Future egg layers. I bought some baby chicks a couple days ago. Last summer the coyotes caught over half of our hens. Hopefully we shot the culprit last winter while hunting. These chicks are red sex-link pullets. They lay HUGE single yolk eggs when they mature. There also are 6 cornish white chicks for meat.
April 1, March came in like a lamb, went out like a lamb. The warmth goes on.
We continue to have late May/early June weather. Highs in the 80s lows in the upper 50s to low 60s. The wheat is in the pre-boot stage. Some fields are 10-12" high. Man, we are set up either to get frozen out, or having the earliest harvest ever! I'm not going to be ready for either! Talking about ready. Our cows are ready to go to summer pasture! They come in when I feed and start eating, then loose interest, even when I feed good alfalfa. I've been slipping a few out to pasture where we own the ground. There is plenty of grass for them to eat. I still have to wait a whole month to go to most of the leased ground. I'll have trouble leading cattle in to work and haul out this year---they'll not be interested in following hay! Another thing with the weather is spring planting. Do I plant early as the soils are warm and moist, or do I wait until late May when I usually plant. At this point, I'll lean towards earlier, only because of expected early wheat harvest. Also earlier wheat harvest means a better chance to double crop after harvest. We will have to see how this weather will play out. It sure is unusual.
April 4, The heat is off.
Wed morning. I'm sitting here at 8 am. getting ready to head out to feed cattle. It's pouring rain!! I'll type a moment during the rain delay. A cold front wiped out the heat we've been experienceing. Highs yesterday was in the mid 60s. A cut off low is SLOWLEY moving across Oklahoma into southern Kansas. This is how we've recieved our moisture all winter and now again early this spring. When you get on the north side of "stacked" lows that area are efficent rain producers. The moisture is great! Well the rain has let up, I've got to feed and then travel to the Kansas Bull test sale to hopefully buy a bull at noon.
April 5, nice rain.
We recieved 1.65" of rain while I was in Beloit at the bull sale. A very nice rain! It's been cloudy and cool today. There is more rain in the forecast for tormorrow night/Saturday morning. Some time this spring it would nice to get a "runoff" rain which would put some water in the ponds. My work load with working cattle will begin to increase late next week when we begin to process cattle to go to summer pasture. Have a joyous Easter4.
April 22, freedom from feeding cattle.
Yes, the cattle are out to summer pasture. There is more grass now than if it was May 15. We finished working and hauling out Saturday. My old Fort Hays roomie came for 3 days to help us process and haul 150 head of cow pairs. We missed the violent weather a week ago Saturday but got 3" of rain. This filled ponds that were the lowest, especially the rental in Saline county. We have been flirting with frosts a time or two with tonight/morning forecasting 38! The wheat is fully headed and looks like a bumper crop unless freeze or hail damages it. Harvest still looks on track to start around June 1. Jobs to come is getting over spring farm ground with the cultivator, checking cattle, swathing alfalfa in about a week and beginning the musk thistle battle.
May 7, A cool down but no rain.
Last week we had very warm temps (highs in the 90s, lows around 70) but no rain. Pastures are drying out as well as the wheat and alfalfa. We haven't had a rain since the tornado outbreak day, April 14, when we got 3" of rain. A lot of that ran off although it filled ponds for the yrar. Yesterday, a cold front passed through and now we have cool temps (highs in the 70s and lows around 50). I looked at the wheat and the berrys are almost filled---although the heat has taken off some size. Harvest is looking more and more like it will start around May 30!!! The earliest I have ever harvested wheat was arond June 8. So, harvest will be a week earlier than I have ever done. I have been waiting to plant soybeans after a rain falls so to get one more flush of weeds to come up so I can work it out. I may have to just go ahead and plant and get the beans in as well as feed and milo. With harvest due in 3 weeks I would like to get most of the planting and haying done before we roll with the combines. Oh yeah, the musk thistle battle has begun and takes time too.
May 11, wheat is turning color.
