Monthly Archives: May 2014

Attack of the Drones
May23

Attack of the Drones

In our Precision Planting test plot we identified a large amount of cutworm damage.  The field was planted with a research planter without the ability to apply a soil insecticide.  The rest of our corn had an insecticide applied and no damage was found.  Before applying a rescue treatment of insecticide I contacted our plot partners at Precision Planting to make them aware of the problem.  They were actually excited as they are currently doing a lot of testing of unmanned aerial vehicles for crop scouting.  They were at the farm within 30 minutes with three different UAVs to test.  They were looking at different cameras and flight altitude to see if they could pick up and measure the amount of cutworm damage.  Two of the UAVs were quad-copters and one was a fixed wing.  One copter and the fixed wing were totally automated. They took off, flew a predetermined pastern, and landed all on auto pilot using GPS.  The other copter is manually controlled but has a live video feed back to an Android phone mounted on the controller.  I will attempt to post a video of Ethan landing it.  Ethan is a University of Illinois Agriculture student and will be working on […]

South American Group Visits Just a Mere Farm
May20

South American Group Visits Just a Mere Farm

Yesterday, for the third time in four years, we hosted a group of Brazilian farmers that are visiting the U.S.  The group was sponsored by Syngenta.  They were very interested in learning about what technologies and agronomic practices we are using for corn and soybean production here in the Midwest.  It was hard for us to imagine some of the struggles they have to deal with to farm there.  Land and labor is cheaper, but government and financial issues are their biggest hurdles (18.5% interest for operating money).  The growers that visited were from the southern part of Brazil where farms are smaller in size than what we mostly read about.  We polled the growers and came up with an average size between 2000-3000 acres.  They were impressed that our farm, being about that size, operated with so much less labor than they were used to.   As far as the crop goes, we haven’t made it back to the field yet.  We had a frost on Saturday morning but so far it looks like the corn is going to come out of it ok, we should know for sure by tomorrow.  The beans are our biggest concern with the frost but it seems […]

Planting is About to Wrap Up
May13

Planting is About to Wrap Up

The 2014 planting season has been a pleasant change from recent years.  The weather and conditions have been much better than what we have seen in the past three years.  We finished planting all the corn on Monday May 5th.  The last day planting was spent putting in two test plots, one working with Precision Planting using their new technology on a research planter and one working with Soy Capital Ag Services testing corn hybrids, seed treatments, insecticides, and planting rates.  It seemed like it took forever for the first corn we planted to come up.  Conditions were cold and it took more than two weeks in some cases before emergence.  We rotary hoed over 700 acres to make sure it would come up and that, along with some timely showers, have the corn stands looking good.  On Tuesday the 6th we switched the planter and seed tender over to plant beans and got started on Wednesday.  Last night we received about two inches of rain leaving us with 1100 acres of beans planted and 300 to go.  The rain was much needed as overall our moisture levels have barely remained adequate.  As soon as it dries up we’ll be back to planting beans, getting ready to […]