Subscribe or Renew Membership Subscribe Renew

Farming Picture/Blog

BossHog's picture

Things are just getting started with the harvest out at Dad's and my Uncle's farms. I've started carrying around my digital camera quite a bit, and getting some pics of various thnigs we've been up to.

I know there are some folks here who have farmed or are interested in farming. So I wondered if you'd like to see a sort of "picture blog" of the harvest as it goes along.

I don't know that I could post something EVERY day. But I'm sure I could update it several times a week. I could keep it going until we were done, or interest in the thread waned.

Here are a few examples

There's a lot of work that goes into getting the equipment ready before you go to the field. Here's a shot of work on the corn head. For some reason, this ended up being like a state road crew job - More people watching than working. (-:

This shot is Dad pulling into a soybean field for the first time. I don't know why he decided to start on beans first.

His combine is REALLY old - It's an MF510 made around 1970 or so.

Last night we finally got a cornfield opened up at my Uncle's place. This is a shot of Carl pulling the first loaded wagons over to the dump pit.

I hope to sneak out of work a little early today and see what's going on again. If y'all are interested in this I'll keep it going.

Q: What do women who are snipers in the French military use as camouflage?
A: Their armpits.

(post #129210, reply #1 of 4652)

Yes, please!  Keep them coming.  (I wanna see your dad's livestock sometime, especially the sheep...)

(post #129210, reply #2 of 4652)

"I wanna see your dad's livestock sometime, especially the sheep..."

Thankfully, Dad no longer has sheep. I always hated those things.

Both Dad and my Uncle still have cows. Don't know why you'd want to see pictures of 'em - They all look about the same to me. But I'll give it a shot next time I'm around them.

Show me a good and gracious loser, and I'll show you a failure. [Knute Rockne]

(post #129210, reply #3 of 4652)

What was the surprise about him starting in the bean fields?


"When asked if you can do something, tell'em "Why certainly I can", then get busy and find a way to do it."  T. Roosevelt

"Put your creed in your deed."   Emerson

"When asked if you can do something, tell'em "Why certainly I can", then get busy and find a way to do it."  T. Roosevelt

(post #129210, reply #4 of 4652)

I just thought he'd get the corn out first.

It looked to me like the corn was all ready, and only part of the beans are. Since switching back and forth between crops is a pain in the neck, I figured he'd go with the one he could finish up 100%.

Q: What English word has no equivalent in the French language?
A: Gratitude.

(post #129210, reply #5 of 4652)

A picture framing blog!  good for ya -

I was down your way for a few hours last weds - the Apple Improvement Assc had a meeting at Eckert's - I worked a full day Tues,  took off for O'Fallon,  got stuck in a semi parking lot on I-70 at Effingham for two hours - ended up taking the country route of 45 to US50 in the early morning hours - no fun at all -

but I did enjoy the drive on 4 from south of I-64 to I-70 - beautiful country and harvest underway -

it's been wet here,  most crops are still a bit green,  farmers figetting waiting to hit the fields -



"there's enough for everyone"
"there's enough for everyone"

(post #129210, reply #6 of 4652)

Wish I'd known you were so close - I might have been able to get loose and make a trip down there to visit.

If you're gonna be nearby again, drop me a line and I'll give you my cell number.

As long as a person doesn't admit he is defeated, he is not defeated . . . he's just a little behind and isn't through fighting. [Darrell Royal]

(post #129210, reply #7 of 4652)

if there would have been a spare moment in the schedule,  I would have let you know -

bunch of tired fruit growers carving time out of Oct for a project that may pay off for the kids -

about as intense a 28 hours,  home to home, as I've spent recently -

keep the picts coming - harvest is a special time -



"there's enough for everyone"
"there's enough for everyone"

(post #129210, reply #8 of 4652)

I'm surprised you dont' have to take the week off to help out.  How much acreage does your Dad farm?  All corn & soybeans?



"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
-- Carl Sandburg

(post #129210, reply #9 of 4652)

Actually, I have taken days or even a week off to help with harvest before. Trouble is, if you arrange for time off then it rains, you've just wasted vacation time.

Same with serious breakdowns, while you're waiting on parts - They can leave you without much to do and a lot of time to do it in.

