Michigan Farm News

Field Focus from Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers

Field Focus

Sponsored by AgroLiquid Fertilizers

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Field focus 2016
Welcome to our 2016 Field Focus sponsored by AgroLiquid Fertilizers.

 

 

As the harvest season comes to an end, so does Field Focus, a series of reports from farmers all over the state.

This year your class of reporters were all involved in Michigan Farm Bureau’s ProFile class. The Professional Institute for Leadership Education is a 15-month program that develops people’s personal potential into strong leadership and advocacy, with an eye on helping them lead others to promote Michigan’s agricultural diversity.

Next year, we’ll have a whole new set of reporters. See you in the spring!

 


Jess & Chelsea Erler (Osceola County) 

jess erler and family Jess and his family run an equine business including show services, riding lessons and horse training. They also run a beef cow/calf operation.

 

 

All in all, 2016 was a really good year for us. Spring started with us thinking that we were going to have a dry year, but turned around to give us a very good first-cutting hay crop yield.  Cows and calves were able to be put out to pasture earlier than expected.

Our June and July rain helped our pastures exceed expectations. It also give our oats and second-cutting a needed boost for the coming dry weather. This was one of only a handful of years that our round bales were off the fields and in the barn before the fields started to grow again. Second cutting was not as big as of a harvest as we had hoped but was still adequate. Our oats gave us an awesome yield in comparison. Anything we had planned to maybe get third cutting from became pasture for the cows and calves.

Cattle prices really dropped this fall, but still paid the bills. Even with all the variables that we as farmers dealt with this growing season, we will have plenty of feed for winter for cattle and horses. Our horse and cattle operations were able to be joined on one property, as my wife and I made our first land purchase this fall.

Our little operation has grown so much this year, as our family has as well. Our daughter is getting so big. She started this spring crawling and now is running to play and learn about anything she can get to. She is growing up so fast. The Lord has certainly blessed us in ways beyond I could ever ask (and in better ways, too).


Paul & Nancy Pyle (Ottawa County) 

Paul pyle and family

Along with his family, Paul runs a 6th generation dairy farm in Ottawa county that has been in the family since 1848. In addition to caring for the milking herd and raising heifers, they grow corn, hay, wheat, and soybeans (and with his wife Nancy, is growing five kids.)

 

As I write this on the first day of November, we finished up corn harvest today, and took off our soybeans today too. Feels great to have those done! Corn yields were pretty average and beans were just above average. From the reports in our area, yields are about as spotty as the summer rains. 

It's really wet here now and several area combines are running with tracks on. Ruts are everywhere. It's going to be a challenge to finish spreading manure, but we hope to wrap that up by the middle of November. 

It's been a good year, especially given the lack of rain we had this summer. Once again it seems there is no such thing as a normal year, always a challenge in one area or another. 

Still we are certainly blessed. Not only with a good crop, but also for the opportunity to farm, to care for the land and animals, and to see God's handiwork on a daily basis. I hope you all have time during the upcoming holiday season to take notice of and enjoy all those gifts. Especially God's gift of eternal life through the life and death of his son. I pray that you are able to live in, and share, the joy and peace that this gift brings both today and throughout the coming year!


 


Andrew Heinitz ( Van Buren County) 

 

Andrew Heinitz

Andrew works for a farm that grows seed corn for Monsanto, commercial corn and soybeans.

 

No report

 


Sarah Lightner ( Jackson County)

Sarah Lightner

Sarah and family operate a custom hay baling and wrapping operation and raise hay, soybeans and corn. They also raise a small herd of cattle. Having a successful farm business operation allows Sarah to have a hobby job as a Jackson County Commissioner, which allows her to spend time serving her community.

 

The harvest season is upon us.  The planning season for planting 2017 is in order.  We have been blessed with more than enough rain in our county, though not always at the best time, which is resulting in not ideal yields.  

The hay season was very productive for our clients who made high- moisture feed, so the cows should be happy this winter.  

Cheers to an abundant harvest, fellow farm friends, and best of luck for the 2017 season! Enjoy your friends and family this Thanksgiving Season!


Kevin Messing (Huron County)    

 

Kevin Messing

Kevin is an Agriculturist with Michigan Sugar Company. He and his family also raise alfalfa, corn, wheat, soybeans, and dry beans along with a 250-cow dairy operation.

 

  

 

The fields in the Thumb area are starting to look bare. A lot of corn has come off in the last few weeks. Just like everything else, yields have been great, but prices, not so much.

