Josh Lemke Farms
Josh Lemke Farms

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Winter landscape. February 18, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is February 28 and snow is still falling tonight as I write this.   Tonight the temperature will be between 0-5 degrees.   Winter still has a firm hold on Southern Illinois.   Spring officially begins on the calendar March 20th, but right now spring still looks to be a looooooong way away.  It has been a while since my last update, so let me recap for you………….

2014 proved to be another great year with record corn and soybean production.  We saw yields this year that you believe can be achieved but the possibility of achieving them is sometimes a stretch of faith for even the most seasoned growers.  There were many trips to the elevator to unload grain during the 2014 harvest.  Harvest consisted of many long days and a few very long nights, but it takes a big crop to make enough money to keep things together in a year like 2014 when prices fell to some of the lowest levels we have seen the last few years.   We are thankful to God for another bountiful crop year.   It was needed to make up for the drop in commodity prices.  We finally finished harvest right before Thanksgiving, but not before the first snowfall of the winter.   It was somewhat unusual to be harvesting when snow was on the ground.   We hadn’t done that in lots of years!   Thanksgiving was celebrated, and we all spent a little time catching our breath after another grueling year of planting delays, big crop yields, and a very busy harvest.   After harvest, I moved on to the task of looking at yields and harvest information.   I have never had to keep track of so many bushels before, and it proved to be a very formidable task.   December was spent closing out the books for the 2014 crop year and planning for 2015.  Most plans for the next crop year, in this instance 2015, have to be completed by January 15, 2015 in order to lock in products and secure financing.   I have spent more time book keeping this winter than any other year.   Throw in birthday parties (2 of our children have December birthdays), Christmas, New Years, and a few honey-do projects at home and December was pretty well over before I knew it.  Oh, I forgot to mention also trying to get a handle on the new farm bill in December.  I spent several hours attending informational meetings and many days trying to compile the information necessary to get enrolled in the new farm bill.  Then came January and our much anticipated Make-A-Wish trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

We left for Walt Disney World January 11 from Mid America airport in Bellville, IL.   For almost all of us it was our first plane flight ever, and we all had to agree (well…most of us) that flying is awesome!   We spent 1 week in Orlando at Give Kids the World Village enjoying all the parks and attractions (Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios) with our friends the Robinette family.  Kera Robinette is the brave young lady who donated a kidney to our daughter, Gabby, on March 13, 2014 (We are almost at the one year anniversary of the transplant already!!!)  This was not only our first vacation that required flight, but it was also our first vacation with another family that we were not blood relatives with.   It was a great experience.  I never thought I would say that about a trip with another family, but honestly we all had such a great time together.   The Robinette’s our forever part of our family now.   We had a great time running around Orlando with them.  The week we spent at Give Kids the World Village through Make-A-Wish was the most unbelievable experience.   Make -A-Wish is a truly great organization that really does make a child’s dream come true.  They do their best to give kids who are facing a life threatening illness and their families an unforgettable experience and a welcome relief from the stress and pressures that medical conditions often times place on a family.   I cannot say enough good things about our experience.   Please, if you get a chance, support their work.   They gave our family a trip that was forever memorable.  And can I also add that Walt Disney World is great.  I hope to have the opportunity to go back again.  

So after we spent 1 week in Orlando, we spent a second week in Florida just going to the beaches and seeing a few attractions along the way.   We visited the Kennedy Space Center, played in the Atlantic Ocean, watched the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico (twice!), visited Winter the Dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and enjoyed some time at the swimming pool at our condo.   The weather while we were there was great.   It was 65-70 degrees and sunny almost every day.   It was such a nice change of pace from Southern Illinois winter.

