Wheat just west of Salina is really close to cutting except for the constant rain of late. Pic was taken back at the beginning of the month.
June 19, Harvest starts.
I tested a field of Grandma's and it was 12.3 moisture. I went ahead cut off that field and moved to another. The wheat is bad, (very short and thin) yielding around 20 bu/acre. These fields are poorer fertility so drier moisture in the grain.
June 20, second day of harvest---trouble looms fast.
This morning, I went to town to get repairs because Grandma's combine was acting up. Jeremy worked on it and attached the header. After that he drove to the field to test a new field when the engine blew up. So, we are down to my machine to cut this harvest. I got home at noon and started cutting. I cut off all of Grandma's home place except one field. I then tried a field of Jeremy's rental. It was too green. With afternoon highs in the middle 90s it will only take a couple of more days before all wheat is ripe. Wherever there is winter kill causing thin stands, there is where the wheat is green and weeds are growing lustily. Most fields I'm fighting mud yet but that will change as we go without rain. Our milo/feed ground is drying out so I can get back to planting. Oh, also the wheat truck had a flat tire so we can't haul tomorrow until it's fixed. It will be hunt and cut for a couple of days until all fields are ripe. Yields also will improve somewhat as we get into better fields.
June 21, hurry up and wait, nothing much happening.
I couldn't haul to the elevator until the tire was fixed on the wheat truck. I started to haul around 10 am. At the elevator, I got in the SLOW lane 1 out of two loads. Jeremy stacked hay and fixed a bent pulley on my combine. At 1:45, I was able to start cutting. The field I was in had dry grain but short per the year. There was lots of cheat grass( much to my dismay) and it was green so I shut down the grain sieve to get clean grain into the holding bin on the combine ie dry grain. Doing this overloaded the return elevator (with all the green cheat seed) and I kept slugging it. Finally, the clutch on the return broke. Jeremy came and he disassembled it and I dashed to Salina to get a replacement 3 minutes before the store closed. The two pieces the size of my fist cost $400----certainly they were made of gold or silver. I got going again and had no futher trouble in that field. I tested another field with some "good" wheat in it and it was 11 moisture. I cut out the low places in case of rain and found tons of joint grass in it which put lots of trash in the combine bin. There was also lots of green wheat in this field and I think I was throwing this grain over and back out the back of the combine instead of in the bin. I took the afternoon's load to the elevator and it tested dry (surprise) but due to trash with the grain only 57# test weight. The wheat is so short we have to take in all the bad stuff to get the good and the machine is not set yet to sort all this out. What a freaking day! I work all day and only cut one load. GREAT efficiency. GREAT return on one's time. Harvest started out bad and has not changed.
June 22, showered out.
I skipped church this morning so to get some mechanical things done I haven't had time for yet. I started cutting around 12 noon on my best yielding patch. I skipped the upper 2/5 as it was weedy and green. I kept adjusting the combine as it still was slugging the return. Finally, at around 3 pm., I got it set better. Storms were brewing to our north as I finished this field and Jeremy took the combine to his best field. I hauled a semi load to the elevator and the moisture test was 13.3, indicating both green grain and some green weeds in the bin. Most of our fields have green heads in areas but the majority is dry enough to counter the green by just enough. At around 6 pm. a shower ran Jeremy out of the field he was in. He almost got his best field cut. All in all, not a bad day. We'll see how much more rain we might get during the night as more is predicted.
June 23, rained out.
We got .90" rain during the night so no cutting today.
Since we have had excessive rains lately, suddenly millions of mosquitos have appeared. One only has to get out of the truck in the field especially in the evening and they swarm you. Not used to this as we've had dryness 3 1/2 years out of 5. PS. they are always hungry.
June 24, clouds + light winds = no harvesting today.
June 25, harvest starts late.
It finally dried out enough to till fields today. Temps were in the high 80s with a strong breeze. I started planting forage sorghum today then had some commitments in Salina in the evening. Very late in the afternoon I saw combines cutting. Jeremy cut some on his but I don't know how much he got done. At 11 pm. storms were on the move towards us from northwest Kansas.
June 26, rained out.