Dad doesn't farm much anymore - He only has 125 acres at home. I help with with some things, as his hands are getting weak and it's difficult for him to lift stuff sometimes. But he does most of it himself.

I don't honestly know how much my Uncle farms. Maybe 600 acres?

He rent a lot of small places around the township, and has 10 (?) landlords. He has a part-time job as road comissioner, raises cows, and sells firewood and hay. (He's also the one who lost his right hand in a farming accident) So he can really use the help.

Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never . . . In nothing, great or small, large or petty. Never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. [Winston Churchill]

(post #129210, reply #10 of 4652)

Ah, I love work . . . I can watch it all day.


Seriously, thanks for the photos. I'm looking forward to watching the harvest come in (without the dust).


(post #129210, reply #11 of 4652)

Boss:    Back in my farming always got the beans out first...several reasons.

One....beans take on moisture every little rain....and you are limited on time.   The later in the season...the worse it gets for getting the beans dry enough .

Corn on the other hand doesnt take on much moisture from rains. Once the shucks are dry...the combines are rolling.

LP to dry the corn is expensive.  Why not let the corn dry down naturally while the beans are being harvested?

My first year of farming proved all the above.  We had 600 acres of beans and 600 acres of corn to harvest.

We combined the beans for only 3 days....and it rained all fall.  We easily got the corn out..but we had 300 acres of beans had  until January 10 when they finally freeze dried enough to harvest them.

Moral of the story taught to my by dad and experience....

Get the soybeans out when they are ready.  The corn has lots more harvesting opportunities. 

There are of course always exceptiongs....a severe case of stalk rot where the corn is going down....

EX- Farmer Stan....and I havent missed a day of it.  <G>

Edited 10/6/2006 8:02 pm ET by StanFoster

(post #129210, reply #12 of 4652)

We had another pretty good day at the farm tonight.

By the time I out there, they had put up electric fence around the corn field that we harvested last night. So Kate, here's your picture of some of the cows.

In the left center of the pic you can see the combine in the background starting a new field.

This is the tractor and a couple of wagons waiting for the combine to make space for me to park the wagons in the field.

This tractor is my favorite. (Except for my own tractor) Really pours out the smoke when you open that throttle. There's just something about the roar of a V8 diesel that I really like.

This fall is a bit odd in that we had late rains that made the alfalfa take off again. So my Uncle was baling alfalfa in the field next to where we were shelling corn.

My Uncle didn't think the bale accumulator would work well due to the shape of the fields and the fact that there weren't all that many bales. So we put it up by hand.

Fortunately the weather was beautiful - Probably about 65° and a light breeze. That was a good thing, as the hay was DANGED heavy.

Tomorrow I have to work in the morning. I'll be out at the farm in the afternoon and see what happens then.

Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell.

Baling_Hay.JPG113.17 KB
Cows_and_Combine.JPG101.1 KB
Hay_Wagons.JPG156.38 KB
Wagons_and_Combine.JPG50.17 KB

(post #129210, reply #32 of 4652)

Hay baling.

Dang. But if THAT doesn't bring back some bittersweet memories...

Ya see, our city neighbors in small town where I grew up, also owned and ran a family farm outside of town.  Whenever me and my next 2 older brothers were misbehaving badly enough; Mom would "volunteer" us to the neighbors to go "help on the farm".  Gave them free labor, gave Mom a break from us hellions.

Anyhow:  I did ok with hauling up the bales with those wicked bale hooks.  Twas middle older bro who got to horsing around and put the hook right into his shin one day.

Worst I got was a severe case of hay ITCH and my first clue what it was like to close your eyes at nite and swear you JUST DID and bam! it was morning and time to be back at it.

Farming is hard work.

Farm cooking though - ah! but that makes it all worthwhile! <g>


DUM SPIRO SPERO:  "While I breathe I hope"


 "I'm a work in progress; still learning every day!"

(post #129210, reply #33 of 4652)

I can remember baling hay back when the 4 of us kids were maybe 9,8,6, and 5 years old. Dad would run the tractor and baler. The 4 of us kids would pull the bales up on the wagon with the hook.