The wheat is ripening quickly. Most fields are more yellow than green now. There is a lot of talk about drought cutting into yields. I've seen a lot of fields that have white areas in them as well as diease areas (wheat streak mosaic/rusts). The field "scouts" are talking about pretty good yield reductions, (from 60-70 bu. per actre to 30-40 bu. per acre) due to dryness. It's dry enough that I have curtailed planting soybeans. I'll wait a while and see if we get a rain. It's earlier enough to tarry a bit to see if moisture comes or is forecasted. With an early wheat harvest around the corner, rain may help spring planting but hinder harvest. This spring's weather is really wierd. Back to our wheat yield. It looks like we could still average 40 + even with the dryness. We'll see when cutting starts. I'm beginning to worry about the pasture grass with no rain. Continued dryness will cause some management decisions to be made around mid summer.
May 28, Memorial day, wheat harvest begins.
I did the program at our cemetary in the morning, responded to a wheat field fire after dinner, then tested a field of wheat. This field tested 16.9. I then tested a field higher in altitude and it tested 12.6. Jeremy got grandma's combine and we cut a light semi load before evening. Grandma's combine lost a sprocket, so I'll have to get a new one. Dealer should deliver a grain cart tomorrow which will be nice. Grandma's truck is still awaiting parts so we'll get it later this week. The drought is gripping our area hard now. We missed all the rains lately. My conversation with the National Weather Service this morning included them saying that this May is the 2nd driest in histry. I will not plant any more milo or feed until it rains again. Looks very bad for us.
The twilights last gleaming. Picture of our cemetary's entrance with the flags. I work up a program here every year.
Picture of Jeremy test cutting some upland wheat. This area tested dry.
May 29, second day of harvest.
I got repairs in the morning and we got things ready at noon. My new grain cart arrived while I was eating dinner. I ran the load we cut yesterday to the elevator in Westfall. It tested 12.1 moisture with 58.8 test weight. We cut off the home place today and Jeremy got 4 combine loads of his wheat. We tried the new cart----whow! Grandma's combine broke down on Jeremy's this evening and a tire went out on my semi. Well, back to fixit in the morning.
May 30, third day of harvest.
Not much harvesting happened today. I spent the morning getting two tires on the hopper trailer. Jeremy had a dental appt. and was getting parts in town. I ran to town to get extra parts for grandmas combine. We worked on grandmas combine till 3 pm. Jeremy started cutting while Grandma and I went to Tescott and got her wheat truck which was finally ready from the shop. I got to the field and loaded the truck and headed for the elevator while Jeremy kept cutting. Storm clouds were gathering to the west at this time. I unloaded and was returning to the field when the storm moved in. Lightning started a fire in Jed B. field and our district was paged. Five miles from home grandmas truck died. There was a short somewhears and the cable melted off the battery. Rain started falling, running Jeremy out of the field. He got 3 combine bins full. We got .60" much needed rain.
May 31, fourth day of harvest.
No cutting was done today. It was very cool and breezy all day. The wheat kernals stayed gummy. We got Grandma's wheat truck fixed and worked musk thistle in the afternoon. I actually wore a light jacket most of the day. I'll plant milo tomorrow at least in the morning since there is some moisture in the soil from the rain. We'll check wheat in the afternoon.
June 1, no harvesting today.
It showered/sprinkled all morning. Can't harvest this afternoon due to the dampness.
June 2, no harvesting again.
The sun was out all day but not much breeze. Farmers, including us, tested in the late afternoon but was moist for the most part. I heard of some east of us (where there wasn't as much rain the other day) cut for a few hours. By an hour before sundown, it was tough again. I took the time to get the rest of Grandma's and my milo planted. I also planted a couple of fields of forage sorghum so started on that. Rain is forecasted for tomorrow so may be another day without cutting.
June 3, harvest resumes.
We missed out on the rain the night before as well as Sunday afternoon. Started to cut around 4 pm. Finished one area for Jeremy and moved to his last fields. The first load tested 14+ moisture. Got real tough just before sundown. Discovered the alternator is still not working on my combine as the batterys are dead. Very scary that we missed the precip. even though we're harvesting. This will present major problems in the near future.
June 4, full swing harvest.
