Harvest went great for us this year. We had the best corn and soybean yields that we’ve ever had. The prices were down a bit, but we still had a very good year.
Due to our large harvest this year, we had to move a lot of grain. That’s always a good problem to have, but we had to make sure we had enough trucks to move them out in a timely fashion. The large harvest also led to long lines at the elevators in our area. That’s one of the reasons why we plant our corn and soybeans as early as we can. We want to get to the market before everyone else does because that happens year after year.
Since harvest, we have been getting ready for next year. One thing we did is fly some cover crop into standing corn and standing soybeans, and that’s even how we planted our wheat. We had an airplane apply it before we harvested our soybeans, and it looks like it’s going to turn out well. As of now, it appears the wheat will have a good yield.
There are also a few areas on our farm that need to be worked on. There is one area that has a large pivot that has to cross a ditch. We have “shallowed up” the ditch, so that we can go over it without any problems next year. The pivot got stuck going across it a few times this year when we were supposed to be irrigating.
I have also attended some meetings at a few universities with my brother, son and two of my employees to learn the latest information that is available to farmers and teach us what to do in the future. We’re learning so that we can improve.
I would like for my international customers to know that we are getting ready for next year. We’ll be ready to plant once it gets warm and dry enough. We will go again like farmers always do. We want to keep growing sustainable products for our international customers.
September 8, 2014
We started harvesting our soybeans this week. They were still a little moist the other day so we had to stop, but we are now in full swing harvesting them. Since we’re just getting started, it’s hard to know what the yield will be. They are looking good so far, though.
If we can get enough corn hauled away, we should be able to finish harvesting our corn. We’re in the final stages of it. The average yield for our irrigated fields is 60 bushels an acre. It looks like it’s going to be a good corn harvest and a possibly a record year for us. I think it will be like that around the country as well.
One surprise we’ve had recently was that some of our corn dried down and broke over before we got it out. We haven’t had much of a loss, but that was surprising since we haven’t had much bad weather this year.
We planted a mixture of radish and sunflower cover crops around a month ago. During the summer, it’s always in the high 90s in this area, so we had to plant something that could withstand the heat. So, we flew that over the corn before we harvested it.
Every year, we get many Canadian geese on our farm around corn harvest. I was driving around the other day and came upon an irrigation reservoir. We have used a lot of water this year to irrigate this record crop and the geese were enjoying spending time in it. They clean up our fields each year after we shell the corn.
I would like for my international customers to know that we’re looking at a great corn and soybean crop. So far, everything looks great and we should have plenty of commodities to export.
August 20, 2014
I’ve been away from my farm and at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana this week. I’ve been there for a Soil Health Seminar and to meet with people from the Center for Food and Agricultural Business. They have asked for me to share my knowledge on how I make decisions about purchasing, whether it is how I choose financing, equipment, chemicals or seeds. As a large farmer, they wanted to know what makes me make certain decisions.
For the Soil Health Seminar, we visited a local farm today that’s been using cover crops for a lot of years as well as no-till. They had 15 different crops that were planted into their wheat stubble as a summer cover crop. That was pretty neat to see.
We also saw an area where the farm had been growing corn for a couple of years and had many cover crops. They dug a six-foot hole, with earth worms and corn roots visible all the way down. You could see the color change of the soil and that some of the top soil was making its way down. This is pictured above.
I actually just planted some cover crop on my own farm. Before I harvested the wheat, I planted sunflower and radish together. Then I harvested the corn so that the seed got under the corn, so that will protect it. We got some rain after that, so it should come up very well. It’s nice to know I’m doing some of the same things on my own farm. Doing that sort of thing helps soil health and diversity, which I am a big advocate of.
As I mentioned, we have harvested some corn lately, and it looks like it will be a record year for yield for us and maybe even around the country. I think everyone will produce great yield this year. We’re averaging around 220 bushels per acre so far.
The soybeans looks like they’re about to turn. They haven’t turned yellow yet, but they’re about to get there. I would say we’re about a month away from harvesting our soybeans. We should have an excellent soybean crop this year as well. There are a lot of beans in the stalk and everything looks really good. Last time we had some frogeye on some of our soybeans, but we were able to take care of that. We put out a timely application of fungicide, which got rid of it.
We also had some three cornered alfalfa hopper on our farm, but we sprayed them and got them under control.
The crops I have seen here in Indiana look great, just like on my farm, so I think it will be a great year for us all around. That should be good news for our international customers. I also want them to know that it’s very important for me to build up my soil health and make sure the environment is protected. I want to use a lot of diversity to make sure that everything is sustainable.
July 28, 2014
This week we are harvesting corn. We were able to get a premium for delivering it in July, so now we are harvesting it, drying the moisture on it and hauling it out as fast as we can. That’s our biggest goal of the week because the premium will expire once the month is over.
Beginning a harvest is always a challenge. You have to get the combine and dryer ready. With all of the drying we’ve been doing to the corn, we ran out of dryer gas overnight and had to wait until we got more before we could start again.
We’re also spraying some of our soybeans with fungicide. We found some Frogeye Leaf Spot in a small area of our mid-range soybeans, so we are spraying those. We already sprayed our oldest soybeans, but we are also following up on our midrange soybeans.
The biggest surprise that we have had the last few weeks is that our corn that is outside of the pivot circle was yielding around 20 bushels less than the corn under the pivot. That’s because we had good rain through most of the growing season. Therefore, the irrigation made a little bit of a difference, but not nearly as much as we have seen in the past.