With a favorable forecast for the first 10 days of November, most all of the corn and a good share of fall tillage should get completed. 

Sugar beet harvest is in a battle with warm weather. We started on the 24th of October and have already had a couple warm weather shutdowns, much like last year. In just one week of delivery, we've progressed from 25 percent to more than 60 percent harvested. Warm temperatures look to be our biggest obstacle to completing harvest, but we should be about done when everyone heads to the deer blind on Nov. 15.
 

Nathan Clarke (Midland County)

Nathan ClarkeNathan and his family raise corn, soybeans, wheat, dry beans and pickles. They also run a dry bean processing facility.

 

 

The 2016 growing season was not without its own set of unique challenges, and as the saying goes "a dry year will scare you to death and a wet year will starve you to death." I guess we can consider ourselves fortunate that dry rather than wet weather prevailed this year.

We started the season in April planting corn and soybeans in favorable conditions, and as a result had good stands. However, by May we were praying for enough moisture to plant dry beans and pickles, and did receive just enough to stay on schedule and keep the corn alive, although it was showing signs of stress.

The overall dry weather continued through the summer with the exception of a nice rain in July that saved our season in my opinion, and did not have a detrimental effect on our pickle crop, which ended up well-above average.

Black beans took the dry weather in stride and overall the yield was average and condition excellent. Corn is coming off slightly below average yield and in the high teens to low twenties for moisture, which is good news for drying. 

Overall 2016 has turned out far better than it could have. We have not experienced any major crop failures, everyone on our farm is healthy, and we are all looking forward to another season doing what we love in 2017. 

 Katelyn Thompson (Menominee County) 

Katelyn Thompson
                                                 
Katelyn and family run a beef cow/calf operation and produces farm signs and livestock award designs. She works with MSU Extension in Menominee County.

 

 

As we move toward the end of the harvest season, it has been a good growing year in the Upper Peninsula for most crops.  Menominee county diary framers had an excellent corn silage harvest this year with much corn grain for harvest as well.  Potato growers also saw a good year with good quantity and quality ending with wrapping up harvest a little earlier than usual.

Dry bean growers yields were more stressed this year with the short supply of rain in July. With normal to above-average forage production this year livestock producers should be heading into winter well stocked.

 

 

 

Field Focus

Sponsored by AgroLiquid Fertilizers

FF logo200


Field focus 2016
Welcome to our 2016 Field Focus sponsored by AgroLiquid Fertilizers.

 

As the harvest season continues, so does Field Focus, a series of reports from farmers all over the state.

This year your class of reporters are all involved in Michigan Farm Bureau’s ProFile class. The Professional Institute for Leadership Education is a 15-month program that develops people’s personal potential into strong leadership and advocacy, with an eye on helping them lead others to promote Michigan’s agricultural diversity.

 

 

 

 


Jess & Chelsea Erler (Osceola County) 

jess erler and family Jess and his family run an equine business including show services, riding lessons and horse training. They also run a beef cow/calf operation.

 

 

 

The leaves have begun to fall and raking season is upon us.  Maybe I will teach our little girl how to jump in the big piles of leaves.   

Not much has changed since I last wrote. The rain has kept us from completing a lot of our task at the new property.  The calves have been sold and are patiently waiting to get shipped.  We will start putting the equipment away.   There is plenty more wood that needs cutting before winter arrives.


Paul & Nancy Pyle (Ottawa County) 

Paul pyle and family

Along with his family, Paul runs a 6th generation dairy farm in Ottawa county that has been in the family since 1848. In addition to caring for the milking herd and raising heifers, they grow corn, hay, wheat, and soybeans (and with his wife Nancy, is growing five kids.)

 

 

The middle of October finds most farmers in Ottawa County in the middle of harvest. I'm seeing more beans off than corn, but both are making good progress.

Northern parts of our county have been quite wet. We've been fortunate to have avoided the majority of the storms, but it's wet here too. The rain plus warm weather means the wheat was up in less than a week! Looks good too. The rain has also kept us from spreading much manure. Hopefully soon.

Between low prices and a very pleasant election cycle, it's easy to become negative. After seeing so many young farmers at our county annual and on our board of directors, I believe the future of farming in Michigan is in good hands. Just remember amid all the chaos and unknowns who is ultimately in control and press on!  


Andrew Heinitz ( Van Buren County) 

 

Andrew Heinitz

Andrew works for a farm that grows seed corn for Monsanto, commercial corn and soybeans.

