By Richard Oswald
DTN Special Correspondent
LANGDON, Mo. (DTN) -- While it looks good, Brent Judisch's crop could use more rain.
"The corn looks good. Beans are OK but still need a rain. For August, all we've had is three rains, a half-inch, another half-inch, and six-tenths of an inch. We would like to have two more rains for the soybeans," said Judisch, DTN View From the Cab farmer from Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Climate and soil aside, not everything is perfect where Brent farms with his wife, Lisa, in northeastern Iowa. "Since Thursday, corn fields in the area not sprayed with fungicide have some anthracnose going on. Some corn is not doing so good -- it's starting to struggle a little bit. It may be caused by N deficiency. There's just a little bit of white mold in our soybeans," Brent told DTN late Sunday.
Brent and Lisa's earliest-planted corn is in dent stage and mature. Yield samples suggest it will yield 10 to 15 bushels per acre less than last year, but that's still more than those fields' five-year average. Later-planted fields will be checked for yields this weekend after Brent returns home. He'll wait for September to evaluate his soybeans. Humidity levels are adequate with early morning dew, and fog on Tuesday and Thursday. Soil moisture seems adequate -- for now. "It's been the same story all year," he said, adding that rain has been spotty.
When DTN reached Brent, he was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he will join a crop tour of the Western Corn Belt. While traveling to Sioux Falls from his home, Brent checked fields along Highway 20 that he passes each year about this time. "We stopped and took a couple of samples. We found 140 to 150 bushels where last year they had 200 bushels per acre," he said.
Soon it will be harvest time for those crops; it's time to think equipment for those crops.
"Somebody has to buy the four-to-five-year-old combines. We normally buy combines that are four years old with about 800 hours and keep them about five or six years until they have about 2,000 hours," Brent said.
Combines are the most expensive piece of equipment found on most Midwestern farms; those hours in the field equal wear and tear and extra costs. The price farmers pay for lower acquisition costs is more maintenance. "On Wednesday, I put one combine in the shop. The one I run needs augers, belts, and chains replaced. I got it torn apart and ordered the parts. On Saturday, Rusty and I got two heads out. We have two platforms and one of them needs a new sickle," he said.
Last weekend's Annual Old Time Power Show held in Cedar Falls was a success. Brent helped Messiah Lutheran Church serve close to 900 meals there during the three-day event. "They ran out of food every day." Brent and Lisa's youngest daughter, Ellie, likes to fly their drone. "Saturday we flew the drone and got some pictures of the crowd without flying directly over them, and of how many parked there."
Like her mom and dad, Ellie also likes to dance. Tuesday was a social day for parents and boosters to come to school and show their support for the dance team by purchasing parking passes, season tickets, signs and other things to help fund school activities. On Saturday, Brent and Lisa attended their second ballroom dance in as many weeks. "A lot of our regulars go up to dance at Rochester, Minnesota, every month. It's fun to do something social," Brent said.
HARVEST STARTS IN OKLAHOMA
Meanwhile, outside Miami, Oklahoma, sampling time is over as mature cornfields yield their secrets to harvest. "We're finally getting the combine out today," View From the Cab farmer Zack Rendel told DTN midday on Monday. Later in the day, a happy Zack gave DTN his first harvest update of the season via text message. "Moistures are good. We're below 15 and yields are really great!" he wrote.
The first glitch of the harvest season was when harvest Day 1 was eclipsed by current events. "I'm a man down because Brent (Zack's uncle) and his family went to Kansas City to watch the solar eclipse. We've got our welding lenses ready here. We'll be at about 90%. I'm going in to school in about an hour to pick up Nathan and Charli and spend a couple of hours outside," he said, adding that as a safety precaution, younger children in school were only allowed to view the eclipse on TV.
Rain on Tuesday and Wednesday totaled 1.8 inches. Daytime temperatures in the low 90s, combined with humidity, pushing the heat index above 100 Fahrenheit. Unfortunately rain, heat, and humidity on harvestable stalks of corn means rot and sprouts beneath the husk on upright ears. "I'm starting to see a lot of ear rot and mold. We're getting sprouting. We could potentially have a problem," Zack explained.
Wet weather could also pose problems for Zack's milo crop if it causes new sucker heads to grow, which would delay harvest with green matter and immature grain. An application of glyphosate would be required. But if harvest is delayed after the herbicide goes on, lodging might be a problem. For now, the biggest problem has nothing to do with weather. "Birds have been pecking milo heads," he said.
Soybeans have enjoyed recent rains, adding additional vegetative growth and more pods. "They're getting bigger as the days go by. A neighbor told me the last time he had 8 inches of rain in August his soybeans made 80 bpa. Right now, we're sitting at 6 1/2 inches," Zack told DTN.
SERVING THE COMMUNITY
Zack describes his help with the county fair as community service. On Friday, he oversaw a tractor safety test where kids competed to see who was best at navigating courses both forward and backwards while pulling a grain drill or 4-wheel wagon. On Saturday, he helped prepare the dirt track for a demolition derby.
Zack fitted the new Demco 800-bushel grain cart with cab cams -- one on the tip of the auger, and one camera looking back. They'll give the operator a better view over tall truck boxes, or when backing up, and help avoid accidents when impatient drivers pass on narrow roads and at intersections and field entrances during turns.
Not everyone is happy about the timing of the new cams.
"We lost our summer help Wednesday. Job and Isaac (Zack's cousins) went back to school. Job was really looking forward to running that new grain cart," Zack said.
Richard Oswald can be reached at Talk@dtn.com
Follow Richard Oswald on Twitter @RRoswald
© Copyright 2017 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.