Filed under: family, Farm, Farm Bureau, Fishing, food, friends, summer, Trees, weather, wind | Tags: children, farm, Farm Bureau, Food, hot, machines, record heat, summer, trees, weather, wind
It has been a hot week and I will be glad to see it go. I seem to be having troubles for the last week or so, one after another.
Last Thursday I called the doctor that was to do my knee surgery to get details. They said, “Oh, No, you are not scheduled for a week.” I said “I have an appointment card that says surgery tomorrow.”, and “Next Friday will not work.” Some how we got the surgery done. The knee is feeling much better now, Thank you.
We go to the cabin so I can recuperate without having any extra duties, spend time with my leg up, take it easy. No water in the cabin! I have to crawl into the basement and prime the pump so we can have water to clean up and cool off.
It’s hot, record-breaking hot,but I cannot go into the water too cool off due to my surgery. Lucky for me the crappies are biting just off the dock. I can at least sit in the sun and fish, and sweat!
A storm comes through and takes down some trees and takes out the electricity. Spend some time helping with the clean up. No fans, no air moving, it’s hard to sleep. The only running water we have is when someone goes down to the lake to carry it back in buckets. With no fridge and food spoiling, we come home early. Oh yeah, the fridge died when the power went out.
We stop at my aunt and uncles on the trip home for a bit. The electricity goes out at their house!
A message comes up on my phone as we near home. One of the items we need to serve for Breakfast on the Farm is not available, could you call back, like, two days ago. With some scrambling, and help from others putting on the event, we are a go.
Today, Friday, I go to open my shop door and nothing happens, motor is out. Looks like I need to do some repair there, and there are no parts available until Monday.
There have been a number of little things that have gone wrong this week, and the record heat and humidity are not helping us get things done. I just want to crawl into bed and stay there. Then, however, I would not get to see my granddaughters,
I would not have the feeling of a job done well, I would not have people looking at me and saying, “Wow, how did you get all of that done.”
So, I guess I’ll just keep on going. We have a big event planned for tomorrow, and thanks to all of those who are helping me, we are going to have a good time. Come on over and help fill the tent. We’ll be waiting for you!
Here’s to keeping going when everything seems to be going wrong!
Filed under: Corn, family, Farm, farm animals, harvest, Soybeans, summer, travel, weather | Tags: agriculture, Colorado, Corn, farm, gas prices, harvest, hot, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Soybeans, summer, travel, weather
Our family had a reunion in Colorado this past week. As a farmer you know I was watching the crops all the way. Since I drove I do not have any pictures, but I do have a few thoughts to share.
With all of the problems we have had this year getting in the crop I was interested to see how other areas of the country were doing. Over all it was evident on our trip that others had the same wet spring we did. Even in areas that rely heavily on irrigation you could see places were the crops had had a tough time getting going. Wet areas, places where the crop was missing altogether and other stresses we in most fields.
Our trip took us from Southwestern Minnesota, across the corner of Iowa to Sioux City, down 77 to Fremont, Nebraska, west on 30 to Grand Island, on I-80 to the Colorado border, then down I-76 to Denver. This is some prime cropland that starts out as corn and soybeans and then starts to add in alfalfa as you get into cattle country. As you go west and conditions get drier we saw wheat, oats and barely as well as sunflowers and potatoes. The driest areas of Colorado were pasture land with some irrigated crops mixed in.
Here are some crop notes from the trip.
- There was an area near Worthington, MN that you could see had gotten the crop in and well off to development, and then had so much rain that it drowned out 6 foot tall corn.
- The Missouri river was still well over its banks. There were even roads closed because of high water near Sioux City.
- The Platte River was down some, but still held more water than usual for this time of year.
- Irrigation systems were going everywhere as the farmers poured water to their crops in the heat. Temperatures of 90 to over 100 were common and the wind was sucking up the water.
- Small grain harvest was mostly done, and the straw was being baled in many of the fields. Harvest crews were waiting to move to the next area.
- Hay fields were cut all over the areas of our travels. Most of the hay looked to be in good condition.
- Pastures looked dry. There was a lot of pasture, and not a lot of cows on them.
