Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to all !

December has just flown by.  It can't be Christmas already! So what have we done since I last wrote on here?

I mentioned back in September making some hard decisions and that I sold the F-550 flatbed.
Since then I sold the gooseneck trailer we used with it.
Then I bought a Fruehauf lowboy to pull with the semi
We made fenders for the semi tractors, then I too the low boy to a few miles north of Danville, Indiana and picked up a tractor we bought.  I found a 966 with a 2 point hitch, about as clean and perfect a used tractor as you can find.
 It came with a Bush Hog loader on it.  Aman put that on his 1086
I have the old Allis for sale
Along with the 3010
They are both great tractors with some history and sentiment involved, but the 966 will do everything they can and a little more.  And we can reduce our filter inventory quite a bit. We now have the bean planter in the shop, going through it. 
And other projects are on the white board.  I'm back playing with propane again.  Wabash Valley was needing someone part time and I don't have any corn to haul this winter.  I'm there 3 days a week unless they don't need me or I need to be someplace else for the farm. So that is a quick summary of our month

Friday, November 30, 2012

End of harvest 2012

 This is the one we were looking for, taking the head off the combine for the last time in 2012.

I'll be honest, there were times when I didn't know if we would get done or just give up for the year.  But about 3:30 PM November 29, 2012 we finished harvest for the year.

2012 Harvest started May 30 with wheat. Six months later November 29 we finished grain sorghum.  How did it yield?

How 'bout them Cubs?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Conner ... er Winger ... er Dolson ... house

Places tend to get named around here.  For instance the house at 604 East Union to me is Rush Dolson's old house. To others it is Jim or Cindy Winger's or John or Cindy Conner's house.  Anyway, now it is history.  We got the property with the plan to make an access driveway to our field behind it.  Here are a few interesting photos.

From about 1976:
Summer 2012
Thanksgiving 2012
If you look closely you can see the concrete where Cindy's new addition was between where the photo was taken and the excavator.  I probably should have just taken out all the trees and made a field out of it, but I've probably gone way over budget getting it to this point.  And I haven't filled out any "Sodbuster" forms at the Farm Service Agency.

It's still a nice building site.  There are 2-3 really nice young oak trees, some cedars, lots of other trees still around.  It could become a large home site, a trailer court for several trailers, a place for a tool shed or seed warehouse, lots of possibilities.  And if you notice right in the middle of the bottom photo we have our entrance into the field.

We had planned to leave the old garage but it mysteriously caught fire.  I was at home doing paperwork (hadn't even been outside that morning) when one of my younger firefighters called.
"Ummm .... is that old garage where you took out the house supposed to be on fire?"
"Well, no, but if it is we're not going to try saving it."
By the time Aman and I got from my house to there it was fully involved.
Must have been those oily rags in the corner.  We're sure it wasn't arson, because it wasn't worth $150 as it was.

Robert said when he came over the hill the smoke was the same color as a burning track hoe. It was a bit disappointing, because there were two little persimmon trees just south of it I planned on saving.  The heat from the fire did enough damage we went ahead and removed a half dozen trees close to it we had not planned on taking out.  We are hoping that little oak tree in front of it didn't suffer any damage.  3-4 trees just south of it were smoking by the time the building collapsed.

Now for the real work, picking up sticks, sprouts, roots, leveling ... maybe it will snow tomorrow.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Did something this morning I haven't done since May 30

I have been a regular on the AgTalk+ blog pages. In fact, I lead the list in number of entries there. My May 30 entry was my number 99.

I paused to ponder on something special for #100 and the spam postings, advertising posts, and non-blog entries ( things that are good questions someplace like Machinery Talk) just kind of blew up.  I decided to hold off on # 100 until I was happy with the blog site again.

I'm not sure I am happy, but it's time to reclaim the AgTalk+ Blog pages.  Funacres (John Jones from Lubbock, Texas) made a post he says will develop into a series of several blog entries over the next few weeks.  I'm going to commit myself to something similar. So I wrote number 100 this morning.  I encourage others to join in.  Write, comment, just set back and read.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

So what did you do today ?

Sometimes you don't want to ask that question.  I might tell you.  If I say Stirator
that is enough explanation for a lot of people.  But maybe you haven't been blessed with working in one so here is the procedure:

Oh, normally this is done in a bin with corn drying, about 110 degrees F and 140% humidity.  Don't tell me that isn't possible until you've been in one.

1. Climb up grain bin, open man hole, put in hanging ladder, turn off Stirator.

2. Climb down ladder, remove ladder, carry across bin to Stirator and hang from track.

3 Climb ladder, adjust part.

4. Climb down ladder, remove ladder, carry across bin and hang from man hole.

5. Climb ladder, turn on Stirator, observe did not fix problem, turn off Stirator, climb down ladder and repeat step 2, 3, 4, 5, and 2 again.

