Changing of the Guard

In the last couple weeks, a single Harvest Land ag center has had two life-long farm couples pull their wagons across the scales for the last time. No illness has caused this finality, no financial defeat impedes, they’re simply ready to enjoy this later chapter of life doing other things.

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It was an honor, that they would choose to come in for a photo during their last load. 

 

What a realization of seeing these farewell photos on social media brought; there is a true changing of the guard amongst families in agriculture. Those in their late sixties, early seventies are choosing to put the combine away one last time and not worry about the spring.

They’re selling what’s in the bin and renting the storage to someone else.

They’re cleaning up equipment so it can go on to the next steward.

They’re closing the books on a record year.

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But…

They’ll still wake before dawn and check the markets while the coffee brews.

They’ll still talk about the weather at every opportunity.

They’ll still stand in awe of new machinery at a farm show or neighbor’s shop.

They’ll still prefer the smell of freshly cut hay or the inside of the milking parlor to any cologne in a bottle.

They’ll still think the next generation doesn’t know how good they have it.

They’ll still worry about safety and say a silent prayer when they hear the local volunteer fire department race through the township on an October day.

They’ll still drive around in the spring and summer scouting crops.

They’ll still wear their Harvest Land hats and jackets they’ve acquired over the years, and they’ll regularly check the rain gauge we gave them during the soggy spring of 2017.

They’ll still subscribe to Farm World, Progressive Farmer and other publications that clutter the station beside the recliner so they’re still in the know.

They’ll still proudly call themselves a life-long farmer.

We have no doubt there are others out there calling the 2018 harvest their last as they enjoy retirement, perhaps they did not post farewell photos taken at the ag center to Facebook.

And we’ll miss them.

Their insight.

Their years of experience.

Their optimism gained from years gone by.

Their tired hands that have known the struggle.

Their passion for the work and the appreciation of the industry.

But we wish them the best, and we thank them for their years of business and partnership with Harvest Land Co-op. There is always a spot for you to visit with us at the ag center counter.

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Fall Tips for Hard to Control Weeds

With several days of cool, dry weather, harvest is wrapping up at lightning speed. But the work isn’t over, yet.

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Let’s talk weeds.

Certain species of weeds are getting more aggressive – which means your crop protection plan needs to, also. Act now and knock out Marestail at seedling stage to prevent future issues. Fall burn down is efficient, effective and timely.

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When the crop comes off the field is the ideal time to take care of this predictable problem. Watch the video below to learn more about aggressive weed control from our agronomist Steve Dlugosz.

 

Contact your YieldPro Specialist today to get rolling on prevention.

 

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A Salute to the Unsung Harvest Heroes

Harvest is running on all cylinders across the United States. It’s easy for us to highlight the  tremendously important work the farmer does to harvest another crop to feed the general public, but what about those unsung heroes who work behind the scenes (or, wheel) to ensure harvest work goes as it should?

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Today we salute the harvest unsung heroes:

The unsung harvest heroes are the ones blowing out filters, checking oil and greasing every piece of equipment before the race gets started.

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The unsung harvest heroes spend time thinking up meals that can be eaten with one hand, transported effortlessly or used to feed the masses on the tailgate of a farm truck. They’re the ones who prepare meals with hurried love, deliver meals on time and don’t think about feeding themselves until 10:30 PM.

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The unsung harvest heroes take different route home from school every day so the future farmers can see where Grandpa or Dad are working.

The unsung harvest heroes are the fuel truck drivers who work tirelessly to fuel all of the combines, tractors, and semi trucks running the products up and down the road. They still answer their phone when a customer calls from the field at 9:00 PM, and takes off to deliver a load in the middle of a field so not to slow progress.

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The unsung harvest heroes act as a morning motivator when the future farmer presents his best argument for skipping school and riding in the combine all day.

The unsung harvest hero doesn’t understand what all the hype is over a pumpkin spiced latte. And until her town of 2,000 puts a Starbucks next to the parts store or grain elevator, she probably never will.

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The unsung harvest heroes are the ones hauling the grain to the elevator, spending their day wearing a path on the rural route roads, waiting in line, and eating their weight in co-op popcorn.

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The unsung harvest heroes are the people in charge of logistics, making sure that pick-up trucks get from field to field in order to get the farmers home each night if equipment is being left in the field over night.

The unsung harvest heroes are the ones driving the auger cart, positioning it perfectly for the effortless unload so the big wheels can keep on turning.

