Saturday, November 21, 2009

Decorating for Christmas

Austin and I decided to day is the day...we decorated for Christmas. Since Brian is busy farming Austin helped me decorate. He was so cute trying to decide just the perfect spot for the decorations I gave him to put out. He must have seen me scratching my head and thinking several times. It's hard to decorate a new place...but FUN!

Austin and I needed some company so Tara and the boys came over. Tara helped me finish decorating and the boys played. Then we put the 3 boys in the big tub. Austin was cracking Calem up. He would get a drink from the faucet and splash Calem in the face in the mean time and Calem would laugh so hard. I wish we would have video taped it!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day full of Pictures and Farming

It's been such a strange Fall! We squished in the mud and got the 'K' Generation picture.
I love to look back at years past.


Austin and Daddy
by the 'tracks' Austin would let you know!

Our Family of 3 by the muddy tracks!

Austin watching Daddy farm from his play room.

View to the back. It was neat watching them farm from our living room!

Papa Bob stayed for lunch and Austin convinced him to farm out on the deck. Austin likes to watch the big guys and then go do it himself with his toys. It's so cute to watch!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So proud of my Farmer!

Brian made the paper!!

Sloppy harvest taking its toll on Central Illinois fields

Farm equipment stands idle in a field at the Kruger Farms on Monday afternoon. More rain is in the forecast, keeping farmers from completing their harvest anytime soon. (The Pantagraph/LORI ANN COOK-NEISLER)

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NORMAL -- Central Illinois farmers typically wrap up their harvest with an eye toward next year's crop, completing some key fall soil preparations and trying hard to avoid leaving deep ruts in their fields.

"We've pretty much thrown that out the window this year," said Brian Kruger, who farms with his family in Colfax, Hudson, Normal and elsewhere in McLean County.

Farmers like Kruger are tearing up their soil and changing their plans for next year's crop, all in hopes of finally finishing a rain-delayed harvest that's the latest in decades.

Central Illinois farmers are only about halfway finished harvesting their corn, down from the five-year average of about 95 percent by this time, according to the latest data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Most have finished soybeans and took advantage of last week's rare dry stretch to make progress on corn. But it's been raining again on and off for several days now, with a chance for more Thursday, Monday and Tuesday, the National Weather Service reported.

Pushed to the spring?

Because farmers are still busy harvesting or drying their wet corn, the typical fall tillage and other fieldwork has largely been put on hold or pushed to spring.

Kruger said his operation may plant more beans next spring because he won't have time to chisel the ground like he usually does for corn-to-corn acres. That process breaks down the excess stalk matter and makes the next crop less prone to disease.

The rush of this year's harvest has led some farmers to leave deeper ruts in their muddy fields, which must be leveled out before planting. The larger concern, however, is the safety of the operator and the equipment itself, which can cost upwards of $300,000, said Don Meyer at the University of Illinois' McLean County extension.

"When those get stuck, it is very difficult to get them out without damaging them," Meyer said.

If some farmers aren't able to apply their nitrogen fertilizer this fall, it just adds to the workload next spring. If a farmer doesn't wait long enough between fertilizing and planting, the crop can be damaged, Meyer said.

"The less nitrogen we can get applied this fall, that puts more of a burden on the spring," he said.

Costs and propane

While corn and bean yields still look good in Central Illinois and across the U.S., costs are up, both from planting and now from drying the wet corn down to levels acceptable for the market.

Gary Gaffner at the Evergreen FS Holder elevator in Downs estimates his use of propane -- used to dry the corn -- is about double compared to previous years.

While propane's cost has increased modestly based on demand, the larger challenge for suppliers has been delivery logistics because the harvest occurred so quickly, said Meyer and Kendall Miller, general manager at Evergreen FS.

In recent days, Evergreen has been traveling to further-away terminals to ensure adequate supply for its customers. "Certainly it's been more difficult than what we've seen in past years," Miller said.

But he expects the current propane situation to have a minimal effect on prices for Evergreen FS' home-heating customers, the vast majority of whom have already locked in their propane by contract.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Geat Papa K

Great Papa K stopped by for dinner tonight. Austin was busy talking farming after dinner.