6. Remove part, decide to borrow one from another Stirator, repeat step 4 then climb out of and down bin.

7. Get Gramp's old long wooden ladder from shed, carry to next bin, open, put up in wall, climb, tie to Stirator rail so ladder doesn't slide to the floor with you on it, examine Stirator (OK, could be several steps)

8. Realize this one has been upgraded and does not even have THAT part on it.

9. Reverse step 7.

10. Go to other bin, repeat step 1.

11. Repeat step 8 (Realize this one has been upgraded and does not even have THAT part on it either ) and reverse step 1.

12. Go to Mom's. get 25 ft ladder from shed and repeat step 7 with it

13. Remove part, climb down, take to original location, repeat 1, 2, 3 (except replace instead of adjust), 4, and .... most of 5.  It was a later model and was slightly, ever so slightly different.  So you remove the replacement part, reverse step 1,.

Here is the one I borrowed and the one needing repaired:

14. Go eat lunch.

15. Repair and modify old part, reinstall, test, pray and leave. (Yes, that did involve 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 again.  I'm tired just writing them.)

It isn't hard work.  It isn't difficult work.  But it does try on you just a little.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Watching the tractor plant wheat

For many years I was the wheat drill operator. Even during the time I had a full time career off-farm I usually took a few days and ran the drill.

To be honest I dreaded planting wheat.  You started early, worked late, ate dust all day and coughed it back up all night. You started the day wearing insulated coveralls, but by afternoon were down to a t-shirt and by the time you came in you were in the coveralls again.  If you worked hard you planted 90 acres in a day.
You were pulling a drill instead of the planter in that photo, but it was the same tractor and the drill was the same width. I was planting wheat Thursday thinking about how things have changed.
Now we are pulling a drill 30 feet wide that folds for transport to tractor width.  And the tractor not only knows where it is and where it should be, it steers itself to that point
So you turn the end, play George Jetson (push the button)
and set back and talk on the phone or answer text messages.  Oh and start late, plant that 90 acres and be done by 6 PM.

Way too easy.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I think there is a problem


We're up here at ____. (A neighbor)'s irrigator engine is running and it looks like the end tower is upside down."

"I'll be there in a minute."

I find just what was described to me, an irrigator in a harvested field being ran dry to park. Except the last tower which is now a long way from the road is upside down.

Cell phone 1  ...  no answer, went to voicemail

House phone 1 ... no answer (may have been an answering machine.  If so I didn't leave a message)

House phone 2 ... no answer

Hose phone 3 ... answering machine.  Leave message or if emergency call (cell phone 2) or (cell phone 3)

Cell phone 3 ... went to voicemail

Cell phone 4 ... "Hello?"

"Hey, I'm at  ____ and the engine is running but it looks like the last tower is down."

" ...............  Ummmm ... Could you turn it off for me?"

I probably should have just done that to start with.   Curiosity go the best of me so I ventured out across the field in my pickup to find this
(It's really a better photo than I expected, as it was just at sundown with a cell phone camera)  Obviously a safety failed, but I didn't see any other problems ... well, except for that one little thing.

This is why I put contact numbers on all our irrigator pivot control boxes.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Hard decisions

One of the things this year has forced me to do is look closer at some of my decisions. Did I do that correctly?  Was this the thing to do?  How can I do better?

I made a difficult decision this week and acted on it.  A friend commented one time if I ever decided to sell the Ford F-550 he was interested in buying it.  I called him earlier this week and asked "Just how interested are you?"

Thursday I delivered his new used Ford F-550

This was not an act of desperation, more one of strategy.  It isn't that we didn't use it.  It was handy for a lot of things. It pulled, hauled, carried, even just sat around and let us walk on it.
It's just that looking at my current condition after this year, I could generate some cash and reduce expenses at the same time by selling it.  I may replace it if I can find the right semi trailer at the right price.  Something along the line of this would do everything we need and more
And probably cost quite a bit less to own.  Like I said, this was not an act of desperation, more one of strategy.  And I may have to make a few more.  Looking around, there may be a lot of guys doing this over the winter.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ronnie, I KNOW what the rope is for

We bought a 34 ft Jet semi trailer last winter.  It came with a rope tied in both hoppers.
There has been speculation over what it was for.

"It's so you know how many bushels are in it."

"It keeps the corn from bridging over"

"It's so you can grab something if you are inside while unloading and start to go under."

I can now tell you what the rope is for.  In a minute. The explanation takes some background.

