Brent Clair, Loraine, 11/07/2020Updated
Oh, how I could rip into this year, but this is a time of reflection not destruction. I would say that a large majority of the farmers in the area are completed with harvest and experienced very good yields in both corn and beans. There is still a field standing by itself in places, but with this weather, those should be completed soon. As predicted last week, the white tanks started popping up again this week, and in great numbers. And if it wasn't nitrogen going on, it was a lot of tillage. You can't ask for better weather for the first part of November. Words can't describe 2020. If there was something that could happen, it did. Through it all, no matter the travesty or depravity, I had to remind myself that no matter what happens, God is still in control. No matter how bleak the future appears, he has it in his hands. So, I wish all of you the best of the rest of 2020, and praying we all are around to enjoy 2021.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 11/01/2020Updated
There are not many fields left to harvest. Granted, last time I checked in with the local elevator, there was only about 500 acres of corn left in our little sector of the county. Good weather is keeping the combines going. Problem is now the high-moisture corn from replant is holding everyone up. Now it’s fertilizer and tillage operations. No one is quite ready for nitrogen yet, even though ground temps are close. Won’t be long till the tanks start to roll.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 10/25/2020Updated
Can’t believe we are in the last week of October already. Fortunately, harvest has been pretty smooth for the general population. Soybeans were wrapping up fast last week, but a few fields remain standing. Corn seemed to be the talk of the week. Moisture is still high in places, but the feeling is get it out before the weather breaks. We experienced two rounds of rain that may have accumulated to a half-inch, but it soaked in quite well. Other places to the north received more than an inch or 2, though. With fields clearing out, dry fertilizer is being applied at a furious pace. A few individuals are deep ripping bean stubble ground and others are vertical tilling cornstalks. For those still harvesting, please stay safe out there!
Brent Clair, Loraine, 10/18/2020Updated
As predicted last week, I would say a large majority of the soybean crop has been harvested. Incredible weather allowed harvest to progress at whatever length of day you wanted. There were a couple reports of field fires, but none on the scale of some in the eastern part of the state. With beans done, corn will be going very hard now. There is already some outside storage being used in places around here, which must be a good sign toward yields. I wish I could share good numbers from our farm, but soybeans and corn are both well below APH in most fields. Judging by the lines of trucks, I'd say we are the oddball of the group. Please stay safe!
Brent Clair, Loraine, 10/11/2020Updated
I believe it can be said now that all have started harvest in this area. I’m sure there might be one or two that I’ve missed, but for the most part harvest is in full swing. We are enjoying near textbook weather at this time, and hopefully another full week as well. Because of the progress, I’m focusing on soybeans. There is a good chance the soybean crop could be completed this week. It was amazing how quick the soybeans matured. Literally one day leaves, the next day stems. I’ve heard a lot of variance in yields, from right at APH to well above. No reason or rhyme as to why. Some disheartening news to share is the rash of small mishaps here and there. Simple tasks are taking a toll on some workers as far as injuries. Most of them were not preventable and thankfully nothing serious, but there are quite a few stiff and sore folks around the area. Please be safe. Please take your time. Continued prayers for our safety and to those suffering during this stressful time.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 10/04/2020Updated
As we start the month of October, most combines are finally coming to life. However, most farmers aren't in a mad rush. Most corn still appears to be in that 20% area, but I'm finally starting to hear some good yields coming across the scales. I would put most of the early stuff above normal, with several reports of more than 200 bushels per acre noted. Soybeans are ripening rapidly. A few of the snow beans have been harvested with some good and some bad yields. So, it is still a toss-up on the validity of early-planted soybeans. So, for the most part, just slow, steady progress. As always, please be safe out there. At the end of the day, we all go home!