We arrived back home January 25.  The end of January and first part of February was spent finishing up the paperwork for the new farm program.  I am pretty sure that we killed a small forest with all of the paper that we used to get enrolled.  The rest of February has been spent getting ready for the 2015 crop year.  This upcoming crop year has required me to spend more time at my desk than ever before.   The costs to put out a crop now is higher than ever (think $300-$500 an acre in direct input costs and cash rent), and commodity prices have fallen so much the last 8 months that I have had to spend more time putting together a plan that will enable us to grow a good crop without wasting resources.  In other words, we have to find a way to remain profitable when 2015 looks very unprofitable at this point.   There is a lot of gloom and doom making its way through the agricultural community at this time as profit margins are getting squeezed.  I am, however, looking forward to the challenge this year brings.  I have found out from having a daughter  with medical issues that you never really truly know what you are capable of until you are put into a place where you have to “man up”, so to speak, or give up.  I am not a quitter.  I have learned through the trials of life to persevere with faith and hope that better things may be just around the corner if we just don’t quit!    These challenges and temporary setbacks force us to take a closer look at our business as well as our lives and help to make us people who are better equipped to handle the next challenges that life throws at us as well as giving us valuable experience that we can use to aid others walking through similar circumstances.   There is one thing in life that you can count on, and that is change.   Life and life circumstances are always changing, always unfolding much like the seasons.   With that being said, the dark and cold of winter will soon enough transition to the green and warmth of spring, and when it does I will update again.  When the planters begin rolling I will let you know.  Until then, enjoy the rest of your winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8/30/2014
 
Where has the year gone?!   I have spent very little time updating the website and very much time working this year.  Planting took place on every dry day possible (and on most days it was questionable as "dry" is a relative term) from April 23-July 7.   Spring planting ended the same day that wheat harvest began.  Wheat harvest ended and catching up on paper work ensued.   Paper work rolled into summer vacation.   Summer vacation gave way to prepping equipment for harvest, and before I know it fall will be here!   Planting finished up just as it started, muddy.    We started the year wet, and it has continued on up until now.   The wet weather made spring planting once again a race against the clock as wheat harvest began to approach in late June.   The crops went in the ground in less than ideal conditions, but overall the stands are good and fields are clean.  The wet weather continues to make the corn and soybean crops look very good but it really hurt the wheat crop.   Low test weights and high vomitoxin levels made the wheat a disappointing crop to harvest given it's potential earlier in the year.   Overall, yields were slightly above average, but the high discounts received at the elevators made for fewer dollars than expected.   The one bright spot, and maybe the most important factor, has been the cool, wet summer that we have had up until the last week.   We have had below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation which has made southern Illinois look strangely yet beautifully dark green and lush given that it is usually more brown and dry in August.   The favorable weather has made yields for both corn and soybeans that will be above average again this year.    The corn crop, while not looking as good as last year, still looks to have above average yield potential.   Hamilton County had its county crop tour last week and projected the county corn average to be 160 bpa.   I would say that is about right for most fields.   There will be some better and some worse but that is a good guess for now.   Bean yields are very hard to predict in this part of the world, but I would say that at this point 45-55 bpa will be pretty common.   Remember, unlike corn yield which is mostly determined at this point, beans will still need rain the next 2-4 weeks (add another 1-2 weeks for the double crop beans) to reach their full potential.    The bean crop looks as good as it has ever looked, but what we will find with the combine is ultimately what matters.  At this time I am projecting that corn  harvest will start on September 22.  Bean harvest probably won't start until closer to October 1st.   After that time, I will give an update regarding what we are finding in the fields yield wise. 

April 30, 2014

The countryside is starting to green up and the grip of winter looks to be over.   The trees are putting out leaves, and the yards are green and needing to be mowed at least once a week.   We have once again been blessed with many spring showers.   We had a round of storm early in April bring anywhere from 4 to 8 inches (depending upon location) in about a 24 hour period leaving fields gullied and muddy.   We did hire an airplane to spray our wheat crop in order to get it covered during the tight time window that we have in which to spray it.   The wheat crop survived the harsh winter and is starting to look very good.   The recent wet weather has stunted it in places, but overall the wheat crop looks average to above average.   It is still 2-3 weeks from heading out which would put it 1-2 weeks later than normal.   The cold winter definitely slowed its growth so it will be a little later than normal before we know its yield potential.  

Corn planting officially began last week and lasted 3 days before it rained us out.   We got ¼ of our corn crop planted but it has rained almost 3.5 inches since that time.   How good the stands will be given the recent wet weather are anyone’s guess.  The corn that we planted was planted into fields that had plenty of moisture to begin with (aka borderline too wet).   We have not planted any soybeans yet.   We will be back in the fields to finish up planting as soon as the weather allows.   As of now that looks like next week sometime.   In the meantime, we are busy prepping equipment to finish out planting and getting harvest equipment ready for wheat harvest.   A few more rains will cause spring planting to roll into summer wheat harvest very quickly.   We are constantly making sure that our equipment is ready to run as efficiently as possible as it seems like the time frames in which soil and weather conditions allow for field activity to be completed are becoming increasingly smaller. I will update again as spring planting progresses.  