We finished with corn, and I decided we would paint some Slip Plate paint in the corners of the Maurer trailer so grain would run out of the corners a bit better.  Like usual I didn't fully explain what I wanted, so Aman did what he understood me to want and painted the bottom slopes.  So Wednesday afternoon I climbed in the Maurer and finished the painting.
Oh, BTW if you are in the bottom of a hopper trailer leaning up on the slope holding a gallon paint can and lose your balance ... well, I have a shirt that has a graphite black sleeve and we have one corner painted really well.

Anyway, I got done and had paint left over so I decided to see if the Jet needed a little slick paint anyplace.

No, it does not.

I got in the front hopper on the Jet and started down to look at it when the next thing I know I'm in the bottom of the trailer looking up at the roof.  It doesn't need any more slickness to it.

 Fortunately I landed on my head.  After I laid there a couple minutes doing a self-evaluation I decided there probably wasn't anything broken.   And THIS is when I found what the rope is there for.

Ronnie was mostly right.  The rope is so you can get out when you end up in the bottom of the trailer all by yourself.

It's a great rope.  But a ladder might be nice.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Over half done with corn

Actually I think closer to 2/3 done.  We put 9000 bushels on one semi today.  OK, we put the corn off 46 acres on one semi today ... should have been 9000 bushels or so.

Like everyone else we are running scared of aflatoxin. What is it?  Here's an excerpt from a University of Missouri article:

Aflatoxin is a term generally used to refer to a group of extremely toxic chemicals produced by two molds. The toxins can be produced when these molds attack and grow on certain plants and plant products.. Most of the aflatoxin problems on corn in the United States are caused by Aspergillus flavus, and the most potent toxin produced by this mold is called aflatoxin B1 . Drought, extreme heat and corn ear injury from insect feeding stress the corn and create an environment favorable to these molds and to aflatoxin production

Aflatoxin poses a low level threat to the human food supply in the United States because existing regulations and testing by federal agencies and industry exclude contaminated products from the food chain. Generally, these programs have been successful in protecting U.S. consumers from aflatoxin contaminated food.

We have been fortunate so far.  We had one load rejected at one elevator, yet it passed with flying colors at another.  That attached ticket show .07 parts per billion of aflatoxin.

We do not plan to put any corn in our bins this fall.  That may change as the local elevators are filling up rapidly with wet corn.  This year anything over 13% needs dried.

Friday, August 31, 2012

2012 Fall Harvest has began ....

And already it has been interesting.  We've had several things happen that never happened before. We have shelled corn in August before. Many years ago Steve had a sand field that because  of dry weather he and Dad shelled before the Bumpus reunion.  One field. We held off as long as we could stand it and started August 30.

Actually we held off just a little longer.  Our first activity of the day was to go see Lee Bline and buy a used corn head reel from him.  I hoped I never needed one of those, but we decided it was time.  I had ordered one from our local John Deere dealer but their supplier failed to deliver it when they promised it.  Our salesman said "I have a neighbor that wants to sell his.  And I guarantee it has not been abused." It also saved me about $1000.  So we made a quick trip and got it.  But looking at the weather forecast we decided to shell corn if we could. We shelled a little corn near the shop to make sure everything was working like it should
and then headed for some places that will be a problem if we get the 6" of rain they are talking about.  We hope the yield is higher than the moisture.  The elevator ticket for the field he is in is 21.0%.  Well, the ticket for the elevator that unloaded the truck.  It was refused by the first place I took it for aflatoxin.  They use a simple yes/no test strip

What s aflatoxin?  The quick answer is "Aflatoxin, a toxin from a naturally occurring mold" After this year? Mold?

A sample is ground, mixed, the strip is put in the container and in 5 minutes it shows yes or no indicators.  It was kind of humorous until it failed the guy in front of me.  And my load.  Oh, and if the test is negative there is no charge. To add insult to injury if it is positive they refuse your load and charge $20 for the test.

So NOW what do I do?

The guy in front of me and I had the same idea.  We both went on to Annapolis Grain.

View Larger Map
Stacey probed and ground and sampled ... but using a different tester.

The one they use gives a numerical readout.  All we knew with the first one was it was over 20 ppb.  When she ran it on her machine it said exactly how much was there.  Oh, and hers showed 1 ppb on the other guy's load and 2 ppb on mine.

So I unloaded and came back to the field.  As I cam through West Union the truck started to run a bit rough.  So when I got to the field I popped the hood.  It was running rough because a spark plug boot was on fire!
So I changed trucks.

But we got started, nobody got hurt.  nothing major broke down.  I guess it might be considered a good start.  But this is coming.