A harvest update from Adams CountyUpdated
Brent Clair, Loraine, 09/20/2020Updated
Combines are starting to come out of hibernation slowly but surely. From what I can tell, it’s still plenty green yet, but moisture and yields are still tight lipped. I’d say by the end of this week another group of harvesters will make their way into the fields. Taking advantage of some decent rains and good sunshine, some are making one more hay cutting. It did take longer than usual to bale, thanks to some very heavy dews. Most grass never dried out till past noon. Hope everyone is able to start harvest soon. Please be safe, everyone.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 09/13/2020Updated
We got some light rains last week that helped finish a few late-planted crops. But it was a cool, dreary week, so shop work was the main activity. Corn is turning fast. I’d say we should see the first combines start to roll by the end of the week. Soybeans are starting to turn as well, but it looks more like SDS than ripening in some fields, thanks to early planting.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 09/06/2020Updated
And we turn another page of the calendar. We got a nice shower early last week that perked up the soybeans quite a bit. Might not make a 100 bushels because of it, but it was well welcomed. Silage is starting to be cut so the sweet smell is wafting through the air in areas. Most guys are just getting combines ready and taking a little time off for Labor Day.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 08/30/2020Updated
The heat drastically hurt corn and beans. I think some of the rains we got earlier helped out, so we shouldn’t be too bad off. But some light areas are definitely cut back. Silage is just about to let loose, so there’s a few shops getting choppers ready to go. Roadsides and pastures are getting their last mowing for the year. Now just trying to stay cool for a few more days before a nice cooldown this week.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 08/16/2020Updated
We received anywhere from a half-inch to an inch of rain last Monday. Thankfully, no wind or hail was involved. Very saddened to see the destruction of our neighbors way north. I'd never wish that on anybody. Crops looking as good as they can be at this time of year. Haven't really heard any yield checks yet, but I'm sure they will start to roll in soon enough. Just getting the last of the roadsides and a little more hay dropped. Hard to find fun things to do without festivals and state fairs to attend … Be safe and cool.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 08/10/2020Updated
I feel bad to state that we have been receiving some well-timed and decent amounts of rain the past few weeks. All the crops really look good from the road. Granted, there could be a lot of holes in the middle, but for the most part, it looks good. I really do feel sorry for those missing the rains. Been nice out lately to get some odds and ends worked on and starting to look at some fall equipment projects. Enjoyed having a drive-through appreciation picnic last week. Worked out well with members staying in their cars and meals prepared with the utmost sanitation. Served more than 1,000 people. Very glad to have seen everyone.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 08/03/2020Updated
Wow! Just like that, it's August. Of course, last week wasn’t the same, considering I should be reporting from our county fair. Instead, I'm at my home office longing for a milkshake and a funnel cake … We received some gentle rains midweek, which are really bringing the crops home. Soybean fields are starting to break out with waterhemp, cocklebur and foxtail. No matter what type of beans, what type of tillage or what type of spacing, all the beans seems to be vulnerable to weed escape this year. Some rescue applications will probably be occurring this week. Some corn is being hauled from the farm and just general maintenance is the time keeper right now.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 07/27/2020Updated
Wow! How July just flew by. Fortunately, we are seeing some timely rains for the most part, and crops are looking very good. We have avoided the big wind storms but just barely. Had one producer update me on cattle. Said that the stock is doing relatively well with pasture and hay supplies. Timely rains are keeping ponds full and grass green. Just wish prices were better than breakeven. Fungicide is a daily occurrence in the air. Wish I could report from our county fair next week, but oh well, maybe next year…
Brent Clair, Loraine, 07/19/2020Updated
Halfway through July and I'd say crops are doing quite well. Was very blessed to get some much-needed rain Wednesday. Good coverage of 2 to 3 inches across the county, but hard to say how much really soaked in. An afternoon storm dumped another 1 ½ inches in about 20 minutes. That ran right off. But we will take all we can get. Corn is about 50% tasseled around the area. Fungicide planes are starting to fly. Late-planted corn is catching up with the rest, but some fields are struggling in places, so it isn't a picture perfect scene. Most beans planted before mid-June are close to closing rows. So far, weed pressure seems to be staved off. All the wheat around our farm is out, but never heard any yields being bragged about. The heavy rains have shut down hay and roadside mowing, so now is a good time to just sit in some cool AC and take a much-needed break!