The sprayers came early this morning to spray milo ground. Storms festered all night west of us and moved in at mid morning. I got one field planted before the rain came. Again, no wheat cutting today. Forecast of off and on rain clear through the weekend to July 4. I may only post when we cut and save time on the computer.
June 27, no cutting.
It stayed cloudy and windy for the most part today. I still got a lot done elsewhere. I finished planting milo and all the feed ground for Grandma. Our neighbor cut this afternoon and tested 16 and 15%. It was the first time the cutters could come so he cut. He had excellent wheat that yielded in the 60s! He planted it in Late Sept and established a good stand before winter and had no winter kill. Good for him for hitting the home run. Radar shows a large area of storms in western/northwestern Kansas. We'll be getting this before morning I'm afraid.
June 28, 1" of rain during the night and morning= no cutting today.
June 30, some cutting.
For the first time in about a week, no rain fell this morning. The sun shone and the wind blew and the humidity was excessive. Around 4:30 pm. Jeremy and I looked for a place to cut. Where we had the combine parked in the field we drove the pickup and bottomed out in the mud. I then tried a field I had no-tilled into soybean stubble---it was more solid so we moved over and began cutting. I cut off this field and the load tested 11.3 moisture. Jeremy tried one of his other fields and had some mud but lots of weeds which ended up wetting the grain in the bin. He cut a couple of bin loads before dark. A cold front shifted winds to the north in the afternoon and storms developed way south of us. So I thought we were ok for rain but at 1:30 am. its raining. Freaking raining!!!
July 3, harvest update.
Due to recent rains and a cold front passage, the dew doesn't burn off until after noon. We don't start cutting until 2-3 pm. Jeremy finished his wheat last evening, (yeah) and moved to my seed wheat field. He fought weeds in his and the moisture was around 14 give or take. Many farmers are having to spray fields to get rid of the green. You wait 7 days after spraying till you can cut so harvest is at least 8 more days. This will be the latest harvest ever for me to do. The mornings we spend planting forage feed and a lot of alfalfa is ready to cut. Hot and dry is forecast with small chances of rain.
July 3,good wheat-bad wheat.
I cut my seed wheat field this morning and it was good. I then had Dr. procedure in Salina in the afternoon, then started cutting around 5 pm. I cut off my home place and another farm where I didn't spray for weeds. The weeds and grass are really taking over. Don't know how much longer I can cut until the weeds take over. A classic good field bad field with not many good fields left and lots of bad ones.
Picture of a good field---my seed wheat. Notice how clean the field is (no weeds just wheat standing). A joy to cut this year.
Clean wheat = bigger yields, easier to cut also.
This field had some mud in it though.
Picture of bad wheat field choked with weedy grass. This makes the combine work harder and puts more moisture in the bin and wheat kernels out the back of the combine on the ground.
The wet conditions are good for spring planted crops. Here is a field of soybeans as I was heading for the next wheat field.
July 4, harvest on the downhill side.
I planted feed on Jeremy's this morning and cut wheat all afternoon. I finished one of my farms and moved to my last farm. We still have to backtrack to some fields that were sprayed but I can see the end is nearing. We'll move to Grandma's Saline co. ground tomorrow then move back and finish up after cutting her out. PS. I see a large area of rain in northwest Kansas tonight and it's moving east.
It did not rain last night or this morning. Jeremy moved to Saline county farm and got it cut off, (YEAH). I swathed alfalfa and planted forage sorghum and hauled two loads of wheat to the elevator.
Jeremy finished Grandma's home field after church this evening. All that is left is my 20 acre field and some spray fields I can't move onto until after Tuesday.
July 7,harvest down to the sprayed fields.
I finished cutting my last farm this afternoon in between baling hay. For having hay down and 3 days of near 100 degrees it's not drying much. I may have raked it too early when there was lots of dew this morning. Back to harvest, I have 20 acres of sprayed fields left to cut. Tomorrow is the first day I'm allowed to cut after spraying the weeds.
July 9, harvest is over!