We had a fair day harvesting today. We finished Jeremy's fields and moved onto my adjacent field. We cut off this farm and moved onto another farm of mine. Here, we ran into some green wheat so will probably move on to Grandma's fields tomorrow. The green field we quit on was the best yielder yet---possibly yielding over 50 bu. per acre. Tomorrow, if we get G-mas home place done we'll be over half done with harvest. Weather: hot and dry.
We started late today as a fire in a prairie hay field prompted a district 3 page. Also, my combine feeder chain drum went crazy----Jeremy took an hour to fix that. We did cut off Grandma's home place today and I cut on one of my farms late this evening. Still having issues with my combine tonight so will look that over in the light of day. We could finish harvest in 4 days if all went perfect---well, probably not.
June 6, harvest continues.
Finished cutting one of my farms today. Tremendous yeild on this field---50+bu/acre. Moved to Grandma's Saline county fields in the pm and cut around 800bu. Hopefully we'll finish there tomorrow and move back home. Jeremy was sick this am but still adjusted my problem combine. It works lots better today. Weather a little cooler and cloudy today but no rain in sight till Monday.
June 9, harvest is over.
We finished cutting around 3 pm today. The last two days we started to cut by mid morning helping cover more acres speeding us to the finish. We've just had a few "nickle & dime breakdowns slowing progress a little. Also the last 3 days I've hauled to a closer elevator helping speed up things. This evening I have been putting equipment away under sheds. This harvest turned out to be one of the best ever.
Picture taken of our machinery over at Grandma's Saline county ground. New in the picture is a grain cart I purchased at the beginning of harvest.
Picture of Grandma's wheat field in Saline county.
Yields this year were better than usual making for full combine binfulls.
Picture waiting in line to dump a load at Cargil terminal by Salina.
Picture of cracks in the soil due to drought. Now that a great harvest is over we have to deal with reality---too dry to plant into moisture, pastures running out of grass. Please Lord, sent moisture.
June 14, RAIN!
Storms moved in last evening and then it rained lightly most of the night. This morning (15) the rain gauge had 1.65"----a really nice rain.
June 25, Bad heat.
Today is the third day of 100+ temps. It's 103 outside now at 2 pm. An omega block pattern has centered an upper high over northwest Kansas. Spectacular high temps occurred over northwest Kansas yesterday ie. 111 at Hill City! This will all move east over us in the next several days. Today is especially bad as the wind is almost calm. I've reverted to siesta mode. I get up at 5 and work till 1 pm, then nap till 3-4ish and go till 10. Grain markets have exploded as a result of the hotndry. I've sold some wheat earlier but still have some to tap into this $1.00 increase that has happened the last week. If this pattern holds, there is 2-3 dollers per bushel potential in the next couple of weeks. Wild. Crops for us will hold this heat for a week or so then fade fast. Think cool and wet.
July 2, the heat and dry goes on.
Last week ended an insane week of hot temps. Today we might stay under 100 for a high, then 100s all through the rest of the week. We missed an oppertunity for rain Saturday as there was rain all around but not here. I've cut some prarie hay and there is not much there. So, I've started to cut wheat straw to get some "bulk" hay for winter. It's so dry I can't get hay to toughen up to bale well at 6 am. Crops still look pretty well but will start to fail this week. It seems to be the first of August.
July 11, a reprieve from the heat.
The last 3 days has broken the 100 degree heat, thanks to a good cool front that came through last Sunday. The bad things were that we missed the scattered rain that came with the front and that the models show the high pressure moving back in for next week. We are loosing yield on everything we grow fast now. Rain is critical, but not coming. All this forces me to sell my fall born calves early so to save on grass and water for the future. Below are some pictures.
The soybeans are hanging in there, still green, but not for much longer. The forage sorghum in the background is firing it's leaf tips and is about 2 feet tall.
The milo has held it's ground to the dryness but nearing it's end also.
I'm putting up the third cutting of alfalfa. This field won't have much to cut making less bales for winter than last year.
The drought and heat has hit the pasture grass hard. Not much green here anymore.
July 12, sale day.
Due to the drought, I sold my fall born calves a month early to relieve pressure on the pasture grass and water. 60% of my yearly income comes on this day. Cattle prices have dropped lately due to drought making feed grains prices much higher. Still every thing went well and it was a pretty good sale. Some pictures below.