Gas prices were also interesting. We started out with gas prices of $3.75 around home. Our lowest price paid was $3.47 on the Winnebago Indian Reservation and went as high as $3.99 at Ogallala, Nebraska. Otherwise prices were mainly set at $3.65 to $3.69. Even in the mountains of Colorado we did not see a great variation in prices.
Our reunion was at a resort near Breckenridge. We were at an elevation of over 9000 feet. Even at that altitude it was warm. Highs in the 80′s and lows in the 50′s were a relief from what we had here, but when the sun came out it got HOT.
It was good to get away and be with family for a while, but it’s good to be home now.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, rain, time, weather, wind | Tags: Corn, farm, hot, pollen, rain, silk, weather, wind
Zea Maize, corn, is an interesting plant. It has a split flower on one plant. Most plants have the flower parts in close to each other so that insects and animals can assist them in pollination, but corn is wind pollinated so separating the male and female parts of the flower works if you want to be sure to get pollen transferred between plants.
The tassel, the male part of the flower, is on the top of the plant where the wind can carry pollen grains off. The pollen can travel a long ways if the conditions are right.
The silk, the female part of the flower, comes out of a node about half way down the plant. Right after it emerges the silk is usually green, as time goes on it turns brown, almost black. If the conditions are right, it’s not too hot, or too cold, the pollen will fall onto the silk and produce a kernel of corn. The kernel of corn will develop on the cob. If there has been enough pollen transfer you will have a full beautiful ear of corn.
Until recently the challenge here was that the weather had been too wet. Much of our corn had not matured to the point that the silk and tassel had developed. Some corn fields still contain areas that have not matured enough to produce seed.
You can see an area in this picture that was so wet the corn plants died, with areas of varied growth around it. The further you get from the wet spot the better the corn looks.
For us the rain stopped two weeks ago. Since then we have had hot and humid conditions. The corn seemed to shoot up, growing taller each day. Then just as the tassels emerged, and we were wondering if the weather would ever break, the weather got perfect for pollen transfer. The problem is that not all of the corn is ready for this perfect weather.
Crop scientists are telling us that if the corn has not pollenated by now, it will be too late. Weather could still work to produce a few kernels, but there just is not enough time for the grain to mature. It is now a waiting game. Will the corn have enough time to mature. Will there be enough water in the ground to produce a good crop. Will it rain on time.
Areas of some fields are already showing that they need water. The heat took a lot out of the plants, and if the ground did not hold water the plant is having trouble finding it. Most of the fields are doing well. In October we will find out what kind of a crop this years weather has given us.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, harvest, Minnesota, rain, Soybeans, summer | Tags: Corn, farm, harvest, hot, Minnesota, rain, Soybeans, summer, tassel, tassels, weather
Corn has begun to tassel here in southwestern Minnesota and it is telling us a story.
The tassels are telling a tale of the difficult time the corn plants have had this year. There is not a field out there that is tasseled from end to end. Only the best ground has tasseled. Any place that was a little wet has some time to go yet. Those places that were very wet will need a lot of time. Those fields planted late are also behind schedule.
Now we have heat. The hot humid weather has slowed the corn growth. With evening temperatures of 80 or more the corn cannot regenerate. The plants are struggling just to keep alive, we need some cooler nights for them to successfully silk out and start producing kernels. How much this heat will affect the yield is yet to be determined.
Markets are depending on an early harvest. Most farmers have swept their bins clean and they will not have any corn for sale until the new crop is in and that will be later than usual, just when the markets needed an early harvest. Because of that I do not expect the corn price to go down anytime soon.
Soybeans also are variable. Some farmers in the area replanted wet spots three times, only to see the water come up again and drowned out the beans. There are beans that are already reaching 30 inches in height, but many beans that are only a few inches high. Harvest, when it comes, will find a lot of variation in the soybean yield.
Some of my neighbors have begun small grain harvest. They are taking advantage of the rain free weather to get the oats out. The high humidity will most likely slow drying, but the crop is there to harvest.