Jeremy finished up my last sprayed field this evening so harvest is over. I cut around 60% less wheat this year than last year when we had the best yield ever. This was a year to remember (forget) with poor yields and the latest I've ever cut wheat in my career. I finished planting forage sorghum this afternoon as well as baling hay. Tonight there are lots of storms in Nebraska
moving south. We need this rain to keep spring crops going so hope we get bulls-eyed. Work to do is alfalfa hay--prairie hay and working wheat ground. I will be selling fall calves the end of the month then a week's vacation in August.
July 25, July weather.
We've gone from cool and wet to hot and dry weather. At 1 pm. temp is 101 with a dew of 65. We have had no rain for 3+ weeks. The spring planted crops are hanging on but stressed now. Activities are HAYING and working wheat ground. I dinged my swather a week ago and we just put it back together yesterday. So we're behind haying big time and trying to catch up. Hot and dry works for now but we need a rain bad. We will be selling our fall born calves next week then maybe some vacation time.
July 31, calf sale in Salina.
We sold 91 fall born calves at the Salina sale barn. I knew prices were up, but was not prepared for what we got for our calves. Again, for you non-farm people, we receive 60% of our yearly income on this sale day. A couple of pics I snapped at the sale below.
One sort of steers leaving the sale ring.
Liz and I flew to Martha's Vineyard for a week's vacation. We mostly worked on our property but took time to eat well and explored some too. I got to meet the people close to Liz's family there as well as others. It is nice to know that there still are good people everywhere in this country. Martha's Vineyard had 18,000 permanent residents but during summer season there is/was over 100,000 people on the island. What blows my mind is the fact that you could drive down town at any town, park, and leave your car unlocked with windows down and no one steals anything. Houses are left unlocked too. The traffic was crowded but people were polite for the most part driving. Boston traffic was a nightmare though. Even though we were busy, I was for the most part able to empty my head from farming. This was my first real vacation in a long time. Many pictures below.
Getting ready to leave Wood's Hole on the ferry.
Picture of a sail boat we passed while riding the ferry to the island.
Working on the roof of the house.
They have sunflowers on the Vineyard too.
Another thing that blows my mind on the island is the power lines run through trees there. We could not get away doing that here on the plains.
Home at the Vineyard.
Picture of the beach by Oak Bluffs where we explored and ate dinner.
Pretty park next to the beach at Oak Bluffs. In the background were houses that first belonged to the local ship captains (whaling ships during the 1800s). Now they are mostly rented out to tourists for the summer.
The neighbors next to us were fishermen per their trade. Picture of a shark they caught, (over 100#) that had been cut up for steaks. They gave us two steaks and it was VERY tasty! Never thought I'd eat shark.
Exploring the beach at Menemsha.
Exploring a lighthouse at one end of the island.
Leaving the island on the way home.
I was driving down the road when I saw the moon's reflection on the pond. I beat it home and returned but too late for the reflection to be in the middle of the water.
August 9, crop saving rain.
Getting home from vacation was hard as I could see the effects of the heat and dryness on pastures and crops. Then we got 1.4" of rain Saturday night as storms moved through. What a relief!
August 18, more rain and heat.
We got two different rains this last week. The first was .25" then we got .50" last night. Very nice for the crops but the higher humidity with the heat really makes one sweat.
I haven't been feeling well the last two weeks. Now, I'm on anti-biotics for my stomach. Between the pills and a low red cell count I've lost my energy. Last Sat. am.(13th), we had a light frost from a strong cold surge from Canada. Don't think it hurt the crops as a lot of milo needs more time to fill heads. Potential big grain crops await fall harvest. Pictures below.
Jeremy's milo. Some of the heads need a little more fill.
Picture of Grandma's milo. Of course, I will show the best fields.
I have been waiting for some warm/dry weather to swath forage sorghum for baling. Even though there are 2to3 chances for rain, I had a fit and swathed one field and hope to duck the rain chances. These rows will take a long time to dry out.
As soon as I swathed the field, these clouds appeared!
I was checking fields and pastures this afternoon. I snapped a pic. of some of my best milo. This was planted on 15" rows at around 8# seed per acre.
I checked my 3 week old alfalfa. I seems to be big enough to make it through the winter now.