Brent Clair, Loraine, 07/12/2020Updated
I’m not much of a fan of hot, humid weather, so last week was not very enjoyable for me. But a few more projects got completed. Last of spraying was completed, and we cut our rye. Unfortunately, there must have been a wet spell during pollination because yield was dismal. Other farmers cut their wheat. I’ve have heard yields about average for the area of 40 to 50 bushels. Some fungicide started to go on in northern Hancock. April corn is beginning to tassel in most places. Beans are starting to close rows in 15-inch spacing. A light but decent shower came through Thursday night for northern areas, but the majority of the county missed out. Stay safe, stay cool.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 07/06/2020Updated
As we enter July, it is definitely starting to feel as hot as a firecracker! Fortunately, we received some much needed rain Tuesday and Wednesday. However, some places in the southwestern part of the county unofficially received more than 10 inches. We really didn't need that. So, with the rain, everything has shut down for the week. No reports of wheat cut, so maybe we can add that to my next column.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 6/29/2020Updated
It was a mad dash for a lot of soybean fields to get dicamba on at the last second. Weather didn’t cooperate entirely for that aspect, so will be interesting to see the alternative application for these fields. Rain was an interesting story. Quincy received anywhere from 3 to 5 inches of rain June 21 with some unofficial reports of more than 6 inches in less than an hour! It just sat over the city, so not much farmland got any of that storm. Another one came through Monday which caught northeastern parts, but here at the homestead just a meager quarter inch. I’ll take it as always. Other than that, a little hay still being cut and roadsides getting mowed. Wheat and rye should be ready by the end of this week, hopefully.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 6/22/2020Updated
Welcome to summer … what we do now is anybody's guess. Biggest news last week was the cancellation of our county fair. A lot of young people's hopes were dashed (again), but every day I pray something good is going to come from all of this chaos. It was a pleasant last week here. Lots of hay baled and fields sprayed, but we are starting to see signs of dryness. Yes, that's right. After this wet spring, crops are showing their signs. Late-planted crops are not into the moisture yet and just looking puny. Calling for rain during weekend, and we could use a good gulp. There are a few wheat and rye fields around the area getting close to maturity. For some reason, it always seems the Fourth of July is when most of the small grains are harvested. I'd say we are right on track for that. As always, be safe out there.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 6/15/2020Updated
We received a solid inch of rain this past week thanks to Cristobal. A gentle, soaking rain was just what these late-planted crops needed. Those are the good looking crops. The others are starting to show their wet spots badly. A lot of us debated on replant and these fields that were on the borderline sure show it now. Sidedressing applications are going on - some I am guessing a response to the wet spring zapping some of the preplant nitrogen applied. Hay work is ongoing between the showers. Unfortunately, it is also a season of accidents. We have had two ATV accidents and another farm lot accident recently. I cannot stress it enough to watch yourselves. Please don't push things harder than necessary. Please stay safe out there, folks.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 6/8/2020Updated
The word of the week was replant, as it seemed that every farmer was either tearing up fields to replant or patching in spots. Regardless, it was hard to see a decent stand of corn being terminated. We managed to wrap up soybeans last week, and with a day of replant ourselves, the planter is in the shed for the year (hopefully). A few guys got caught up on sprayer applications as well. Hay is starting to be dropped, but the wet spring has created very rank production. And some are bored enough that roadside mowing is getting done. Had a storm come through midweek that split the county in half again. South side got 2 inches, while northern portions remained dry. With another chance Friday, hopefully, we can even out the score. Some of these late beans could use a drink. Stay safe everyone.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 6/1/2020Updated
The weather finally straightened out for us, so we were able to finish the corn last Tuesday. It came with a cost, though, as an accident injured my father and took him out of commission for the week. Thanks to some great neighbors, we were able to continue while he recuperates. Rains were spotty and other areas are still at a standstill with soybean planting. It was bizarre to watch how some rain clouds just hit the same areas over and over and missed others every time. Hope it isn’t like this all summer. Not much spraying happening, but late in the week there were some trying to mud in some rescue sprays. I cannot say this enough as this week was a big reminder: Please be safe out there. I know time is running short and we need to get the crop in. But this week taught me even the most common process we do can be dangerous. Take that extra 30 seconds to make sure you’re safe. We don’t need anymore tragedies this year.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 5/18/2020Updated
