Harvest season is coming fast!

nelson farms 8At this stage in the year we would like to summarize what we have seen across our farm this growing season. It is a vital part of the engagement we are striving to create in our tenant-landlord relationships for landlords to know what we are seeing across the area and what has been effecting crops this year.

This year we were faced with challenging planting conditions due to several factors but the leading ones were large amounts of residual crop residue in the seed bed and cold soils around planting time. Both led to some emergence issues showing things like poor stands, uneven emergence, and poor crop color. Some of these symptoms led to re-plant to get the stands and emergence we expect while some has been able to make a strong recovery. We were also faced with late frosts that stunned corn and soybean emergence, but were lucky that we did not have to re-plant and it was all able to recover. A lot of the residue issue is being attributed to the lack of winter time precipitation which caused most of the plant material from last year to remain in-tact.

As we worked into the summer we continued to get sufficient rainfall through may and the crop progressed nicely. When we got in to late May, June, and early July we had some conditions for the record books. The month of June went down in the record books as the wettest June in Siouxland history. We saw rainfall amounts from 15 to 30 inches on our farm during that period. As a result we saw a large amount of low land flooding and soil saturation leading to loss of nitrogen through both soil leaching and denitrification (loss of nitrogen as a gas). Between the tougher planting conditions and large amounts of rainfall we started to see some yellow streaking in the corn in places. Over time as we worked our way out of the wet pattern and corn had a chance to root down we started to see the corn regain its color. We are anxious to see how this will effect yield this harvest.

During the month of July we remained dry after the 4th of July holiday which was a nice break from the excessive rainfall. To accompany that we saw temperatures stay lower than usual for highs which helped avoid stress and helped with the pollination process. On irrigated acres we had to make a circle or two towards the end of July as some stress started to set in before it started to rain again. So far August has been a great month for growing a crop. conditions have been great for soybeans as August usually proves to be the crucial soybean yield determining month. Late July/early August were the months for fungicide application also. With the beans we put in insecticide as well to prevent the potential for a soybean aphid infestation which we have been susceptible to in years past.

As we look forward we are looking for a couple things. One we need some heat to help finish this year’s corn crop off. We have been fortunate to receive adequate growing degree days in our area this year to drive corn growth and maturation. It is important for that trend to continue in to harvest to prevent issues with dry down and corn moisture. On the beans it would be nice to catch another shot of rain in august to help us through the last of the reproductive phases and get us through pod-fill. We have started to see minor aphid pressure in the area and hope that our treatment will hold them off. Some of the beans are a little farther behind then normal because of either replant or unfavorable emergence conditions and so we hope to not see an early frost this year as it could have a major bearing on bean yields.

In closing we are excited about the upcoming harvest season and what we can learn from it. On the farm we are doing a lot of prep work on trucks, tractors, combines, bins, hiring, and everything else that is involved with the harvest process. If you are a landlord or farm manager and have not yet accessed your login page please be sure to contact us so we can walk you through that process. So far landlords have access to boundary maps, fertilizer application maps, and planting maps. Very soon you will be able to see maps showing what we sprayed on your farms and after harvest we will post the yield maps so you can see the final results!

Summer Projects begin!

Planting season is now complete and even though we were faced with several challenges this spring like unseasonably cold weather, late frosts, heavy residue on the soil surfaces, and below average rainfall we have finally received some relief with scattered rainfall across our farm and some more seasonable temperatures. Rainfall amounts have varied from a trace to over two inches across all farms. We are looking forward to moving forward with our summertime projects.

Right now we are starting to haul corn.

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June and July are busy corn delivery months this year. We will be hauling our remaining corn to Siouxland Ethanol in Jackson about two miles away from our main bin site. We are also approaching the time of year for post-emerge spraying starting with corn. We will be starting that process very soon. The last couple weeks we have been working on several things including preparing our irrigation systems for the summer season. This summer we will be trying to apply some additional nitrogen to the corn through the pivots. The tractors and planters have been serviced, cleaned up, and stowed away for the season. We have installed our own weather data station to help give us real-time weather data on some of our more far away farms. We have also started doing grounds keeping on many of our farms and fields which will be another job that continues on through the summer. We hope everyone had a safe spring and that the crops continue to progress well!

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Planting is winding down

spring30It has been a relatively early spring this year as far as planting progress goes with the bulk of the corn crop getting in by early may and with bean planting looking to wrap up in the next couple of days. We have faced some unseasonably cold temperatures this spring which have been a cause for concern on emergence and stand early on. As we progress here in the next few weeks it will be interesting to see how everything emerges and what early season stand and health ends up looking like. This spring we were also able to put in a competition corn plot featuring 19 different varieties from Dekalb, Pioneer, Croplan, and Syngenta. We find it important to conduct our own research with land, conditions, and hybrids that are relevant to our operation. This data will be used to help form our 2015 hybrid selections and buying plans. We also have a few other interesting side by side comparisons in the countryside in both corn and soybeans. The extreme winter cold has provided us a nice frost heave and nice mellow soil conditions to plant in to. One of the challenges on the soybean side is the amount of corn residue left over from last year’s corn crop. It has been difficult to cut through and get beans in the ground to provide the seed to soil contact needed for emergence. We have also finished our nitrogen and pre-emergence herbicide application on the corn and pre-emergence herbicide application on the beans as well. We are hoping for strong residual weed control to get us up in to crop canopy to keep the fields free of weeds until a second herbicide application can be made this summer. In the rainfall event that went through last night totals have varied bit, but in the Jackson area we had about .25″ of rain which will be a nice help for emergence. As we look forward heat and timely rains will be the major factors in 2014’s early crop health. spring26spring29

Planting 2014 Has Begun!

spring20Planting 2014 started on Monday April 21st and we are now off and running. We have been making great progress and were able to complete our competition plot on April 23rd. We planted a total of 19 different varieties and will be tracking them throughout the growing season with emergence notes, stand counts, yield checks, and other methods to help guide our seed purchasing decisions for next year. Planning and placement is a important part of choosing hybrids today to maximize yield potential and it all starts an entire year in advance. The ground temperature is still cold but with around .45″ of rain received through the night of April 23rd and a favorable weather outlook ahead we are anxious to keep pressing forward. We wish everyone a safe and happy planting season!


Spreading Fertilizer is Complete!

spring4With the many days of inclement weather getting done fertilizing proved to be a challenge but we are now finished. We faced many days of wind, moisture, or extreme cold. As we get closer to planting time we are taking on several new tasks. This includes taking the spreader off of the sprayer and putting the tank and booms back on, several acres of disking and vertical tillage, clearing of trees and tree piles, preparing all the equipment for planting season and much more. With the winter cold things have been slow around the farm, but we look forward to warmer weather and the start of many spring tasks and a new growing season. Have a safe planting season everyone!