 

No report

 


Sarah Lightner ( Jackson County)

Sarah Lightner

Sarah and family operate a custom hay baling and wrapping operation and raise hay, soybeans and corn. They also raise a small herd of cattle. Having a successful farm business operation allows Sarah to have a hobby job as a Jackson County Commissioner, which allows her to spend time serving her community.

 

 

No report


Kevin Messing (Huron County)    

 

Kevin Messing

Kevin is an Agriculturist with Michigan Sugar Company. He and his family also raise alfalfa, corn, wheat, soybeans, and dry beans along with a 250-cow dairy operation.

 

 

 

Dry beans are all done, and soybean harvest is nearing the end as well. Soybean yields have been outstanding!

Most all of the wheat is planted in our area. A number of farms have moved into drying corn. Early yields have been good and moistures are low.

With another warm fall, drying corn should be relatively cheap. A lot of ground has already seen fall tillage as well. This is shaping up to be a nice fall in the Thumb area. 

We are slated to start the permanent pile of sugar beets around Oct. 24th. We have received more than 1 million tons this year and are nearing 25 percent completed as open harvest is upon us.

Sugars are climbing but are still lagging behind the average, while yields are good to excellent in my area. With some good weather, piling season should last about three weeks. I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!
 

Nathan Clarke (Midland County)

Nathan ClarkeNathan and his family raise corn, soybeans, wheat, dry beans and pickles. They also run a dry bean processing facility.

 

 

 

Mid October in central Michigan has been wet. All the rain we wanted back in June and July is now falling, making it difficult to finish dry bean harvest. Most of the neighbors have started soybeans, although there are a few fields around that aren't quite ready, and a couple of the neighbors are harvesting corn.

From what I've heard, the corn is coming off in the mid to low twenties for moisture and the yield is surprisingly good despite the dry summer. Soybeans and dry beans are all over the board as far as yield goes. The trees are in full color now and winter will soon be here. I hope everyone has a safe harvest. 

 


 Katelyn Thompson (Menominee County) 

Katelyn Thompson
                                                 
Katelyn and family run a beef cow/calf operation and produces farm signs and livestock award designs. She works with MSU Extension in Menominee County.

 

 

 

It was a wet start to this week (Oct. 16) but has turned quite nice the past couple days and even allowed for some farms to get a 5th cutting of alfalfa! Here in the UP, that’s a nice addition to what seems like a bumper crop this year in our area.

Corn harvest is moving along quite well with combining harvest expected to pick up here in the next week or two.

Spring-born calves and yearlings are on their way to sales across Michigan, or many will travel down to Waukon, IA for larger markets. Fall calves on the ground are looking good and appreciating the upswing in sunshine. 

 

 

 

Field Focus

Sponsored by AgroLiquid Fertilizers

FF logo200


Field focus 2016
Welcome to our 2016 Field Focus sponsored by AgroLiquid Fertilizers.

 

As the growing season continues, so does Field Focus, a series of reports from farmers all over the state.

This year we have an entire class of reporters from the Michigan Farm Bureau's ProFile class. The Professional Institute for Leadership Education is a 15-month program that develops people's personal potential into strong leadership and advocacy, with an eye on helping them lead others to promote Michigan's agricultural diversity.

 

 

 


Jess & Chelsea Erler (Osceola County) 

jess erler and family Jess and his family run an equine business including show services, riding lessons and horse training. They also run a beef cow/calf operation.

 

 

When September began Chelsea and I had just completed our first land purchase. Thankfully it had good fencing on it so we only have a little bit of maintenance before moving the cows over to it.

Our next project on it will be to get it ready for working in the cold weather as it becomes our new base of operations. 

Third cutting is looking more and more like we'll pasture it as each day gets shorter and the mornings hold the dew longer. The calves have been sorted and weaned and will be shipped in November. Until then we'll feed them so they reach the target weight range. 

 


Paul & Nancy Pyle (Ottawa County) 

Paul pyle and family

Along with his family, Paul runs a 6th generation dairy farm in Ottawa county that has been in the family since 1848. In addition to caring for the milking herd and raising heifers, they grow corn, hay, wheat, and soybeans (and with his wife Nancy, is growing five kids.)

 

In my last report we were working on fourth cutting hay. The yield was much better than the previous two cuttings and came off very well.

We went right into corn silage harvest and finished up on the 13th. It was amazing!