My oldest sister would hold the hook. We formed a sort of "Conga line" behind her, each one wrapping their arms around the waist of the person in front. The 4 of us would pull the bales up on the wagon and drag 'em back as far as we could.

When the wagon got full Dad would stop the tractor and come back to stack the bales. Then we'd go at it again.

Once the wagon got full enough that this was no longer practical, Dad would have either my oldest Sister or me drive. We weren't really old enough or skilled enough to be driving a baler. Dad would stack the bales while screaming instructions at the driver. It wasn't a lot of fun.

Since we didn't have a good well, we only got baths on Saturday nights. After baling hay we often went skinny dipping in the pond to cool off and clean up. (Sisters and all)

If someone did that now, they'd probably get arrested.

Speaking of "Hay Itch" - When we were skinny dipping once, one of my Sisters had to go. So she went over to the back side of the pond dam and did her business. Trouble was, there were weeds there that she was allergic to. So she got quite a rash in a rather sensitive place.

Farm cooking was always pretty good. Although we were poor, so there wasn't always a lot to eat. I told about that in a thread back in 2002:

At the feast of ego, everyone leaves hungry.

(post #129210, reply #34 of 4652)

morning BH!

Well I gotta be heading on out the door but gotta tell ya - I could READILY picture that Conga line ya described...and cringed at the description of your sis' run in with the weeds...

DUM SPIRO SPERO:  "While I breathe I hope"


 "I'm a work in progress; still learning every day!"

(post #129210, reply #35 of 4652)

...We weren't really old enough or skilled enough to be driving a baler...

we have a few acres of 'real' farm ground that I rent or sharecrop or whatever - neighbor Danny had it for a while and one spring we picked up rocks - Danny has a 580K backhoe and Danny had Matt, his 6 year old 'drive' the hoe (low-low) while he and I picked -

then Matt had to go to kindergarten - so Chris,  his 4 YO got to drive - he had to hang off the steering wheel to get enough pressure on the accelerator to make the machine move - but he did it -

farm kids -



"there's enough for everyone"
"there's enough for everyone"

(post #129210, reply #36 of 4652)

When I was 4 or 5, my uncles would put the big truck in bulldog and stand me up behind the wheel and have me steer between the rows of bales. When we got to the end of the row, one of them would jump in the cab and get the truck headed in between the next two rows and I'd keep it straight. By the time I was 6, I was driving the tractor with the tobacco setter on it. Couldn't turn too well, but I could keep it straight. By the time I hit 8 or so, I was big enough that I had to sling bales or set tobacco and I lost my driving job to the next youngest. That sucked.


"Let's go to Memphis in the meantime, baby" - John Hiatt.

(post #129210, reply #37 of 4652)

When I learned to drive the Ferguson tractor, I had to stand on the clutch and push up on the steering wheel to get the thing in gear.

Don't know how we kept from getting killed. I do remember running it into the barn once when I lost control of it. And almost flipping it over backwards when mowing a steep hill in the pasture.

My Brother and I used to let the tractor run without a driver when it was just the 2 of us picking up hay. We'd put the thing in low gear and get it headed roughly the right direction. Then we'd jump off and throw bales up to the guy on the wagon.

When the tractor started to drift a little we'd just walk alongside and turn it where we wanted to go. I'm sure OSHA wouldn't approve of that at all.


If you throw a cat out of the car window, does it become kitty litter?

(post #129210, reply #39 of 4652)

Hey Boss, timely thread. We traveled down 57 this weekend from the Chicago suburbs to Makanda. There sure are some beautiful farms in IL. Great weather over the weekend, lots of guys out working.

Anyways, I had a question that I think you already answered. Yeah I know, city boy.

Does the combine hold the corn or whatever until it is dumped in a hopper? I thought I saw some hoppers along side the combines when they traveled down the field. Sometimes the combine was out alone working.

Do the stalks get ground up and spit out the back? What about the cobs?

What else is grown in IL? The corn is easy, I think I know what soybeans look like but there were other things growing. Another type of feed grain?

(post #129210, reply #40 of 4652)

Dang, you do ask a lot of questions. (-:

Let me work on them one at a time.

"Does the combine hold the corn or whatever until it is dumped in a hopper?"

