are thankful for the rain.

Our corn, soybean, and wheat crops all look fairly good today.  Maybe not excellent, but better than at this time in 2019.  The wheat looks like it will still be 10-12 days before harvest.  The corn and soybeans are acquiring a deep, rich green color.  The weeds are drying up.   It’s a good week here at Carnahan & Sons.

The corn still leans a bit from yesterday’s wind, but it looks pretty good today.

This field of soybeans near Wheatland seems to be healthy and thriving.

The wheat crop is just a few more days away to harvest. The stand seems a little thin, but we look forward to cutting it.

Some of the next tasks here will be to remove the combines and headers from storage and prepare them for wheat harvest.  There are some internal changes with the concaves and inserts that will need to be installed to make them thresh the wheat efficiently.  We hope to duplicate last year’s harvest, in which the grain in the bin looked so clean we could have used it for seed!

Have a great day.

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Need a rain.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Yes, we would like it to rain.  The remnants of Tropical Storm Christobal are predicted to arrive here in SWIN today, and we really hope that happens.  Of course, we don’t want a ‘toad-strangler’, but a nice 1/2 to 1 inch would be terrific.  All the crops need a little drink, especially those corn and soybean fields that were replanted on June 1 & 2.   The radar looks promising.

In the meantime, we are tidying up the place.  We have taken the bush hog on the little JD 7130 tractor and mowed many of the roadsides and ditch levees, last week and this week.  There are some more places to go, but it’s a good start.

The look ahead as I mow the roadside at the Crook farm…

…and here is the way it looks after.

We are also washing up the equipment after the planting season.   The JD 9360R was washed yesterday, and today, Brandon has the CIH 2150 corn planter on the wash pad.  It’s pretty windy today, and that may limit how much he can do.  Even so, we hope the task is interrupted by a rain!

Brandon washes the 9360R on Monday afternoon

Ahead of the hoped-for rain, Brandon starts washing the CIH 2150 corn planter.

John has the post-emerge spraying ‘caught up’.  He worked very diligently and carefully as he was applying the herbicides over the top of the corn and soybeans.  The soybean task took on a bit of some confusion in that unexpected ruling by the 9th Circuit Court, vacating the label approval of most dicamba formulations.   Clarification was provided by the Indiana Office of the State Chemist.  OISC is Indiana’s governing body over pesticide use, and it is located at Purdue University.   John was able to complete his use of the dicamba under that ruling.  OISC does not permit the application of any dicamba product after June 20, so we were getting down to the deadline anyway.

Last Sunday afternoon, we participated in a ‘birthday parade’ to celebrate the 80th birthday of a neighbor and church friend, Nelson Ruble.  The parade was assembled at South Knox Elementary School, and then moved up Robinson Road to pass by Nelson’s house.  It was a fun time, and we think it was a happy thing for him.


Building the parade group at SKE

The parade is moving. That’s Nelson’s house down there on the left. There are still lots of cars and trucks behind us, too!

As I was running the bush hog Monday morning, I discovered some spray-drift damage to a small area of soybeans at the Freddie farm.  I had not noticed that damage on Saturday, when I was there in the water truck in support of John and his sprayer.   I sent a picture to our main consultant, Greg Anthis of Nutrien, and he suggested some damage from Laudis or atrazine.   I think it probably drifted in from the neighbor’s corn field.  So, I took the soybean planter down to Freddie yesterday afternoon and replanted that small area (5.2 acres).  Also in the area were some soybeans I had replanted there on June 1, and those were coming up and looking okay.  So, it was just a small area of damage, and the replanting should fill in the gap.

This soybean plant doesn’t look very healthy, so we replanted in that area.

If you drive around the fields this week, most of the crops look pretty good.  The corn is now consuming more nitrogen, and it is becoming a deeper, richer green.  The earliest soybean fields have the rows “closed” and that will help compete with any weed.   The wheat is now more golden-colored than green.   Harvest is not many days away.  We are grateful for the relative health of the crops at this time of the growing season.

C’mon rain!



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