I would like our international customers to know that while we still have some time to go, our soybeans are looking like they will be a good crop this year. You never know what the weather will do, but everything looks like it is right on target.
July 7, 2014
Right now, we are watering corn as well as our soybeans. It finally stopped raining here. In fact, it hasn’t rained in the last ten days or so. All of our crops are planted and now we are spraying some weeds in our soybean fields. Once the corn dries down, we will be ready to start harvesting it.
Our biggest challenge this week has been keeping the pivots running. We have 19 pivot systems that we irrigate with that have been causing some issues for us. Now that it’s finally dry here and the temperatures are getting hotter, we are trying to keep our crops irrigated.
My goal for this week is to have our grain handling system ready to harvest the corn. We would like to start harvesting it later this month. Our goal is to start on July 21.
I would like for our international customers to know that we have good growing conditions. Our soybeans are growing and looking strong. We haven’t had any big challenges lately with insects or weather conditions, so everything is looking good as of now.
After harvesting our wheat a few weeks ago, we planted our double crop of soybeans into that stubble to add to the diversity of our farm and continue our conservation efforts. We were able to preserve the soil moisture by doing that and decrease the amount of trips we have to take over the field, which helps reduce the amount of fuel we use. You can see a picture of how the double crop is looking above.
June 23, 2014
Last month, we were in the process of harvesting our wheat, so that we could get our double soybean crop planted before it rained and we could avoid a repeat of last year.
I’m happy to say we were able to get the double crop soybeans planted just before the rain came. Those soybeans are already starting to come up. We didn’t have many challenges with planting the double crop fields. The ground was just a little moist. Planting soybeans behind the wheat helps us with weed control and builds up the fertility of the soil.
I will spend some time this week in Nashville, Tennessee, at a conference for nurse practitioners, informing them of the health benefits of soy. The work will still continue on our farm though. We also raise cattle, and our main goal of the week is to finish our cattle work for the year. Usually we don’t finish that until July.
Everything is looking really good on our farm. The soybeans are getting ready to bloom, and all of our other crops are at various stages. We’ve been receiving rain on a regular basis and temperatures are staying consistent. The temperatures are in the 90s during the day, but it is cooling off at night.
I would like for our international customers to know that the outlook for our crops is very strong. Right now, it looks like we will have an above average year. We are very optimistic. Of course, the crop condition can always change at a moment’s notice.
June 2, 2014
We finished getting our single soybeans planted last week.
The weather looks ominous here this week, but we’re going to try to get our combine in the wheat field so we can get that harvested. Then we will plant the double soybean crop behind that. That’s our big goal of the week.
Once we get the wheat harvested, we will use our no-till planter and will plant the soybeans into the wheat stubble. That will help keep the weed pressure down and help preserve the moisture. Leaving the wheat stubble will also build the organic matter. Using that process is beneficial to us in many ways.
Getting the wheat harvested before the rain gets here is probably our biggest challenge this week, though. We had that issue last year. Since it rained continuously once it was time to harvest the wheat, we had to put ruts in the ground to get the wheat out. Because of that, we weren’t able to double crop our soybeans. The ruts here too large and it was too wet to do it. Hopefully we won’t have a repeat of last year.
I would like our international customers to know that, as you can see from the pictures, the soybeans we’ve planted so far are already coming out of the ground and are looking strong and healthy. We’re running full steam ahead!
May 9, 2014
We are still experiencing non-stop rain every few days, which has kept up out of the fields and has delayed planting, but we have made progress since last report.
We are very close to having all of our corn planted. Once it is complete, we will immediately begin planting our soybeans. We are hoping to have all of our soybeans in the ground by the end of this week.
One challenge we didn’t anticipate experiencing last week was tornadoes. We had a few blow through the area. We had enough warning, though, that we were able to prepare. We put one planter in the barn and left one in the field, so we would have access to one in case the other was damaged. Fortunately, we were very lucky and our farm did not experience much damage from the storms.
Even though we have been delayed in planting, I would like our international customers to know that we expect a good crop this year. We are still very hopeful for a good year. We just need to get our soybeans planted, which is our main goal the week. We are working with two 16-row planters well into the night to make sure we reach our goal.
Once we get the soybeans planted, they should basically jump out of the ground. The land is warm enough that they should thrive from the very beginning.
April 15, 2014
Due to the amount of rain we have received this week, unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be able to do anything in the fields.
We have planted around a quarter of our corn so far, but we had hoped to have it all planted in March. We should have started planting our soybeans by now, but we are not close to doing that yet since the ground is just not dry enough. Every four or five days, it rains again. Each time, it dries out quickly, but then we get hit by lots more rain. This planting season is beginning a lot like last year.
I want international customers of U.S. soy to know that, to have optimum yield, we will have to get planted soon. The current weather pattern could affect the yield of soybeans grown in the Southeast. We will have to get our corn planted first, and then shift to beans after that.
About Annie Dee’s Farm: Annie grows corn, soybeans, wheat and rye and raises beef cattle with her brother, two sons and niece in Aliceville, Alabama. They practice extensive use of cover crops to improve the overall soil health. She and her husband, Ed, have five children, Rachel, Seth, Jesse, Mary and Martha, and five grandchildren. This is Annie’s third year as a USB director.