Textbook weather last week allowed a lot of farmers to finish planting, but others are still far behind. Best guess is corn is 75% done and beans around 50%. But a lot of the farmers I’ve talked to say that this is just the “first time,” as many state they will have to do some replanting somewhere. A heavy, 2-inch rain Thursday night put a stop to fieldwork for a while. Hopefully, farmers will take an opportunity to get some much-needed rest before the next window opens. Stay safe, everybody.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 5/11/2020Updated
Another week of nothing in the ground yet for us. A few guys snuck a few more acres in last Sunday and Monday morning before another good rain came. Add cool and cloudy conditions for the rest of the week, and that doesn’t allow soils to dry much. At this point, a tenth of an inch of rain acts more like a full inch. Just can't get it dry. Starting to see a few fields sprouting some corn across the area. Hard to say how this weekend's freeze will hurt it. Have not heard much about soybeans yet, but they are in pockets. I'm hearing some guys say 50% corn and beans, but I would guess the total beans are probably still in the 20% range. Had a farmer across the river last week lose his life to a grain entrapment. Cannot stress enough to please be safe around the bins this year. We have had two deaths in our area already - more than several years combined. Please take your time, have extra people, and don't do unnecessary tasks inside a bin. Everyone goes home…
Brent Clair, Loraine, 5/4/2020Updated
It can’t be May already … of course I can’t even tell what day of the week it is anymore. A good 3-inch rain last weekend and in the middle of the week has stopped planting progress in its tracks. The second rain made lakes of several fields around the area. My guess is that 50% of corn is in the ground but it’s hard to get a good survey. We were thinking it might be dry enough this first weekend of May but forecasts just keep the rain coming.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 4/27/2020Updated
Many farmers put the hammer down this week and got a lot of fields planted. I believe the majority was corn but there are still a few April beans being planted. Some spotty showers hindered some progress in areas, however. One day it was in one spot, the next day another. Fortunately, it wasn’t a terribly large amount to stop progress. I haven’t heard completion progress amounts yet, but maybe by this week we will have a better idea. With the wet forecast coming up it this might be a slow week. Stay safe out there.
Brent Clair, Loraine, 4/20/2020Updated
There was a rush for some farmers to get a few more acres planted, but any further progress was halted by a couple inches of heavy, wet snow Thursday. It didn’t last long but that cold water wasn’t the best for still sprouting seeds. Another heavier band just missed us to the north, but we still got a half-inch of cold rain. It will be interesting to see how fast we can get the soil temp back up. Still some nitrogen applications ongoing. I’d say we are approaching the 85% level of spring-applied. Some last minute dry fertilizer outfits are rolling ahead of the cultivators. Now we wait and see when the weather decides to cooperate again and warm up
Brent Clair, Loraine, 4/13/2020Updated
Hello again, and welcome to another exciting year of farming adventures. Las week, just about everyone got out and did some sort of fieldwork. Some, like me, got nitrogen applied, and experienced cold, sour, damp soils. Others went for broke and full speed ahead with the planters. Had one farmer report 300 acres one day. Some last-minute tile and terrace repairs are being done as well. Ground is working a lot better this year – not as cloddy and unbreakable. With colder weather this week, we’ll probably see some more repairs and general maintenance take place and wouldn’t anticipate planting to continue. Stay safe out there.
Spring Planting SonnetUpdated
‘Twas the week before planting season and all through the fields,
Farmers were looking over them and dreaming of big yields.
The machinery was parked in the shed well-cared,
With the tractor and planter connected and paired.
But inside the house, the farmer was listening to “Begin the Beguine”
Because what else is there to do when you are self-quarantined!
And the kids and mom were starting to go stir-crazy.
It was starting to look like a scene from Scorsese.
But out in the pasture, there arose such a commotion,
That gave the farmer a wonderful notion.
Yes, the snow had melted and the ground was dry,
The farmer said, “It’s 60 degrees, let’s give it a try!”
Away to the shed, he ran with ambition,
Set to his mind to complete his mission.
Into the cab and turning the engine to start,
He throttles it up and begins to depart.
As the tractor entered the field and the planter began to drop,
He knew in that moment that this year was going to be a good crop.
And looking over his seed corn, more varieties than before,
He planned and sorted and stacked them by the door.
“On Dekalb, on Lewis, on Pioneer and Arrow!
On Channel and Syngenta and LG and Asgrow!
To the top of the hopper, to the bottom of the row,
Now germinate and pollinate and grow, grow, grow!”
As the tractor pulled down and the farmer turned his head,
He looked back at the planter and knew he had nothing to dread.
He tightened every bolt, he greased every zerk,
He locked in the GPS, he hit the AutoTrac, and went right to work.
And as he went through the field, he looked up to the sky,
And whispered a little prayer of appreciation, “Thank you, Big Guy!
We got through last year, we survived the isolation.
Thank you so much for taking care of this nation.”
And as he looked forward, as the sun was setting in the west,
He finally got that anxiety that was growing off his chest.
And when he parked the planter at the edge of the farm,
He said, “God bless this farm, and keep it safe from harm.”