I catch cattle in a couple of pastures the day before I sell them. I'll hold them in an "evening pen that is close to the sorting pen.
These cattle are next to the sorting pen in the evening pasture. On sale day I will walk them in the pen with help from a bag of cubes.
Cattle coming to the "feed call" early on sale day.
One trailer is loaded for the trip to the sale barn. Liz is walking down to the shute while waiting for the next trailer.
Sale time. This is my middle sort of steers in the ring.
Numbers on the weight and price of the middle sort of the steers. Last year this sort weighed 750# average. Drought and selling early has reduced the weight this year. After insane high prices last spring, prices have dropped around .40/lb.
Eisley's first sale barn experience.
July 19, Relentless heat continues.
I was leaving Salina yesterday when I saw the temp. sign on the west side of town. It showed 111 degrees. Today the truck gauge showed 107. Really nasty dryness. The thing about this year is there is no rain. Last year we got some timely rains with the record heat but not this year. Forecast is 7 more days with above 100 temps. Climatology shows that next week is the hottest of the summer and there is some chance of record all time highs could occurr. Most of our spring planted crops are fried, especially beans and alfalfa. The most concern for me will be winter grass and water and feed. We'll have to cull cows really hard---any blemish, wild, fence crawlers will have to go so to ration feed this winter. I went back to swathing wheat straw as the prarie hay yield is around 40% of normal. This weather is really scary.
July 24, Dry times tasks.
One thing that can be accompolished only during dry/drought weather is cleaning out dry ponds and digging new water storage areas. I just finished digging a hole in a usually wet draw that is now dry. When it rains again I will have a small pond here and maybe a fishing hole.
July 25, heat+humidity+front=rain.
I was in Salina getting repairs when I saw the temp gauge----110 degrees! Dew point today was up, 62 degrees. A cool front was approaching from the northwest in the late afternoon. Scattered storms developed and I went on lightning patrol. Several bolts hit in our area but there was just enough shower to wet the dry grass and keep it from burning. Around 8 pm a line of storms moved in, again with wicked lightning. I saw a huge smoke plume to my north (later I found out it was north of Tescott 20 miles north) but no fires were started around home. I just drove around in the rain for 30 minutes enjoying the patter on the pickup. We got .50" at 10 pm.
Aug. 9, finally cooler.
A cold front is moving through central Kansas today. Yesterday was, I think the 33rd day with 100 temps. Today highs will be in the low 90s. We unexpoectedly got .5" rain Tuesday (7th), but you can't tell it now. Looking at the forecast models, the persistent high pressure setting over the central/southern plains all summer, dissappears! I just hope it doesn't come back. It's sad that now we are used to 100 degree temps and keep working outside as it is just another day. At least the nights are cooling down making for a comfortable few sleeping hours.
August 14, the cool continues, blessed rain.
Since the last cool front passed the temps have been decent. Highs just under 90 and lows in the 50-60s. Last night a complex moved out of Colorado into western Kansas. I got up at 3 am because the dog was barking. I looked at the radar, rain was on our doorstep. It rained then quit as I went back to sleep. This morning we awakened to steady light rain aided by a jet streak in the highest levels that moved over us this morning. The gauge showed 3/4" and still raining. This will do tremendous good for remaining crops and pastures as there will be no 100 degree temps to dry the soil back out. I can actually think about planting alfalfa the end of this month, especially if we get one more rain. It feels like late September.
Aug. 26, soaking rains.
The last couple of days we have had some good rains totaling to just over 2". None of the rains came heavy just steady, soaking. I was hoping for some "pond fillers" but this will help in many ways. 1. I can plant alfalfa now as soon as I can get over the fields. 2. Pasture grass will green and grow forage for the cattle to graze this fall. 3.Grass fire danger will diminish as greening occurrs. (We've had numerous fires this summer as well as burn bans). 4. Start laying a base of moisture for winter wheat fields which we will be planting in a month. 5. The moisture will put yield onto soybean/milo crops as well as tonage on alfalfa and forage sorghum. Lots of things to be happy about. Water for cattle is still an issue for us in a couple of months if we don't get more rains/runoff but weatherwise mom nature has taken a step in the right direction.