Road ditches and grass fields are being cut and baled. We had some hay down before the last rainy period. A week of rain turned the grass to a rotten mess.
With so much rain here in southern Minnesota it is hard to believe that parts of the corn belt are dry. As close as south eastern Iowa corn fields are short of moisture. Parts of Kansas are plowing up their corn due to lack of moisture. Texas and Oklahoma haven’t seen a rain in months. In a year when we need every possible bushel to refill the bins to meet corn demand, there are lots of problems in the corn belt.
The corn tassels are telling their story, and I’m not sure we like it, but it is the story we must live with.
It’s all relative, relative humidity that is.
Southern Minnesota is in the grip of heat and humidity. Not only are daytime highs exceeding 95 degrees, and nighttime lows just barely going less than 80 degrees, but the humidity is tropical. We’re talking relative humidity of 90% or more in the morning and over 50% in the heat of the day. Dew points are holding 75 to 80 degrees. With all of this water in the air it is impossible to sweat. The air is so thick that local weather folks have been checking on the humidity in other parts of the world and finding that we have humidity ratings just like the Amazon Jungle. Our humidity is tropical here in the middle of the continent and a long ways from tropical rain forests.
No need to go to the tropics to enjoy a tropical atmosphere. Any Minnesota lakeshore will do just fine. I’ll be seeing you at the beach!
Filed under: Corn, Farm, Minnesota, summer, Uncategorized, weather | Tags: Corn, farm, hot, Minnesota, summer, weather, wind
How hot is it?
This is an unusually hot week. Temperatures have been in the upper 80′s to upper 90′s for several days now and will continue that way for over a week. There is so much water in the air that sweating does no good. Sweat just runs off. There is barely a breath of wind, so there is nothing to carry sweat away. The “feels like” index is over 100 and will continue that way. This is some tough weather on people and livestock.
There have been reports of people without AC passing out and getting sick. This weather is not something to fool around with. If you do not have AC find a library or other public building to hang out in. Visit the grocers freezer section. Go to the mall. Drink lots of water, not soda, and if you get really hot, pour some of that water over your head. Spend the day in the pool or lake.
People have been saying this weather is good for the corn, well not really. Corn needs some time to cool off too. For corn it’s kind of like breathing. Breathe in all day in the sunshine, but the heat at night does not allow the corn to exhale. Corn needs the night to get around 70 or so, so that it can exhale.
Our corn fields are starting to tassel. This is the time that the corn crop is made. Days in the 80′s, nights in the 60′s, plenty of moisture, that’s what corn needs now. We shall see how all of this heat and humidity work out when we harvest. This is prime time for corn.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, Minnesota, rain, summer, weather, wind | Tags: Corn, farm, hot, Minnesota, rain, summer, weather, wind
7/11/11, Isn’t that interesting.
We’re in the process of cleaning out our last corn bin. Most of the corn went into the bin last fall with out being dried, which is unusual in Southwestern Minnesota. We’ve had little trouble in the bins since we froze the corn down for the winter and then slowly warmed it up for the summer. The humid air this year may have given us a few problems. One bin was on the verge of spoiling when we started taking it out. The top was very hot and the whole bin was still above 16% moisture. That was a close one. Otherwise we’ve escaped with only some mild mold problems. Those mold spots rub off when we auger the corn into the truck and cause no problems down the line.
While I was waiting for the truck to load I wandered out into the corn field to find that some of the corn is topping 7 feet in height. We still have some shorter corn where there were water problems, but much of the field is doing quite well indeed. I did a little snooping by unrolling the top leaf whorl and found that the tassel is nearly out on the tallest corn. That means that at least some of our corn is on its way to a good yield. We’ll see how much of the corn can get its tassel out this week. Continued warm and wet weather will keep that corn plant growing fast.
Thunderstorms that rolled through the area gave us only rain. Where the most rain fell we have puddles again. Being a thunderstorm, those areas are spotty. The high winds did some damage also. Flattened fields and tree branches down are minor problems compared to farm sites with building damage. We’ve escaped the really bad stuff so far. The summer growing season is always exciting.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, fertilizer, Minnesota, nitrogen, rain, tillage, weather, wind | Tags: Corn, farm, hot, Minnesota, Planting, pond, rain, summer, weather, wind
June is now over and I couldn’t be happier.
