Snowy Friday

January 12, 2018

Yes, we are getting snow today.  After yesterday’s high temperature of 60ºF (16C), it is now in the mid 20s, with snow coming down.  The precipitation began last night about 8pm with some heavy rain.  The temperatures plummeted to about 20, and the rain changed to sleet.  The main concern during the night was ice or freezing rain.  That didn’t occur, and much to our relief, the electric power stayed on without a hitch.  Today, the sleet has changed to snow.  We’ve received a couple inches so far–not enough to require the use of our snow blower.  We will see how long it comes down, and how much it blows and drifts.  In any event, we’re prepared to clear away snow if that becomes necessary.  I was out for a while this morning to visit the granddaughters, and to pick up a filter for John at the parts drop-off site in Wheatland.  The main roads, including US 50, are pretty snow-packed and slick.   It’s a good day to stay in by the fire.  No corn deliveries are needed until Monday, and that’s good news for today.

Early today, it was only sleet on the ground, not snow. But snow is coming down hard in the afternoon.

Not a ‘white-out’, but not mere flurries, either.

IN 550, west of Wheatland. Gotta go slow.

The recent sub-zero nights made for a good side-effect.  The strips of oats we planted last fall for our version of cover-crops are now turning brown as their growth has been stopped.   It is just as we had planned for it to go; now the growth will be adequate without getting too big.   It will make for good soil conservation, and more easily facilitate planting time this spring.

Those pretty, green strips of oats have had their growth stopped at just the right stage.

Speaking of planting, it’s only about 90 days away.  Be here before you know it.  Will we be ready?  You betcha… we will give it our best effort.

You want to really know how bad it is out there?  School was cancelled for today, but the biggest sign of bad weather is that the HS basketball game for tonight has been postponed to Monday, February 5.  No basketball?  Now that’s serious in SWIN!



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Snowy weekend forecast

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

It’s rather warm here in SWIN today, right now the temperature reads 55F (13C).  Another even warmer day is predicted for tomorrow.  But our forecast is for single digit temps on the weekend, possibly dipping below zero Saturday night.  Also in the forecast is some significant snowfall.  So, we are preparing for the possibility of snow.

John brings the snow blower into the shop to prepare it for the possible weekend snow. It is hooked up to the JD 7130 tractor.

As Brandon delivered more corn to GPC today, John has had a busy day in the shop.  With Vanna (our white Mack truck) out of its storage building today, it made it easier to pull out the JD combine to get it into the shop.  Once the combine was in the warm shop, John worked to replace the device that communicates information between the office and the combine.  The device is called a Modular Telematics Gateway (MTG) and the replacement upgrades the communications from 3G to 4G.  There is small box and an antenna involved in the change-over.  It required John to remove the roof from the combine’s cab and fish some wires down through the frame to get the old parts out and the new parts installed.   We can call up and observe this machine’s operation through John Deere’s system called JD Link.  This system will send harvest information to the office, and we can send set-up information to the combine — wirelessly.  Deere has another acronym for such a thing–WDT (wireless data transfer).

It’s a little crowded in the shop today.

Here’s a peek under the cab roof. That little shark fin is part of the antenna for the MTG.

Down behind the seat inside the cab is a box with electronic modules.

The warmer temperatures of the past few days has brought a big January thaw.   It’s really messy around the farm lot today.  I think I’d prefer that the weather bring us 20-degree days!  That way, stuff would stay a lot cleaner.   But, warm or cold, some tasks must go on.

Messy farm lot around the bins and buildings today. Looking forward to the re-freeze.

Indiana Ag Leadership Class 17 is coming to Vincennes beginning tomorrow.  We hope they find their time in Knox County interesting and helpful.



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One down…

Monday, January 8, 2018

Brandon tells me that Bin #1 is MT (empty).  That leaves 7 more to go.  As he delivers the grain to market this month, he may be able to check off more of them.  It’s a mixed bag to have an empty grain bin.  It’s feels good to have that work behind you, and know you’ve delivered a quality product to market.  That’s what pays the bills!  But it’s a little down, too, to know that you’re that much closer to running dry on having something in reserve to sell.  I don’t want to sound disappointed about it, because we had a good harvest.  It went quickly by, with very little troubles.  The dry fall weather made it pleasant to move about the fields with the combines and trucks.  There were few delays.  And the yields were a tick above average for soybeans, but one of the best corn yields ever.  So, this milestone of having a grain bin go MT, is okay.

After a period of many days with very cold weather, (as low as -2ºF or -19C) we are having a warmer day (35F) with rain.   The report this morning told us of about .2″ (5mm) rain all across the farms.  So, not a huge rain event, but welcome.  The moderating temperatures are welcome for our wheat crop, too.  During the extra-cold days and nights, there was not a lot of snow cover to protect the wheat.   We are hoping that the very cold period has stopped the growth of the oats we planted for cover crop.

The components of the grain leg replacement project have arrived at the farm.  The new Creamer Metal Products elevator, with its powered 10-hole distributor are on-site.   The pipes for the downspouts have arrived at the contractor’s Montgomery, Indiana location.   Now, it’s looking like a late March or early April time for tear down and erection.  The electrical components will be a big part of the project’s expense, too.  Even though I’ve learned to estimate high for electrical work, it seems as though I’m always surprised at how expensive it is!

January has been busy in the farm office, as I prepare financial reports for our banker.  I must refine the ongoing work on the cash flow, an important exercise.  One of the more important documents is the Crop Budget report, in which we try to precisely define our cost per unit of production.  That is an important number to know, for it helps give confidence to marketing.

