January 21st: This cold weather is really starting to get old.
Roger and I slipped down to Peoria, Il yesterday to attend a Precision Planting seminar. We left at 4 in the afternoon and what should have been a 4 hour drive turned into a 7 hour adventure. It was snowing when we left and the system followed us all the way to Peoria. The last 40 miles of driving on the interstate were possible due to the fact that we had a semi ahead of us that we could see the tail lights, otherwise it was a pure whiteout condition.
There were over 1100 producers from 23 states and 3 countries that attended. Precision Planting makes attachments for the planter that increase the accuracy of seed placement which in turn increases yield. What we learned was that this company has found a way to increase planting speeds from the traditional 5 MPH to 10 MPH with no reduction in quality of stand. This is accomplished thru some amazing technology that allows the seed to be placed accurately every time. Although it is an interesting concept, I doubt that we would be able to achieve 10 MPH on all of our fields. The main reason: “ROCKS”. On some of these fields we may start with 16 rows but would be down to 13 rows by the time we made one pass at 10 MPH. This was just a kickoff for this product and will not be available in mass until 2015. If you see us flying across our fields, it may not be just to beat a rain, but probably because we updated our planter.
We have started to load market hogs our of our Chickasaw Farms site. They have grown well on the new corn and are going to be right on target in the 270 to 290 pound range.
The rest of the time is currently being spent analyzing cashflows, reviewing crop insurance options, preparing taxes and other winter chores that need to be completed before spring. There is still fencelines that need to be cleared, but with drifts 2 feet deep near the trees and daytime highs close to 0, let alone the 20 below zero windchills, needless to say, this chore can wait for another day.