After a dry summer, God provided the best corn crop we've ever seen! We put all our silage and haylage in big ag bags on a cement pad, and we ran out of room! We ended up leaving some corn in the field to combine later.
We are currently spreading manure and getting fields ready to plant wheat. We are very thankful for all the blessings we have been given and pray you all will have a safe and abundant harvest as well!

 

  


Andrew Heinitz ( Van Buren County) 

 

Andrew Heinitz

Andrew works for a farm that grows seed corn for Monsanto, commercial corn and soybeans.

 

 Seed corn harvest is still going strong.  

We've started winterizing irrigation, getting a jump on that before it gets cold.  We have also started fall tillage.

Disking corn stalks first, and then chisel plowing.


Sarah Lightner ( Jackson County)

Sarah Lightner

Sarah and family operate a custom hay baling and wrapping operation and raise hay, soybeans and corn. They also raise a small herd of cattle. Having a successful farm business operation allows Sarah to have a hobby job as a Jackson County Commissioner, which allows her to spend time serving her community.

 

 

Farmers have been busy chopping corn silage in our area.  

We have mostly finished up fourth-cutting hay and doing some random wrapping jobs.  Looking forward to harvesting beans soon as they are quickly turning colors.  Excited for harvest and sweatshirt weather!

 


Kevin Messing (Huron County)    

 

Kevin Messing

Kevin is an Agriculturist with Michigan Sugar Company. He and his family also raise alfalfa, corn, wheat, soybeans, and dry beans along with a 250-cow dairy operation.

 

 

Fall is in the air. While some of the recent mornings have been cool, we've still been seeing high temperatures during the day.

Mostly dry weather recently has really pushed along dry bean harvest, which is well underway. Yields are all over the board, but when it's all said and done, this year's crop should fall near the average in our area. Soybean fields have really come along recently, and combines should be hitting those soon too.

Wheat planting has started on some of the early harvested fields, and should really take off in the next couple weeks. 

The marathon that is corn silage harvest is coming along. Some custom harvesters are really pushing hard to stay ahead of the corn due to the dry weather. On our farm we have been waiting to start, but should easily have both soybeans and corn silage finished by Oct. 1.

If the weather stays dry, our wheat will go in the ground right behind the chopper, leaving just grain corn and field work to finish out the fall. 

Sugar beet harvest is progressing well and nearing 15 percent completed. Yields and percent sugar are slowly climbing. Finished field averages remain on pace with last year's record crop, but there is still a long way to go before harvest 2016 is in the books.

 

 

Nathan Clarke (Midland County)

Nathan ClarkeNathan and his family raise corn, soybeans, wheat, dry beans and pickles. They also run a dry bean processing facility.

 

 

Dry bean harvest is under way with a mixed bag as far as yield. Our early planted beans faced hot dry conditions during pollination and yield has suffered as a result.

Later-planted beans look much better, and we expect average or slightly above-average yields on those acres. Soybeans are ripening nicely and look to be a respectable crop, and corn is drying down nicely in the  warm weather.


 Katelyn Thompson (Menominee County) 

Katelyn Thompson
                                                 
Katelyn and family run a beef cow/calf operation and produces farm signs and livestock award designs. She works with MSU Extension in Menominee County.

 

 

The weather has been cooperating nicely for silage harvest, and farmers are seeing great yields.  

It really has been a great growing season here, and much better than last year.  

Some farms are considering 5th crop alfalfa, which is not the norm for this part of the state. 

 

 

Index

 

Blogs & Columns

 

Columns

Measuring operational efficiencies

Dollars and Sense

GreenStone FCS | November 9, 2017 

In today’s challenging economic times, it is more important than ever to monitor the operational efficiency of your operation.
 

Apply for building permits at your own risk

Law of the Land

Varnum LLP | September 19, 2017 

Matt ZimmermanIt is generally well accepted that a building permit is not required for buildings used for agricultural purposes if the building does not include retail trade.
 

Understanding operating loans

Dollars and Sense

GreenStone FCS | September 7, 2017 

Martin KarperskiFarming is a capital-intensive business, with land, equipment and facilities that can run into millions of dollars.
 

Tips to prepare now for H-2A next year

Law of the Land

Varnum LLP | July 6, 2017 

Kimberly Clark pngAs more employers plan to use the H-2A program, completing the following items this year will make an easier transition to H-2A employment.
 

Dairy: an unenviable position

Dollars and Sense

GreenStone FCS | June 6, 2017 

Ben SpitzleyThe dairy industry is facing a challenging time, a cyclical downturn that’s lasted longer than in previous cycles, and is expected to continue for at least the near-term.