One more item:   Both my daughter and her kidney donor are doing fantstic.    Praise God!


March 19, 2014

 

Winter is slowly giving way to spring.   The wheat is starting to green up and it looks like it has survived the very long cold winter.   Temperatures are stuck in a swinging pattern for now. A few warm days followed by some cool ones.   At this point spring is looking at least 2-3 weeks behind the last 2 years pace.   Presently, it looks like another 2-4 weeks until spring planting season.   We are still busy prepping equipment.   We have repainted two tractors with one more to go, and we are almost in the homestretch of building a 60 foot 47 row bean planter.   This planter has been about 8 months in the making and is being built to allow for faster planting with increased accuracy and efficiency.   The only other item (and most important) to report is that my daughter has had her kidney transplant due to the selfless sacrifice of a friend of our families. This friend willingly gave one of her kidneys so that my daughter could have a better life.   This winter I have learned much about giving, grace, mercy, and selfless sacrifice through this experience.   It has changed our lives forever.   How fitting for it to be right on the cusp of the new life changes associated with spring.   I will update again in another month.  

February 15, 2014

 

I choose this picture to start out this post because it is a good representation of what we do all winter: work on equipment. The first month and a half of this new year has been spent servicing equipment in ordered to be prepared for spring. We are currently in the process of repainting two tractors as we work on them in our free time or in between projects for which we are waiting on parts. We have also spent this winter formulating and implementing some change to our farming practices to include more wheat and corn into our cropping rotations. We are doing this for two main reasons: profitability which leads to long term financial stability and conservation of the soil which we farm. Both wheat and corn can be profitable crops in this area but equally important is the large root masses that both crops put into the soil which can help to hold it in place during what seems to be the commonplace flash flood type rain events that seem to occur a couple of times each year. These cropping changes have necessitated some equipment changes which in turn has lead to more time spent in the shop over the winter. I am not complaining, however, because the shop is heated which has made it a much more pleasant place to be than outside this winter. So far 2014 has been extremely cold and snowy. January was one of the coldest we have had in this area in the last 25 years.   We have had several night this winter with below zero temperatures. This has led many people to question the ability of the spring wheat crop to survive these cold temperatures. The cold temperatures have made the wheat look very bad.   It went from green to dead brown in what seemed like a few days after the very cold temperatures we had. As for whether or not it will be alive and start to green up when warmer spring temperatures arrive is anybody’s guess including mine. As I tell those I talk to, only time will tell and there is nothing we can do about it anyway so no need worrying about it.   I will update again as we start transitioning from winter to spring and let you know if the wheat is going to survive.   As I close this post, I want to let you know about the most important event happening around here this winter. Our oldest daughter, Gabby, is having a kidney transplant on March 13, 2014 due to an awesome friend of our family donating one of her kidneys to Gabby.   Gabby has been on pd dialysis for two years now and our family has long awaited this day.   At a later date I will post the story of what has transpired over the last two years, but for now I just wanted to let you know about the most important event occurring on our farm this winter.   I will update again when winter starts to lose it grip on our area or when Gabby has her transplant whichever occurs first.   

Decmber 24, 2013

 

Merry Christmas and happy new year to you and your family!  Thank you for letting us partner with you for another growing season.   We look forward to the opportunities that the 2014 growing season will bring.  