The drought continues. The creek is still dry. Here is where I pump water for irrigation. This creek has been dry since early June.
My soybeans are turning color. We'll be cutting them and planting wheat at the same time.
The milo is thin due to this summer's drought.
The recent showers has just been enough for the newly planted alfalfa to emerge. We planted 40 acres this fall.
The big problem from the drought is low pond water/dry ponds. We've gotten many showers lately but no heavy storms to get runoff. Cattle water will be a huge problem later this fall/winter.
The recent showers have made the sunflowers bloom suddenly.
We had a front pass with a large temperature drop. 95 for highs to 49 for lows. Large temp swings are hard on cattle. Here I've leg-roped a cow with pneumonia and will give her a shot of antibiotics.
September 26, nice rain, keeping busy.
We got just over an inch of rain last night. Thunder woke me up around 3 am. and a "train" of storms moved over us until 5 am. I'm hoping for repeat preformances tonight and Thursday but after looking at the computer this morning the forecasted rain will just "brush" us. We need more rain to really soak the soil to a deeper depth. I've been busy harvesting milo and baling up forage sorghum. The semi load of milo I took to the elevator yesterday tested 13.7 moisture and 60+ #/bu. Yield looks to be around 50 bu/acre. I traded up in combines and am learning to operate the newer one while cutting the one dry milo patch. We've had some "teething pains" with this newer used combine but it seems to be pretty solid. The forage sorghum I've been working on turned out very productive! I got most of it baled yesterday. The tonnage gained will bootstrap our cattle feed to the point of making it through a "normal" winter's feeding. We'll move some cattle around the next few days, then start planting wheat Oct. 1. I'm pretty well done calving fall heifers and the old cows will start calving the first week of Oct. Soybeans will be ready to harvest in about one more week. I think October is the busiest month on the farm for us. We just need "back to back" rains to start denting the drought. The .60"/1.0" rains we recieved in the past last only a week then we're back to bone dry soils. We need some runoff to put water in our ponds.
Oct. 3, planting wheat.
I put in the first full afternoon planting wheat yesterday. It showered the day before (monday)so couldn't plant due to stickyness. I got in all my no-till planted as well as one convential field. We'll move to grandma's Saline county fields today, spreading fertilizer then cultivating and planting. Our "old" cows started calving a couple of days ago so make a calf check run every other morning.
A bad day at the office. I was raking hay in Saline county when I hit a super big badger hole and took out the front end of the tractor. Luckily when swathing, I straddled the hole and covered it with the wind row. I had finished the field and was looking back as I was lifting the rake wheels to go home. Luckily again, I was sitting down when this happened. I usually like to stand while on the open tractor as it is easier on my knees and hips and would have been thrown off.
This picture doesn't show the hole I hit very well. It is about 20" in diameter and around 14" deep.
Planting wheat over at grandma's Saline county ground.
October 14, more rain.
Yesterday, we got more than 1.5" of rain with 1" of the total came hard, in 15 minutes. This is the first driving rain we've had this summer/fall. This morning, I checked the creek and found it running at an almost normal flow rate! We are 2/3 done with wheat planting now and all the soybeans are harvested. We will switch to cattle mode as I will sell spring born calves the next two Thursdays and we are getting into full swing fall calving. We'll also try to cut milo as the forecast is for warm and dry. The freeze on the 7th killed the milo but did not freeze-dry the green heads so I think we'll fight high moisture in the milo for a while. Anyway, our top soil moisture is a little better now.
October 26, busy---drought continues.
Yesterday we sold grandma's spring born calves. The weather was windy and very chilly. We sold out of four pastures and the calves sold very well! We sold my calves last week and did well on price also. Over all prices on average, steers and heifers combined, was $1.50/ lb. We both sold more calves ie.(smaller in size) than usual due to our water supply still shrinking. We will cull cows harder for the same reason. Last week the weather was hot at times and dry. Now, temps have cooled to below normal but still dry. I finished planting wheat last weekend and have some topsoil moisture to get it all up, but no subsoil moisture. I tested a couple of milo fields last week. The early planted milo was dry, while the late planted was wet. One more freeze will knock out the moisture in the heads and we can finish the rest of the milo harvest. The next week we will be concentrating on cattle moves off of leased ground to winter pastures. Water supply is getting pinched and will be a winter/spring issue of great magnitude.