Yup - Every combine has a grain tank. The bigger the combine, the bigger the grain tank.

Here's a shot of a combine. I drew a blue line around the perimiter of the grain tank so you could get an idea of where it typically is.

Pride is what we have. Vanity is what others have.

(post #129210, reply #42 of 4652)

oh lord..

from a speedo to a thong...




Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming

WOW!!! What a Ride!

Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #129210, reply #41 of 4652)

"I thought I saw some hoppers along side the combines when they traveled down the field."

You're probably thinking of a grain cart that's pulled by a tractor..

Grain carts are used for 3 reasons.

First - The field is big enough that the combine can't get down to the far end and back without the hopper filling up. The grain cart will run alongside so the combine can dump as it goes along.

Second - To speed up the harvest. A combine can spend as much as 20% of it's time sitting at the end of the field dumping it's grain. If the grain cart runs alongside so the combine can dump, the combine almost never has to stop.

Third - To act as a buffer between the combine and the trucks hauling the grain away. If there's no truck there when the combine needs to dump, the combine has to stop. So instead he can dump in the grain cart and get back at it.

Here's a picture of a typical grain cart:

I'd give up chocolate, but I'm no quitter.

(post #129210, reply #46 of 4652)

When I was a kid, had to hide from uncles and grandad if I wanted any summer off. Also went custom cutting wheat from Oklahoma back to home area in Kansas, then into Nebraska.

When you talk about the size of the grain bin on a combine, we drove the truck along side the combine (13 or 14 years old the first time) to unload. Rather exciting in a bumpy field with no power steering.

Anyway, the new combines have such large capacity bins, they would have filled our trucks with one dump. Ours took 3 or 4 loads to fill a truck.
Now, they use huge trailers to haul the wheat since the combines can cut so much, so fast. Air conditioned, power steering, radios...Woweee.


(post #129210, reply #52 of 4652)

When I was really young, Dad had a pull type combine. It took 2 hoppers just to fill a pickup truck.

We used that and a one row corn picker for several years. Then my Uncle finally got a combine. That was really something - It had a 10' grain head and a 2 row corn head. It was an amazing thing.

Of course - Then we needed a bigger truck. The first one he got was a 1948 Chevy. That was a real trip to drive. Six cylinder engine and a one barrel carb. You didn't want to be in a hurry to get anywhere.

Eventually we got bigger and bigger combines as the years went by and the farms expanded. Many of the combine we owned didn't even have cabs. The one that DID have cabs often had no heat or AC. I didn't drive a combine with AC until about 12 years ago.

I always thought it would be neat to follow the wheat harvest up through the plains states. That's one thing I'd like to do before I get too old.

What was in those Scooby snacks, and why did Shaggy want them too? He WAS the only hippie-looking one in the bunch...

(post #129210, reply #53 of 4652)

I almost forgot about posting this one. I took it tonight on the way back from the farm.

If you've ever wondered why farmers clear fencerows and clear trees back away from their fields, this will tell ya why. Sorry the pic is a little blurry. It was almost dark when I took it.

Dad planted corn right up to within about a foot of the fence line on the right. But the trees sucked up all the fertilizer and water, so the corn fizzled.

Off to the left about 20' you can see the corn is tall and healthy. But the first 10' or so is a total loss. Not a grain of corn in there.

It's not ALWAYS this bad. It's a lot worse right here since it's been a really dry year.

Painting and f#cking a lot are not compatible; it weakens the brain. [Vincent Van Gogh]

(post #129210, reply #54 of 4652)

I always thought it would be neat to follow the wheat harvest up through the plains states. That's one thing I'd like to do before I get too old.

Run out and buy a motor home and a Lexion combine and offer your services for hire? :)

Noticed a short article, its results were no big surprise to me.  I always laugh when some slicker starts talking about how good farmers have it.  how they get a new dualie pickup every year and new this and that.  Feel like telling 'em, "OK bub, that may be true for a few of the larger operations, but for your run of the mill farmer it is a subsistance life with massive risks."

WASHINGTON - Small- and medium-sized farms are missing out on the largest share of federal research and grant dollars for agriculture, says a study released Tuesday.