 

                                       The Lemke's

December 2, 2012

 

Another crop year has come to an end.   We finally finished harvest on November 19.    I have started going over the yield data and it is official: 2013 ended up being the exact opposite of 2012.   2012 saw our very worst crop yields ever while 2013 ended up being some of the best wheat, corn, and soybean yields that we have ever had.  Overall the fall harvest weather was good.   We only harvested a few days in somewhat muddy conditions.   We also had good weather for wheat sowing this fall.  All the wheat that we planted has a good stand and is well established as we head into winter.  The only stumbling block that we had this fall was getting the crops to dry out.   We did not harvest one load of dry corn all fall.   Most of the corn we harvested was somewhere around 20% moisture.  That is very unusual for us as we like it to be 18% or less before we harvest it, but this year we would still be waiting for the corn to get to that moisture, and the yields were too good to leave the corn stand in the field and risk losing the crop.   The month of October was plagued with very wet mornings which made the crops wet until midday on most days.   November, not generally known as prime harvest time, ended up having some of the best harvest weather that we had all fall.  Now that harvest is over, it is time for us to start planning for next year.   I will update again as the new year rolls in.   I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving and are anticipating Christmas with your friends and family.  Let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.      

October 19, 2013

 

We have officially been harvesting for just a little over 3 weeks now.   We have harvested almost 1000 acres of corn at this point.   We have not harvested a single field of dry corn yet.   The moisture is ranging from 17 to 24%.   The yield on every corn field has been just about where we thought that it would be.   So far this year a poor yield is 150 bushels/acre.   Most fields are falling in the 170 to 200+ bushel/acre range.   The beans are the big suprise at this point.   We have harvested almost half of our full season soybeans, and the yields have been suprisingly good.   The yields so far have been 35-50 bushels/acre.   That is much better than I anticipated over a month ago.   The double crop beans look very good right now as well.  We should get into a few of them within the next week or so, and I anticipate that they could be almost as good as the full season soybeans.   We have almost finished sowing wheat.   We will finish the last 35 acres Monday morning.   So far we have had great fall weather.   There have been several minor rain outs but no big rainfall amounts at this time.   The only difficulty we have had lately is finding weather that is conducive to soybean cutting.   Most mornings we awaken to find a large dew which delays the start of bean harvest until 10 to 11 am every morning.  We should have harvest almost half completed by this time next week, so we still have about 4-5 more weeks to go.   I will most likely not update again until harvest is close to completed.   Thanks for your patience and understanding as we work to wrap up what looks like a great crop year!       

September 7, 2013

 

We recieved 2 tenths of rainfall last week on most areas that we farm.   It was nothing more than a teaser at this point.   The lack of any real significant rainfall the last 4 weeks has taken a toll on the bean crop.   The full season beans have went from being an average crop to quickly falling below average.   Yield estimates on full season soybeans right now given the dry weather we have had and the dry forcast that is anticipated ahead range from 25-35 bushels per acre.  Hopefully, they can be better than that but right now I am anticipating them being well below average while hoping that they can be better than that.  There is still time for the double crop beans to be much better than the full season beans at this point, but they too are going to need some substantial rainfall in the next 10 to 14 days or they could fair much worse than the full season beans.  As you can see from this post, the bean yield in our area is quickly deteriorating.   The only thing that can revive it at this point is 1 inches or more of rain.

 Hamilton County had it's crop tour this week and the county average on corn came in around 156 bushels per acre.   Honestly, it was a little lower than I had anticipated.   While I think the dry weather the last month has taken some of the top end off of the corn crop, I am anticipating that our corn crop this year will be better than the county average.  All the corn is starting to black layer so the full yield potential is almost set at this point so barring a natural disaster I feel pretty confident giving some yield predictions.  We have yield checked most fields, and they range from 150 to 200+ bushels per acre.   There may be some suprises hidden out there in the field that I don't see right now so I don't want to get too specific, but as of today I think that our corn crop will average somewhere in the 165 to 185 bushels per acres range.  

This year looks to almost be an exact reversal of last year.   Last year we had single digit yields (lots of 5 bushel per acre or less) on corn while the later planted beans (that could survive) yielded average to well below average but at least some of them registered a yield.   This year it looks like the early planted corn will be exceptional while the beans as of now will be aveage to below average.   Check back with me in a couple of weeks for the next yield prediction on soybeans.   As I said earlier, it is settting up to look like the exact opposite of last year.   It looks like we could have a very good corn crop and potentially a very awful bean crop.   Time will tell.   One more thing.   There are a few combines (very few) rolling in the area (very slowly), but I have not heard any yield reports yet.  It still looks like harvest will not be in full swing until sometime around October 1st.   There will be some fields harvested before then but the vast majority of crops will not reach maturity until that date.  

August 27, 2013.