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The unsung harvest heroes are the “runners” who log 200 miles on their vehicle in a single October day and never leave the county.

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And finally, the unsung harvest heroes are the ones who spend a large amount of time traveling 15 mph with their flashers on, following equipment at night and ensuring everyone – and every piece of equipment – makes it home safely.
We salute you, harvest’s unsung heroes, for working the odd jobs that no one sees but everyone needs.
Keep trucking towards a safe and bountiful harvest 2018.
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Photo Friday: 2018 Answer Plot

Our 2018 Answer Plot, held on August 15 at our Pershing Plot, had a tremendous turnout. We were excited to spend the morning with our farmer-owners to offer agronomic insight and technology updates to so many.

This Photo Friday covers the event. Enjoy a look at the day:

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All photos taken by Dusty Mayberry, Support Staff at our Mt. Summit location. We’re grateful for her many talents!

 

Indiana State Fair Featured Farmers: Wehr Farms

Harvest Land is quite fortunate to work with numerous outstanding family farm operations in Indiana and Ohio. Annually we look forward to learning who the State Fair Featured Farmers are, because there is a high probability we work closely with one of two of them.

What an honor to be named an Indiana State Fair Featured Farmer. In its fourth year, this program celebrates and helps put a face on Hoosier agriculture by connecting consumers with farmers. The 17 farm operations selected in 2018 represent all regions of the state, showcasing different agricultural products throughout the 17-day fair, August 3-19.

Visitors to the Indiana State Fair can attend a live chat at the Glass Barn with a Featured Farmer every day of the fair, in addition to many other opportunities to talk with that day’s Featured Farm family and learn about their operation.

On August 19 the Featured Farmer is Wehr Farms from Fayette County. Monica Wehr is a  former FieldTech intern for Harvest Land, and is currently an ACE participant. Monica has been an outstanding asset to our cooperative and we very much appreciate her work ethic and passion for production agriculture.

This week, we invite you to learn more about the Wehr sisters from Fayette County and their drive to manage the family farm despite loss.

Wehr Sisters Take Family Farm Reins and Move Forward

It’s said strength of character is measured by how one reacts to adverse events or actions. It’s about doing what’s right or ethical even when that is the most difficult path to take. For Wehr sisters Monica, 21, and Morgan, 18, a career in farming was always a possibility – a “some day in the future” career aspiration. A year ago, “some day” became today for the Connersville, Indiana, sisters who grew up on the family farm their grandfather founded in 1953 and their father later took over.

“Farming is something I’ve loved since I was little. I was always with my dad and my grandpa even when I probably should have been at home and out of their hair,” says Monica. “I never expected to be running the farm this soon, but everything happens for a reason I guess.”

When their father unexpectedly died in June of 2017, the young sisters found themselves running their family’s farm with the help of their grandmother.

 

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“With our grandpa and dad both gone, there was no other option for us than to continue our family legacy,” says Morgan. Their resiliency is apparent in their day-to-day management of the hay farm and cow-calf operation that includes three bulls and 50 head of Angus and Angus-Charolais cross cattle.

All cattle are bred and raised on the farm until calves reach about 500 pounds. They are then sold as feeder cattle to a neighboring farmer. “We turn the bulls out July 4 and have calves starting the second week of April. We have about 50 calves born each year,” says Monica.

“When we wean calves, we use some supplemental feed to add more nutrients to their diet,” she says. “We graze nine months out of the year. The cows are never contained. They roam the pasture at will.” She points out “Our cows have a pretty good life. Our cattle are never mistreated. Calves get to roam with their moms in the pasture, and they are fed the high-quality hay we produce.”

The sisters also farm 185 acres of alfalfa and orchard grass with the help of Mitchell Pohlar, Monica’s fiancée, who was raised on his family’s nearby farm and now spends his days working at the Wehr’s farm.

They feed some of the hay to their cattle and sell the rest to area farmers.  “We’ve had the same three hay buyers for the past four years. They know the quality of our hay, and they come back for more every year,” says Monica.

The Wehr sisters continue their formal studies as well.  Monica is a student at Wilmington College in Ohio and Morgan graduates from high school in 2018 and is headed to Oklahoma State University this fall where she plans to major in agricultural education, where her hands-on learning will no doubt be beneficial.

“We grew up farming, accompanying our dad and grandpa to the crop fields and to the pastures for a great education,” says Monica.