It’s been a difficult month here on the farm. Over six inches rain made field work difficult. We struggled to get our crops planted in May, but the last of the beans were not planted until early June. When the rains came, the weeds went nuts. Because of the rain we couldn’t get in to the field to control them. Luckily we put down a pre-emerge chemical that controlled most of the weeds in the corn, but the bean fields are in real need of attention.
Most of our corn is looking good despite all of the rain. Some of it is over three feet high now.
Although most of the puddles have dried up, sometimes you can still find water in places you least expect it.
There are all to many places where the corn is yellow and short. They can show up anywhere that water could not get away. We still have spots that can surprise you. Places where drainage tile has problems or there is not enough tile to get rid of all of the water we had.
One of the first things we had to do when things dried up was get the last of the nitrogen on. Corn is about to really grow and it needs it’s nitrogen now.
We’re using liquid nitrogen to give the boost our corn needs. A disk cuts a slot and the nitrogen is forced under pressure into the slot.
Now that the nitrogen is on we’ve done some cultivating in the corn on corn field. That job can be done even when the wind is blowing. It does not get all of the weeds, but it helps get one thing we cannot get with chemicals, the volunteer corn we didn’t get harvested last year and is now growing.
Now that the wind has gone down I’ve been able to spray for weeds in the bean fields. Unfortunately the AC is out in that tractor. When you step out of the cab and 95 degrees with high humidity feels good you know it’s hot in there. A few more days with out much rain and we’ll have the weeds back under control.
Hopefully we’ll get just enough rain to keep us going, and enough sun also.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, grain storage, harvest, Minnesota, weather | Tags: Corn, farm, hot, Minnesota, weather
It was a hot time in the corn field today. We set a new record high today and I was combining corn in shorts. That has got to be a first for me. On top of that the A/C is not working in the combine. The forecast is for more hot weather tomorrow.
Temperatures in the 80′s are not unheard of here in October, they are just not usual. The old record high for today was 84, today we had 87. It was really nice to stand in the shade every once in a while. I must have drunk a gallon of water this afternoon. The shower when I got home was really great.
Corn harvest is going great. So far we have harvested all of our corn at under 19% moisture. We put it in the bin and turn on the air. The hot humid air coming out of the bin says that the rest of the moisture is being pushed out of the corn. This will make some really good quality corn. Now if we get a good price for it, everything will be great.
Filed under: food, history, hunger, science | Tags: Food, harvest, history, hot, hunger, man, obesity
Science for a long time has been searching for reasons that the human body looks the way it does. We are so much different than other mammals, and yet so similar, why? Why are we the only mammal that has so little hair? Why do we have a brain so much larger than other mammals? Why do we walk on two feet?
Some recent research has suggested that our bodies are made to run. When man came out of Africa he was following the game of the savannas that helped to feed his big brain. To kill that game he had neither the teeth or the claws of other meat eaters. Man was not as strong as most other meat eaters, nor could he out sprint the grass eaters he depended on for food. But in the long distance race man could run down anything.
In the heat of the day most mammals need to stay out of the sun, to rest and stay cool. Their fur keeps them from sweating enough to stay cool when temperatures rise. When they run too long they overheat. Man could not run as fast as his prey, but he could out last him in the distance. Man’s lack of fur made it possible to sweat and stay cool in the heat that other animals would overheat in. When man’s prey was needing to rest and cool off, man kept his prospective meal on the move, until he ran down even the swiftest of animals. When it was time to make the kill, his prey was too hot to move.
Our bodies are made for the marathon. Our bodies are made to outlast so that we can feed that big expensive brain we carry. The brain that needs so much fuel to keep it going.
It is no wonder then that when we eat, and do not move enough to burn that fuel we will get fat. Our bodies are storing the plenty of today to feed our brains for the hard times to come. We need to move to keep our body and brain in the shape they were made to be in. Man was not made for a life of inactivity, his body is made to run. We have bodies that are made for a marathon.