August 28, 2013

What a difference a month makes.   It went from everything being lush and green with phenomenal yield potential to crops starting to ripen and change due to a lack of rainfall.  It has been 3 weeks since any significant rainfall on most of our fields.  Some of the top end yield has been subtracted from our corn crop due to the lack of rain and hot temperatures we have had recently.   The last week has been our hottest week of the year as far as temperatures go.   Corn yields will still be above average, but they will not be what they could have been which was way above average.  I project that most corn yields in our area (Hamilton County) will range from 145 to 180 bushels per acre.  The county yield tour will be next week, and I will pass along thier estimates when I recieve them.  Corn is starting to go into the ugly stage where it is turning from green to brown.   I still project that it will be late September  or early October before harvest gets into full gear.  The bean crop is right in the middle of creating yield at this point.   They have tremendous yield potential, but they too have probabely been hurt by the recent dry spell.   The full season beans are presently setting and filling pods.  The weather the next two to three weeks will determine the final yield for the full season beans.   As of now I still feel that the full season beans could be above average, but each passing day of hot temperatures and no rain is subtracting yield.  How much it is subtracting is yet to be determined.  As of today the 6 to 10 day forecast does not look favorable for having an above average bean crop.  Double crop soybeans look excellent for the most part.   They are experiencing rapid growth.   The hot, dry weather was just what they needed.   They can easily handle this hot, dry weather as they are one month away or more from filling or setting pods.   Overall, all crops still look good.  As a farmer it is always hard to watch any yield potential slip away.  This year we have done a very good job of controlling all of the factors that we can control like planting, weed control, and insect control just to name a few.   We have done all that we can at this point to achieve maximum yield.   Now it is time for us to spend the next 3 to 4 weeks preping equipment for harvest and fall work.  As always weather will be the final factor that determines the size of this years crop.             

July 30, 2013 It is raining and the temperature is 75 degrees. Everything is a lush green. It is the exact opposite of last year both in moisture and temperature.

July 30, 2013

I appologize for the long delay since my last update.  We started planting corn May 1 and we did not finish replanting the last of our soybeans until July 15.  It was a very difficult spring trying to get crops into the ground between rains.  We ended up replanting almost 20% of our corn and bean acres as torrential rains at times made planting progress nearly impossible.   Corn planting wrapped up on June 14, and full season bean planting was completed on June 20.   We planted every day that we could (and some that we shouldn't have) from May 1 to June 20.  June 20 also marked the first day of wheat harvest.   Wheat harvest like spring planting was also plagued with heavy rains.  It took us almost 3 weeks to harvest our wheat crop as we spent many days rained out.  The rains were welcome even though they did bring down wheat quality because on June 20 we began planting double crop soybeans with zero chance of them coming up due to lack of moisture in the top 2 inches of the soil.  This spring was fraught with many challenges mostly due to the abundance of rainfall.  Just about the time the ground would be dry enough to plant then it would rain again.   It is at those times that farming becomes extremely challenging mentally.   Looking back now we are grateful for the rain as we were able to get all of our acres planted, and even though they are late they look extremely good.   After experiencing last years drought, we determined that even though it can be difficult to work around ample rainfall, without rain it is impossible to grow a crop.  The spring rains made the wheat crop to be the best that we have ever harvested, and it looks like the corn may be in that category as well.   It is still too early to make a definitive call on the soybean or corn yields at this time, but I will say that as I write this update it is raining and everything outside looks beautiful and green like it is late April and not late July.  Right now it looks like the corn crop will be above average.  Just how far above average it will be is dependant upon the weather the next 3-4 weeks.   The full season soybeans are hard to make a call right now as far as yield.  The earliest beans are just starting to set pods, and the later planted ones are about knee high.  Over all the bean crop has good potential in spite of the fact that they were planted late and have been very difficult to keep clean.  Controling weeds in soybeans this year has been almost as challening as working around the rains.  The weather during the month of August will be critical in determining both bean and corn yields this year.  The double crop soybeans have a great stand, but they range anywhere from 4 inches tall to thigh high.   If they can beat the first frost they have the potential to be very good, but they will not be maturing for another 2 months so it is hard to get excited about them.  One thing is for sure, the fall harvest will be a long drawn out affair as corn harvest will start sometime mid to late September but the double crop soybeans will not be ready until November.  I will update again in about one month.   At that time we should be able to make a pretty definitive call as to the corn yield. 