Sept. 22, a needed rain.
We got around .75" of rain this night next morning. Really needed this for the wheat ground which was getting dry on top. Also there should be another flush of weedy grasses (cheat) come up I can cultivate out before I plant wheat. Got my seed wheat cleaned so will be ready to go as soon as the soil dries out. Outlook is dry now into next week so I can plant and do alfalfa as I swathed two fields today.
Sept. 29, some wheat in, harvest nears.
We've planted wheat on two farms so far. I'm planting earlier because of getting burned planting late last year. A couple of milo fields are around a week from harvest although there are green "sucker heads" all over the fields. Soybeans have dropped around 50% of their leaves so far so may be ready in just over 1 week. Forecast is for rain tomorrow and Wednesday. A inch rain would not hurt much as we missed the "deluge" around Salina last week. The severe forecast would hurt if it comes to pass---hail and wind would not be good for the fall crops.
October 13, every thing is on hold due to rain.
We have had rain Friday (Oct. 10) and again last night this morning (Oct. 13). All total is around 1 inch precip. Wheat planting is 2/3 done and I cut a semi load of milo last week (13.8% moisture). Prognosis is for clear and warming the rest of the week. Don't know where to start once the fields dry out as soy beans and wheat planting can happen as well as fall calving is full bore. We're getting around 3 calves per day so I check pastures every 2-3 days. Looming is two calf sales at the end of the month where we sell our spring born calves. Also Jeremy and I have forage sorghum cut and in the wind row. The rains are not helping that. I gripe at the rain but we are not wet very deep (sub soil) as we've done some digging and have little moisture below 6" in places. Usually we get our killing freeze around this time but have had one light frost. We might reach Oct. 20 or later with the first freeze now and that gives us more growth for alfalfa and pasture grass. October is a very busy time for us.
Drill parked in the yard waiting for the mud to dry.
Fall is here. I snapped this picture while checking for new calves in the pasture. The sumac is very red. First fall colors.
October 21, great weather week.
The weather has been warm and dry. Perfect for all types of field work. There is so much to do that I'm always using the priority card (drill wheat---cut soybeans, bale sorghum, swath more sorghum or check cows,) whatever seems most important at the time. The day after tomorrow we sell Grandma's spring born calves then mine next Tue. A couple of days either side of the 31, we'll move cattle off leased pasture. So, farming will defer to cattle. All the wheat is planted now except double crop soybean ground. I'm 2/3 done with my beans so will soon be able to finish drilling wheat. Our milo is mostly green yet so will defer it into November. Forecast is for a chance of rain tomorrow night but temps stay in the low 80s until next week where there is a cool down. We haven't had a killing freeze yet which is overdue. I'm beginning to think that the winter is going to be milder than the cold of last year---unlike most people who say there is going to be a cold winter this year. We'll see, but if the last week's warmness continue, It's looking better for the winter. Although the daylight hours are noticeably shorter we are getting a lot done.
Nov. 2, flat tires.
I was feeding cattle before church when the front tire went flat. Sat, I used Grandma's header trailer to move my combine to Saline Co. (my header trailer had a flat) and the front tire blew yards before getting into the field---the tire was already trashed so I went on. I can't dump the grain cart or the combine load as the grain hauling truck had both rear tires flat and it's the weekend---so no tire repair places open that I use. Last evening I took off my header trailer tire to be fixed Mon. looking at my big tractor I see the front tire on it is flat! I don't know what my tire repair person will do when we pull up with a pickup load of tires. As to the weather, we finally had a killing freeze and some scant moisture is progged today. Seasonally cool weather is forecast this week with the American model showing a cold intrusion (artic) next week.
November 6,cutting milo
The weather remains dry and seasonal. We've been helping the neighbors move their cattle as well as continuing to move our cattle to winter pasture. When not moving cattle we've been harvesting and haying. A couple of days ago I finished planting wheat so that's done. The cold forecast for next week seems certain. As of tonight I've just about wrapped up milo harvest for me. Jeremy and Grandma have some patches of later planted milo that is just nearing the ready mark. Our wheat looks good but the early planted has a lot of weedy grasses in it. I snapped some pictures this evening while cutting milo.