Nov. 3, in the middle of buay.
I've been working to get all the cattle moves done, ie. move cattle to winter pastures. This all takes time as we have several small pastures to move out of. Also we've helped the neighbors move and sell their cattle the last couple of days. They helped us when we sold our calves---so it works well to help each other. Jeremy is about done cutting his milo. It was very dissapointing as he needed 2 more weeks of no frost for his milo to mature. We have one more field of grandma's milo to do and we're done with fall harvest. The weather, for the most part has been warm and dry. This has helped all the wheat to emerge. It has also kept the grass in the ditches---GREEN! The cattle are already testing the fences for this green treasure. I also used the warm days to irrigate some alfalfa and fill a pond that will water my fall calving herd. With the leaves off the trees the creek is running well now so I could irrigate. I'm really getting bugged about the drought. The ponds keep getting lower and some are the same as dry. As I haul cattle to winter pastures, I wonder what the spring/summer will be like. Will there be grass? Will there be water? What will I do if there's none?
Nov. 10, big rain.
We recieved 2.5" of rain last evening along with some heavy amounts of small hail. This picture shows some of my water soaked bales which is bad but we needed the rain more! Ponds recieved some really needed water.
Lightweight workhorse. I purchased a Ranger last summer to help take extra miles off my pickup. It works well checking and driving cattle. It gets in and out of tight places where I'm working. Liz shot this pic of me bringing up a load of fire wood.
Great sunset this evening.
December 2, firearms deer season and coyotes.
Deer season started last Wed. (Nov. 28)and continues through next weekend. Before we sighted in the rifles for deer, we had our family coyote hunt the Sat. after Thanksgiving. Coyotes have been a problem this year. First, a old coyote was sneaking up in the yard and catching my young chickens. I "dusted" that one with the rifle twice before it decided rabbits/turkeys were safer prey. Then during fall calving, I had two baby calves tails eaten off as well as a hole eaten into the back end of one calf. We'd see coyotes every day we were checking cattle. So it was highly anticipated when we had our all day hunt. It was a doozy! We hunted on our land as well as several cousin's land. We saw 19 coyotes and killed 9! On our first day of deer season we saw 11 coyotes! Our deer sucess after 5 days of hunting is as follows. Nephew Matt shot one of the best bucks as well as Jeremy's friend, Brian. Jeremy got an "average" racked buck and I got my small racked "meat" buck. Brother in law Gary got a smaller buck, and our Fort Riley friend got a "basket" buck and a doe. We have discovered that there are not as many deer around as usual. This, I think, is because we've taken more does in the past few years to try to reduce the overall population and the second year of drought reducing cover for the fawns so the coyotes are picking them up. Anyway we are about limited out on deer although a few friends will show up to hunt the last week of season. We'll take another last "crack" at the coyotes New Years Day.
Picture of some of the happy hunters at the end of our all day coyote hunt. We'll do it all again New Years Day.
Picture of Matt and Jeremy finishing up cleaning Matt's buck deer. The bare spots and scratches on the deer's body shows this buck was fighting other bucks for supremacy of the area. Also one of the upright tines was broken off, probably after a fight.
Picture of Jeremy and a coyote he shot while deer hunting. My two dogs are staying close as no doubt they are recalling coyote chases/battles in the past.
Picture of my buck. This was one of the warmest deer seasons temp wise we've had for a long time. Shirt sleeve weather almost. I"ve already shed my orange hat and coat.
Dec. 19, snow.
The forecast was for snow to start after dark here in central Kansas with strong winds coming with the snow. I was in Salina all afternoon and ran into snow coming home at 8:30. Now at 9:30 the grassy area are white. Forecast is there for another winter storm for around Christmas day. Looking foreward for a house full of kids and grandkids at Christmas.
we got around 2" of snow from the storm.
Grandkids are here for Christmas. Lizzy is showing her snowman from the melting snow by the house.
Grandma and the grandkids watching thhe new sewing machine sew.