Of $500 million spent on four Agriculture Department research and grant programs, only about 5 percent went to farmers with small- or medium-sized operations or beginning farmers, the Nebraska-based Center for Rural Affairs said.

Many projects that got funding "were essentially research and development initiatives for large food companies," the report concluded. Analysts looked at funding in 2001 and 2002.

In a statement, the Agriculture Department responded that two of the programs don't specifically focus on small producers; in fact, one is for public or nonprofit groups, not farmers.

And in one program, $1.5 million was set aside for smaller producers this year, the department said. The agency also created a $1.47 million grant program for small minority producers.

The nonprofit group argues the programs are crucial to traditional, independent family farms and ranches, which are disappearing across America.

In Iowa alone, the number of mid-sized farms, those with sales between $100,000 and $499,999, dropped 19 percent from 1997 to 2002, the center said. Nationwide, the average age of farmers has seen an annual rise of one year since 1997.

"Given the demographics of agriculture in America ... the inability of major USDA research and grant programs to address the topic of beginning farmers and ranchers is disappointing," said the center's Kim Leval, an author of the report.

The group called on the government to target family farmers and rural communities in awarding federal money and said each program should set aside money for beginning farmers and ranchers.

The programs are the Rural Business Enterprise Grant program, the National Research Initiative, the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems and the Value-Added Producer Grant Program.

Funding for ethanol and other biofuels is causing tension within the value-added program, the report said.

"Whatever benefits flow from ethanol and biofuel production will not generally flow to small- and medium-sized farmers as large-scale energy production will be dependent on large-scale grain production and will increasingly become corporatized," the report said.

The Lyons, Neb.-based center is funded by private foundations, national church programs, government sources and individual donations.


Center for Rural Affairs:


"All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own." -- Goethe


Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
-- Carl Sandburg

(post #129210, reply #55 of 4652)

Personally, I think farms are like any other business - Some do well, some are just getting by, others are poorly managed and are going bankrupt.

Every other industry in the USA has seen massive consolidations, buyouts, and bankruptcies. Why should farms be any different?


Regarding research grants, and why they go to bigger farms - I suspect that the bigger farms are more likely to have the staff to deal with research, and the smaller farms don't. That may be part of the reason. But it's just speculation.

There's too much blood in my caffeine system.

(post #129210, reply #56 of 4652)

Monday night I picked some ear corn. But since I was by myself I didn't try to take the camera along.

So here's a picture from a couple of years ago of Carl picking ear corn with the setup I was using. You can see ears of corn coming out of the top of the elevator and landing in the wagon.

Corn pickers don't have a grain tank like a combine does - You have to pull a wagon behind them

It rained a little last night and this afternoon, so no one was in the field. But inbetween showers Dad and I got my Uncle's grain drill and loaded it up with wheat. (MY Aunt took the picture for me)

The 2 of them share some equipment in order to keep their overhead down. They also buy the same variety of wheat from the same dealer so they don't have to clean it out after one of them uses it.

I'll have to see how much it rains tonight. If we don't get much rain Dad will start drilling his wheat in the morning. Then he has some work to do on his combine.

Didn't really get an answer out of my Uncle when I asked him what he had planned.

Bumpersticker: Honk if you see something fall off.

(post #129210, reply #57 of 4652)

They also buy the same variety of wheat from the same dealer so they don't have to clean it out after one of them uses it.

Is that a big deal, mixing varieties?  And how clean do it have to be when you change over?


"When asked if you can do something, tell'em "Why certainly I can", then get busy and find a way to do it."  T. Roosevelt

"Put your creed in your deed."   Emerson

"When asked if you can do something, tell'em "Why certainly I can", then get busy and find a way to do it."  T. Roosevelt

(post #129210, reply #58 of 4652)

It's not a HUGE deal to change varieties. But it's kind of a pain.

Let's say you want variety "A" in field #1 and variety "B" in field #2. That means that once you get done with field #1 you have to clean out the grain drill and put the other variety of seed in.

So if you don't change varieties it saves time and agravation. This way Dad and my Uncle can just fill up the grain drill and go at it. Whatever's left in the drill when one of them is done is just left in there for the other guy.

I once had a cookbook entitled, "When It's Smoking, It's Cooking, When It's Burnt, It's Done".