As they triumph over adversity, Morgan reflects on the example set for them.  “Dad, grandma and grandpa set us up for success. Grandma has spent many hard hours out on the tractor, too, over the years.”

 

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Source: Indiana State Fair

Managing Late Season Disease

Those not involved in agriculture, do not fear. The constant zipping around of helicopters in your area have nothing to do with Russia or an illegal substance. But rather, protection of a crop.

Harvest Land agronomist Steve Dlugosz joins us from the field this week to discuss the benefits of late season fungicide application. We caught up with Steve at our Pershing Answer Plot in Wayne County to talk about the application:

As always, contact your YieldPro Specialist for additional insight. We’re here to help preserve the potential of every acre you farm.

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Eyes in the Field: Japanese Beetles

We’re seeing a huge resurgence of Japanese beetles in the fields this summer, despite the populations being fairly low in most recent years. Japanese beetles are general defoliators. The good news is they tend to feed on a single leaf, and stay on that leaf.

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As you can see here, they’ve fed on those top leaves, but the leaves around it remain untouched:

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We don’t evaluate defoliation based on a particular leaf, but rather whole plant defoliation. So even though these photos – taken in Wayne County – look really terrible, the loss is fairly minimal.

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Japanese beetles give off a pheromone, which attracts other beetles in. Many times, you can notice a few feeding, but by the end of the day you’ll have massive amounts of beetles feeding on areas of the field.

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The damage from Japanese beetles will typically be fairly localized. We’ve seen farmers hang a boom over the edge of the concentrated area and take care of it that way. There may be, however, such concentrations that farmers will be more inclined to spray the whole field, especially if they’re going to apply a fungicide soon. We recommend adding another insecticide such as Delta Gold® and taking care of them that way.

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As always, your YieldPro Specialist is available to answer all of your questions. We encourage you to reach out to them if you have any concerns.

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Crop Progress Report

This week we gained this awesome resource from our partners at Winfield regarding the 2018 crop report. We’d like to share this insight with you. It offers crop update to this point in the season, but also a comparative look at 2018 to previous years.

If you have questions or want to make an in-season decision at your operation, don’t hesitate to contact your YieldPro Specialist.

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Benefits of Early Season Fungicide Application

Disease can threaten corn production throughout the season, from common diseases that affect leaves, stalks and roots.

This week, Harvest Land agronomist Steve Dlugosz takes a look at the benefits of early season fungicide application and shares the results of a field box trial done last season that yielded some interesting results. Take a look:

Infection by stalk rot organisms can occur early in the season, but visual symptoms may not appear until grain fill. Stalk rots can cause significant yield loss when the disease causes plants to deteriorate prematurely, resulting in poor ear fill or light test weight grain. Lodging can be a problem and everyone hates running down corn!

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So how can you manage these problems? What can you do to protect your crop from disease? Best management practices can help. Ask yourself these four questions:

Which disease(s) is it?

Many Corn diseases are caused by fungi, especially gray leaf spotand northern corn leaf blightsouthern corn leaf blight.  Also most of the ears rots which were a big problem a few seasons ago.

An increasing concern is southern rust which is carried by wind-borne fungal spores and commonly affect seed corn and sweet corn. Timely fungicide applications can help control these diseases.

What hybrids are a concern?

Current hybrids vary greatly in their resistant to many diseases.  Know the strength and weaknesses of the hybrids you have planted. Talk to your YieldPro Specialist if you don’t know.

How do my current cultural practices affect disease?

Because several disease organisms survive in infected residue from crop to crop, there are several cultural practices that can help break this cycle and diminish disease pressure. For example:

  • Crop rotation allows surface corn residue to break down, reducing bacteria and fungal inoculum.
  • Incorporating corn residue into the soil can further reduce the disease pressure the following season.
  • Good weed control removes disease hosts.

When should I use a fungicide?

A fungicide decision is a matter of evaluating the risk actors that drive disease development, including the hybrids you planted, rotation, disease history, and current and future weather patterns.

Timely foliar fungicide applications are a tool that can help protect corn plants from fungal YieldPro_4Cinfections throughout the season. Your YieldPro Specialist can help when making these decisions.

Applying fungicides with multiple modes of action, such as Delaro™ and Stratego® YLD can help minimize the potential for fungicide resistance, which can occur when heavy reliance is placed on controlling diseases with one chemical class.

Contact your YieldPro Specialist today to get the most out of your yield in 2018. We’re always here to help.

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