Minnesota Farmer


Harvest complete
October 21, 2016, 6:11 pm
Filed under: children, Corn, Fall, family, Farm, farm life, grandchildren, machines, Soybeans | Tags:

img_0013There it sits all quiet.  The machinery that was busy for the last few weeks is silent.

img_0009The dryer that was so busy and noisy is now silent.  The bins are full and the clean up has begun.  Harvest is over.

It was a good harvest.  Corn yields were at least 10% over last years record crop, soybeans yielded 25% over last years record crop.  It was a very good year.

img_0014As usual we had granddaughters and friends over to help with the harvest.  Everyone loves being in the big machines at harvest.

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We also had their help when we harvest the pumpkins from the garden, What a haul!

Hope your harvest season went well!  Now for cleanup and tillage, then we start getting ready for next year.



Maturing or dying
September 8, 2016, 9:18 am
Filed under: Ag education, agriculture, Corn, Fall, Farm, harvest, Minnesota, rain, weather | Tags: , , ,

It’s been a wet year in our part of Minnesota.  We have never been short of moisture at any time this year, in fact most of the year we have been wet.  The rains come and do not turn off.  Getting field work done has been hard.  Now as the fall harvest is nearing, corn farmers are wondering is my corn maturing,img_0705

or dying?img_0706

Every year as harvest nears a host of rots and diseases move into our corn stalks to start the breakdown of dying corn plants.  Sometime they move in too soon and the corn dies before it matures.  Then you have a mess like in the second picture above.  Modern corn varieties are less susceptible to many of those diseases and rots, but when too much water kills off the corn before it matures, the rot takes over.

In about a month we will be into harvest.  If too much of our corn is down and rotting, we will have reduced yields and difficult harvest conditions.  Then we will know the answer to our question, is that corn crop maturing or dying?



Three year old harvest logic
October 23, 2014, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Ag education, Corn, Fall, family, Farm, harvest, machines | Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s harvest and we love having visitors at this time of year.  Usually that means our son and his family come visit so he can help with harvest and the others can see what we are doing.  Miss Purple and Miss Pink are three now and not so afraid of the machinery as they were in their younger years.  We also had  a visit last weekend from my sisters daughter’s families and their three-year old Miss W.  Six month old Baby I stayed in the house while the others went “farming.”  All the three-year olds got to ride in the combine as did many of the adults.

Miss Pink and Miss Purple really liked it when one rode with me and the other with their dad in different machines.  To see the harvest process and the unloading of the combine “on-the go” was really fun for them.

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While unloading on the end Miss Purple looked down at the red cobs on the ground and said, “The red ones are not ripe yet.”  Wow!  What a really interesting way to look at it.  It really is simple three-year old logic.

100_3055Now these three-year olds know corn.  They know this is not the corn you eat but the corn that goes into animal feed.  They have watched the ears being stripped off of the corn stalk by the combine and seen the kernels in the hopper on the combine.  I realized then that they had not seen the inside of an ear of corn.  Grampy to the rescue, It’s lesson time!

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My first step was to grab an ear of corn and break it in half.  Then I showed them how the kernels shell off of the ears.  Now they know how the process works.  Of course they wanted to do some shelling themselves.  Lesson learned.

There are so many things that we take for granted as “common knowledge” here on the farm, but that knowledge is not very common if you do not learn it on the farm.  These three-year olds have been there and are learning so much about where food comes from.  We’ve dug potatoes and picked squash and pumpkins this fall and they have their own garden in town.  Still the big garden that is Grampy’s farm is full of new things to learn.  I cannot wait for the next lesson.



Summer’s end
September 22, 2014, 11:58 am
Filed under: Corn, Fall, Farm, frost, harvest, seasons, Soybeans, weather | Tags: , , , , ,

Today is the first day of autumn, and area fields and trees are starting to look like it.  A bit over a week ago we had some frost, hard in some places and light in others.  Since then every plant seems to be preparing for winter.100_3040Most area corn fields are showing their preparation.  Those corn fields that got little or no frost have green stalks with the husks of the ear turning brown.  We’ll be watching for the ears to tip down soon as they dry further.  Harvest is still some time off for corn unless you are cutting it for silage.  Silage choppers have already started looking for corn that is ready, and some are in full harvest mode.

100_3041Those soybean fields that avoided the frost are rapidly maturing.  This field is at least two weeks from harvest, but I have seen some in the area that I expect to see harvested later this week.  It looks as if harvest will be a bit later this year than the last few, but not that late.  Only about 10 weeks until freeze up, so there is a lot to do and little time to get it done.