April 24, 2013

It is looking like it will be May before any corn is planted on our farm.  Last night we got another 3/4 inch of rain which may potentially be followed by another frost tonight and more rain early next week.  It has been almost 2 weeks since we have done any field activity.  The weather has been wet (we have had over 3 inches now) and cold the last two weeks.  There has been some corn planted in the area, but it has been done in limited amounts.  We have finally gotten our equipment ready to go as we have had some time to try it out between rains.  We could have planted last week but it was hard to get excited given the wet and cold weather forcast.  Hopefully we will get some corn planted by my next update.  The one bright spot is the wheat crop.  It still looks very good, and I project that it is one to two weeks from starting to head depending upon the temperatures.  The ample rain has ushered in spring here in southern Illinois.  The landscape is painted a beautiful green which is a color we didn't see much of given last years drought.  Planting may be started later than normal this year if the rain doesn't subside very soon, but farming is just like anything else in life in that the start is not as important as the finish!

The view from my sprayer

4/13/2013

Spring is finally here in southern Illinois although we are still bouncing from warm to cold temps every few days.  While we have not planted any corn yet there has been some planted in the area.  There has been much more prep work done for spring crops than anything else at this point.  There has been a lot of ground worked, and it is waiting to be planted as soon as it dries back out.  We spent the last week taking care of the winter wheat crop.  We have made our herbicide application as well as another shot of liquid nitrogen.  We planted almost 40% of our acreage to wheat last fall so it will keep us very busy until harvest sometime in June.  At this point the wheat crop looks excellent.  It looks as good as one could hope for.  It is really starting to grow.  The 7 tenths of rain we recieved earlier this week was just perfect to get the nitrogen worked into the soil, and the wheat will experience a rapid growth within the next two weeks.  At this point, it looks like corn planting will be in full swing as soon as it dries up which may be Tuesday of next week or so.  It all depends upon rainfall and temperatures.  We have went from highs right around 80 degrees Wednesday to this morning it was below freezing with frost.  The temperature rollercoaster is keeping us from getting super excited about putting much crop in the ground yet, but it won't be long now!

March 24, 2013 snowfall

March 25, 2013

 

Winter refuses to lose its grip here in southern Illinois.  Last week saw mostly below normal temperatures and much the same is forecast for the first part of this week.  There is a possiblility we could get some more seasonal temperatures later in the week.  So far not much has changed since the last update.  The wheat is about the only thing growing although some winter annuals and trees are starting to show signs of life for the first time this year.  With a few warm days spring would kick into high gear.  We are continuing to prepare equipment and waiting for those warm spring days to arrive.  I hope that you all enjoy the upcoming Easter holiday as we celebrate our saviour Jesus and his victory over death.  While I greatly enjoy my life and occupation, I am thankful for the price that Jesus paid, and the knowledge that the end of our days here on earth are greeted by a welcome into heaven where we will have an end to our earthly struggles!

 

March 16, 2013

 

We finally enjoyed two nice days this week where the weather was warm enough to get outside and start putting the finishing touches on the spring planting equipment.  Spring is coming much later this year than last year.  This time last year we were spraying herbicide on wheat.  This year I project that we are still two weeks away from that application.  The wheat is starting to really green up now, but it is the only sign that spring is on its way so far.  With the current weather forecast, I project that there will be no March corn planted in this area in 2013.  Last time I checked the soil temperature it was still in the forty's, and we have had the ground slightly frozen on the surface most mornings this week.  It is still very moist and much too cold to think about planting at this point.  On another note, yesterday was the deadline to declare whether or not one wanted crop insurance coverage for the 2013 crop year.  Last year crop insurance was a life saver, but hopefully we will not be dependant on it as our major source of income this year.  A farmer is the eternal optimist!