While taking fuel to the combine, I snapped this picture of my wheat on the "home place". Lots better than last year.
Cutting milo during late evening. I miss-set the drill and planted too much seed per acre. The fall crops had a dry start, then wet through June, July, first of August was deadly dry and some wetness from mid August through Sept. I'm thankful for what yield I got.
I baled some of the early cut milo stalks. They help stretch my cattle feeding hay.
Dumping a bin full of milo after sunset while Grandma's heifers watch.
Nov. 12, brutal cold + earthquake.
The well advertised cold front arrived Monday night. Today the wind let up some but the temp. stayed in the low 20s. Tonight, the low is supposed to be 12. Again, it is very dry. Snow is forecasted for Saturday (maybe 2") and temps are to remain at or below freezing for the next 6 days. I tried to bale sorghum hay for Jeremy but it shattered the leaves. I also got 5 new calves born since Monday eve. and two more came today. All is ok with them but maybe frosted ears. Normally, I am wrapping up calving but I had a bull injure himself last winter and that bunch of cows are calving 3 weeks later (now). Around 3:40 this afternoon a earthquake was felt in the area. Jeremy said Meghan called and said the pictures shook on the wall of their house for 30 seconds. I was raking sorghum, bouncing along and wouldn't felt a 9.0 quake if it happened. Still, it was big news for our area.
Tue Nov. 18, a warm day.
The temp. soared to 52 this afternoon surpassing the forecast of mid-upper 30s. For 8 days we broke 30 twice and then, just barely. This morning's low was 7 which was a record maker in places. Saturday, we received two bouts of light snow---just a dusting, and it's all gone now. Forecast is for bouts of light precip. with "normal" temps into next week. I got some of Grandma's cows moved and started to cut the last milo patch in Saline county. Much easier to do when it's warm.
Nov. 25, Getting into the winter mode.
We've finished milo harvest and moving cattle to winter pasture. Now, it's basically feeding cows and cutting fire wood. I've been doing some fixing lately (I hadn't planned on) and soon we'll do tax planning for year's end. Coming up, we will have our family coyote hunt as well as the family deer hunt which should be fun. I had an "episode" with my stomach last weekend and the Dr. put some good drugs to combat it and that helped greatly. I'm really tired as a result and easily fatigued with hard work. It's 8 pm. and I am ready for bed already. The weather has turned seasonable temp wise and there are periodic fronts passing through making for "choppy" (minor changeable) weather. This is what I think the winter will be like--- average with a cold or warm snap once a month.
Dec. 12,cloudy for the firearms deer season.
The past week has been cloudy but mild for December. We've been doing end of year tax planning/moves as well as feeding cattle and doing a little deer hunting. We found after a few days of hunting, the deer were laying tight in the pastures. As of today, we haven't scored on any deer. Then Jeremy bellied up on a buck in the pasture and took him with a large caliber pistol. So far I've shot at two bucks and missed. Picture of Jeremy's buck below.
Dec. 23, preparing for Christmas.
Got some last minute shopping done in Salina around having a hydraulic hose fixed. The weather was light rain/snow mix with the temp of 38. A little over a week ago we had 3" of snow. That melted quickly and the temp hit 50 one day. Now, the forecast is colder and dryer, maybe a lot colder as we move into the new year. I've been busy shopping for grandma for farm equipment since the congress FINALLY passed the bill for invest-credit. This has kept me from doing Christmas shopping, thus my trip today. Instead of buying much new/used equipment, I have bought fertilizer, cattle feed, tires for equipment, repairs for my trucks and having my big tractor gone through at the dealership. Income taxes are the biggest I've ever have had to pay as cattle prices were insane plus I carried income over from last year which was good too. Anyway, now a time to relax as family comes in the 25. When the weather lets me next year, my projects are building a 1/2 mile of fence with my neighbor, rebuilding grandmas corral, and shearing cedar trees in 3 pastures. On a sad note, I had to put my old dog, Pinky, down as his back and hips gave out and he couldn't walk. Hard to say good by to a companion of 12 years. I'll be back in mid January.