The Indiana Ag Leadership program is coming to Vincennes this week, Thursday through Saturday.  The program is sponsored by the Indiana AgrIInstitute.  I was a member of that program’s Class VII.  The class coming this week is number 17!   So, it’s been 20+ years ago that I went through that experience, and it has a special place in my heart.  I hope to join the group for dinner on Friday.

Have a great week!


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Another meeting.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

When John and Brandon attended the PARP meeting in Vincennes on Wednesday, they learned about the many new restrictions on the use of dicamba for 2018.   Dicamba (one old brand name was Banvel) is a herbicide that has been around for a long time, and it is safe to use.  The difficulty comes when it volatilizes under certain weather conditions and drifts off target.

When John returned home from the PARP meeting, he was pretty animated about the new regulations.  He said that using the weather conditions of 2017 as a pattern, there would only be 44 hours during the month of June when the application of dicamba herbicide would have been acceptable according to the new label.  And, now I understand that every person who applies dicamba must attend a dicamba training session, not just the Private Applicator license holder.  I have let my PA expire, since John is the one in charge of the sprayer applications nowadays.  But, there are occasions when I take a turn spraying… so I must attend one of these meetings this winter.   In every other instance, other operators could apply herbicides under the supervision of the license holder.  But not for dicamba, not now.    The new requirements are cumbersome and very restrictive.  It has John wondering if we want to utilize the Xtend technology at all.   There are going to be some very interesting conversations with seed and chemical representatives!   We will likely maintain our current 2018 plan, and see how we can make it work under the new rules.

We strive to be good stewards of our resources, and we will comply with every requirement imposed upon us.  It just seems like an over-reaction by the State Chemist’s office this time.  Their typical common sense approach has been affected by last summer’s headlines in the ag media.  We will see how it goes for 2018.  Hopefully, the new regulations will lead to greater confidence for dicamba use.

Ben is home this weekend from his work at Republic Airline, and he’s now in the shop washing the salt off his car.  Could be a short-lived benefit, for rain/snow/sleet/ice is predicted for tomorrow.

Winter in Indiana.  Always an adventure.


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HNY, here we go…

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The new year is off and running.  I wrote several checks yesterday, and did not write “2017” on any of them.  That’s unusual, for it’s typical for me in the first week of a new year to write the wrong date on a check.  I don’t think I’m alone in that problem…

Brandon is delivering some soybeans to Robinson’s  this week.  The January grain sales contracts must be filled.  It is slightly warmer today, up to 18ºF (-8ºC) now, and since there’s no wind, it’s not too bad out there.  But the previous few days got down below zero at night, and single digits in the daytime.  Whew!   We are told it’ll get slightly above freezing for the weekend, with some rain.  Some weather prognosticators are forecasting a January thaw followed by a severely cold February.  Who knows for sure?  The One who does know is not telling… He just wants us to trust Him.

Loading the Pete with soybeans today. They sure look nice in the hopper trailer.

There are snow flurries out there right now, but almost imperceptible.

Tomorrow, John and Brandon will attend a special pesticide applicator’s meeting, with specific training on dicamba use.  They will be trained on the record-keeping requirements that appear to be quite a bit more stringent for 2018.  Those meetings are called “PARP” meetings.

Next week, the Jan corn deliveries will commence.

I’ve got some work lined up for tomorrow, with refinements to the cash flows, crop budgets, and reports for our banker.   It’s a good thing I enjoy office work, it’ll be a good place to be working tomorrow!  Next week, the JD corn head should come into the shop for a close inspection, and a possible re-build of the gathering chains and sprockets on each of the 12 row units.

Have a good week.


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End of the year

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Yes, another year is drawing to a close.   We had a ‘white Christmas’, the first one since 2010.  Although driving to and from church on Christmas eve took some extra time because some of the county roads were snow-covered, we made it there and back with no trouble.   The next morning, the sky was beautiful and the ground had a white blanket.

The morning sky was especially nice.

Going out the lane on Christmas morning. Yes, it wasn’t a lot, but it was a White Christmas!

If you want to see what our snowfall was like, check out the short clip on our YouTube site.  The big clumps of snowflakes were really pretty.

I took the opportunity to go over to South Knox this morning to check out the construction progress on the big remodel project.  Although I’m not on the school board anymore, I was involved in getting the project launched, and the site ‘clerk of the works’ invited me to come see what’s happening.  It is exciting to see the changes and improvements.  The new art room is complete, and the new cafeteria will be in service when the students return on January 3.   They have already begun the demo in the old cafeteria, which will become the new administrative area.

The new cafeteria at South Knox High School is nearly complete. They are now moving into the space, and they will begin using it next week!

Over at South Knox Elementary School, the Pre-K rooms are now nearly enclosed, and the heat will be turned on soon.   The addition will also include a band room, activity room, and restrooms for that wing.

Here’s one of the two Pre-K rooms. These areas will be ready to roll when school starts in August.

Brandon has all the December grain deliveries filled.   The pace will pick up again in January, as those Jan contracts must be filled.  There will be both soybeans and corn to deliver.  Brandon will again take an accurate inventory of grain as of Jan 1.

Out the lane goes Brandon in the Pete with another load of corn.

We will soon get the JD corn head into the shop, and closely examine the gathering chains and their drive sprockets to see if replacements are needed.   There will always be something to keep us busy.

Have a happy, safe, productive, and blessed 2018.



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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Check out our “Technology” tab above for some updated information.  There, you can read about our new GS4 screen in the 9520R tractor.  There are also paragraphs of updated information about our drone and the satellite receivers.  We keep inching into the future, with upgrades to our technology and its use.

Have a good week.

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