March 7, 2013

 

I saw my first Daffodils in bloom this past week.  It is now about 30 days or so from planting, weather permitting.  The month of February brought some cold weather that finally stopped the growth of the wheat crop which is a good thing.  The wheat crop looks good so far, and it should be ok as far as winterkill goes as the coldest months are behind us now.  We have had ample rainfall this winter.  Bountiful rainfall combined with our below normal tepmeratures make this a completely different looking year than 2012 already.  We were already in the field this time last year applying herbicides.  Last year the temperatures were warm and the fields were dry already.  In stark contrast, it just snowed about 1 inch 3 days ago here in Dahlgren.  We are outlooked for some warmer weather this weekend which should get us a little more motivated.  At this point unless the temperatures really warm quickly and the moisture subside, we are not looking at an early spring.  Right now it looks like a cool, muddy spring, but time will tell.  We are still in the process of getting equipment ready for the spring season.  Truth be told, we spend more time doing record keeping and bookwork as well as time in the shop preparing to plant and harvest the crop than we do time in the fields planting, raising, and harvesting the crops.  Every year we spend fewer days behind the wheel of our tractors and more days looking at a computer monitor.  Technology has drastically reduced the time it takes to do the actual labor of growing a crop, but it has significantly increased the amount and scope of preperation time it takes to get the crop grown. 

February, 6, 2013

 

The first month of the year has rolled on through and there are about 2 months left until farm equipment will begin to roll again.  We continue to service equipment as well as attend winter meetings in order to enter the upoming year with our equipment mechanically sound and ourselves informationally prepared.  Lately, rainfall has been plentiful.  There is plenty of mud to be found both in the fields and on the roads.  February generally marks about the middle of winter for us.  By the end of February, the temperatures are starting to moderate and the daylight hours grows longer.  February is filled with much time in the shop with a few teaser days where the temperatures are nice enough to bring us outdoors and get us excited about another growing season. 

January 22, 2013

 

Cold temperatures the last week have given us the opportunity to get the first round of nitrogen on the winter wheat crop.  By the close of the day, the first shot of nitrogen will have been applied to all our wheat acres.  It is a little early as far as the timing of this application, but you have to take advantage of opportunities when they are presented, and frozen ground made this an excellent opportunity.  The colder temperatures have made the wheat look a little burnt, but some warmer temperatures coupled with this nitrogen will have it looking lush and green when the springtime rolls in.  Aside from wheat care, this week finds us in the shop rebuilding our corn planter getting it ready for spring planting.  We are making several major changes to the planter this season which we hope will result in a noticable yield increase this fall.  I will give more details about the specific changes as we begin planting this spring.  We are very optimistic that these changes will result in more profit for us and the landowners that we do business with given a "normal" weather pattern this year. 

January 15, 2013

 

This past week has seen some much needed rain fall over the area.  We recieved almost 3 inches last week which really helped to recharge ponds, streams, and soils.  We also had temperatures by the weekend reaching 65 degrees on Saturday which then plumetted to 28 degrees by Sunday afternoon with rain giving way to ice.  Fortunately, it was a light icing event.  The warm temperatures and rain really made the winter wheat crop green up.  The wheat looks really good and its bright green color stands in stark contrast to the dull grey and brown of the rest of nature during winter.  The winter wheat crop never ceases to amaze me in the fact that it can endure the extreme temperatures of winter and still look so bright and beautiful.  It reminds me that no matter how challenging our life circumstances may be that we can, like that wheat, endure if we just hang in there and don't give up. 

January 7, 2013

 

This week finds us working on equipment as well as making crop production plans for the 2013 crop.  The first couple of weeks of January are always busy as we try to juggle the management aspect of preparing for the next crop with the physical labor of getting the machines ready to plant and care for the crop.  Even though it is the middle of winter, the thoughts of spring planting are never far from a farmers mind. 

January 1, 2013

 

Happy New Year!!!

 

We hope that 2013 finds the temperatures moderate, the rainfall abundant, and the year "normal" as far as crop production goes.

Where to Find Us:

Josh Lemke 
RR 1 Box 81A
Dahlgren, IL 62828


Home Phone: 1-618-736-2025

Cell Phone: 1-618-924-0596

 

Email: jsngdlemke@hotmail.com

                        For our landowners:

This website has been constructed so that we can better communicate with you about current crop and weather conditions.  We hope that you enjoy it, and please feel free to offer any suggestions if there are items that we can add to the site to better serve you. 

Want to know local grain prices?

Click Here.  Just type in area code 62828 to get local grain prices from Cargillag.com

 

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Click here to see local radar for Dahlgren and the surrounding area.

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