Frosted and then some
September 14, 2014, 8:42 pm
Filed under: Ag education, cold, Corn, Fall, Farm, frost, Minnesota, Soybeans, weather | Tags: , , , , , , ,

So Saturday morning I awoke to frost on the grass and roof, not a big deal, the thermometer said 33.5 degrees.  All of our crops should be alright.100_3031But as I drove in the early morning light I could smell that all was not right.  It seems that some fields got temperatures down well below freezing in our area for several hours.  It was not a pretty sight this afternoon in some area fields.100_3032

Low areas of fields were at least nipped if not frozen.  It takes more than a bit of frost to do the damage you see in this bean field.  The leaves are all gone.  I’m not sure how much of a crop will be gotten out of this.

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Even some area corn fields are showing frozen leaves.  Thankfully this is only in low spots, but it is significant damage none the less.  Neither of these crops were ready for a frost.  We can expect a yield reduction.  Only time will tell how much and who will bear the brunt of this early frost.



30 days: Blogging after the harvest

Wow! I’ve reached day 30 of the 30 day challenge, and I still have things to say!  Today it’s blogging.

Back in 2009 I was at a Minnesota Farm Bureau meeting where we were challenged to get involved in a new thing called Social Media.  Activist groups were taking over this new mode of influence.  Some very nasty things were being said about agriculture and we were challenged to get involved and tell our story.  The thing is, that if you are not involved in setting the table, the next thing you know, you may be on the plate.  The goal is to stop fighting over divisive issues that some are pushing to the forefront.  We are trying to stop the food fight.

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Author Michele Payn-Knoper calls for decorum instead of mayhem in the conversation around farm and food. http://www.causematters.com/farmfoodbook/

I am not your usual blogger.  Most bloggers are younger and female, so a mid-50’s (now 60) male on the blogosphere was a bit unusual.  Yet I did have something to say, and I hoped that with my years of living someone would listen to me.

To get a large enough audience you have to say things people want to hear, share your personal stories and get known.  Then, when they are comfortable with you, you can write opinions that may, or may not be well received.  You also need to be reading, and responding to, other people’s blogs.  A well thought out response may just make someone curious enough to check out what you are saying.

I also think it is important to write carefully.  I am distressed when I read well thought out comments or blogs that are full of spelling and grammar errors.  To be believed, I think you must write like you actually have a few brain cells tied together.  Now I do not write with perfect grammar, but I do hope that I write well enough that my old english teachers would be surprised at my progress.  Back when they knew me, I was a farm kid who had no intention of being a writer.

Today, I am still amazed when people stop me and comment on something I wrote.  To have local people reading my blog is unexpected.  I have had many nice things said about me when I do chance to meet one of my fellow bloggers at a Farm Bureau meeting away from home.  All I can do is say “Aw, Blush, Thank you” when they do.  I have even been asked to comment on agriculture issues and had them reposted or quoted from by bloggers I respect, some of them from very far away.  This is getting to be more than I had ever expected.

This month I have joined other agriculture bloggers in an 30 day challenge to write something every day for 30 days.  I have been pleased to join these folks in this challenge.

30 Days Bloggers

It has been an interesting 30 days for me, and I hope for you also.  I invite you to contact myself or one of these other farm bloggers if you have questions about what is being said about our food.  I can tell you that they will take your concerns about the food you eat seriously.  If we do not know the answer, we can steer you in the correct direction.  So thank you for joining us on this 30 day challenge of blogging.

Michael



30 days: Getting ready for snow after the harvest
November 29, 2013, 8:21 am
Filed under: Fall, Farm, harvest, Minnesota, snow, Tractors, weather, wind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Here in southwestern Minnesota snow in the winter is a given.  We have had years with little snow, but most years have enough snow so you have to be ready for it.  So it’s day 29 of the 30 day challenge, let’s talk snow.100_2527We’ve already had three warning shots of snow.  The snow was beautiful and it melted.  Now the average daily temperature is below freezing and any more snow we will get is less likely to melt.  Lakes are freezing over and the ground has a bit of frozen earth also.  Our next snowfall is likely to last.

I put in the posts for my snow fence before the ground froze, soon I must put the fence up.  There is an art to snow fencing.  A snow fence does not keep the snow out, but stops it from blowing.  The area down wind from the snow fence will develop a pile of snow and less will blow onto areas where you do not want snow.  Notice I said less.  Here on the prairie wind will continue to move snow long after it has fallen.

Also on the list of things to get ready for snow are loader tractors and snow blowers.  I prefer a snow blower to a loader.  A loader tractor leaves a pile that becomes a snow fence, a blower puts that snow into the wind and deposits it far from where it was.images

It’s time to get the tractor hooked up to the blower and have it ready in the shop.  I’m not wanting snow, but when it falls I want to be ready.

So here’s to being prepared for winters worst.

Michael