Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tribute to Dr. Norman Borlaug

I had hoped to report on harvesting this week, but weather is preventing that until next week.

Instead I am overdue to write about something much greater than any single harvest, the death of what I think is in my opinion the greatest "farmer", most likely the greatest man ever to live-Dr. Norman Borlaug. Dr. Borlaug is oftern referred to as the father of the green revolution.

At his Nobel Prize Award presentation it was declard that over a Billion (BILLION with a B) people have been saved from starvation due to his lifes work. To put that in perspective he has saved NINETY TIMES more lives than the 11 million Hitler had put to death during WWII.

It is really sad to me how few people know someone who saved 90 times more lives than Hitler took. I doubt that 1 in 50 kids under 20 have ever heard his name. He had the misfortune of passing a month after Michael Jackson and it was still wall to wall coverage of the singer's death.

The awards given to him are amazing.
1) Nobel Peace Price
2) Presidental Medal of Freedom
3) Congressional Gold Medal
4) Several other equivalent honors from Pakistan, India, etc.

A combination of awards only won before by 4 others including Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandella, and Mother Theresa.

If you have a few minutes here are some videos on YouTube very worth watching:

Iowa News Story of his Death: (3 minutes)

Short 7 minute biography. Fantastic!

Dr. Borlaug talks about hunger

10 minute Humorous Piece/Tribute to Dr. Borlaug from Penn & Teller (language not for kids)

You can read more about his life at Wikipedia at:

During the 50's Dr. Borlaug led the introduction of high yeilding varietes of wheat combined with modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan, and India. As a result of his work Mexico, which had many starving people due to food shortages. He recognized that the climate in Mexico could support two growing seasons and intruced short season hybrids that allowed them to produce two crops a year instead of just one. Mexico actually became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. In the 60's his work nearly doubled production in Pakistan and India. He did similar work with wheat in China and later with corn and wheat throughout Africa.

Dr. Borlaug dedicated his life from his early 20's to his death at 95 to increasing food quality and quantity for the world. At age 72, after many people would have retired he founded "The World Food Prize" to inspire food production. It is a Nobel like $250,000 award presented to the person who does the most to increase food production for the year.

Maybe someday his contributions will be known, I hope someday another like him will come along, but I doubt it.

"You can’t build a peaceful world on empty stomachs and human misery"-Norman Borlaug.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fall is here!

Harvest is going to be delayed 1 more week as the corn is just drying really slow. But there are so many other great signs fall is here.

Going to bed at night and hearing the dry corn rustlng in the wind, I love that and is always a sure sign. There are only a couple weeks a year where leaves are that dry before harvested, but it is such a soothing sound going to bed or when I wake up in the middle of the night. Seems I always forget about it until fall is here again.

Beans are starting to turn, that means about 3 weeks they will be ready.

If the weather cooperates and we don't get too much rain we are going to start corn next Sat for sure!
Maybe you have to be a farmer to appreicate it but I woke up this morning and just spent about 20 minutes drinking my coffee and looking out at the golden corn-easy to lose appreciation for things so beautiful when you see them every day.

On the business side of things I ordered a lot of my seed and fertilizer for next year, and input prices on some fertilizer was half of last year! That was a real pleasant surprise.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Harvest starting next week

Some early corn testing 20%, so will start it next Fri. Unfortuntely it is only a 6 acre test plot-but will give us a chance to test if everything is working ok.

We should be able to start around the 25th on the corn that did get planted early, majority of it won't be started before 1st week in October.

Our beans haven't started turning yet, but I see some are starting to show.

Julie and I were down in Alton area for a quick 15th wedding aniversary trip before harvest starts. Sunday afternoon I made it out to visit a friend who farms in that area and get some time on the combine-that got the juices flowing. They were picking corn about 21% moisture. Saw a couple beans fields in that area that are very close to being read.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Farm Show Season

This past week was farm show season. On Saturday Madison and I went to the 50 years of progress farm show in Rantoul, Il. It is really amazing!! There are (not exagerating) more than 1,000 tractors there-and many old ones running in the field. It was pretty neat to see some of the equipment I used to help my grandpa farm with when I was a kid.

The Farm Progress Show on Wed was an entirely different story. All the latest and greatest equipment was on display. The size (and cost) of this new stuff is staggering, but it sure is fun to watch. Below is a video of the newest largest Lexion combine shelling 16 rows of corn and unloading at the same time-the rate that is coming out of auger is amazing.

I posted a lot more pics of both shows on our website at:

Seeing the old and new equipment has my blood boiling to get started here, but the cold weather is just causing the crops to take forever to mature. There won't be much done in Central, IL before Oct 1. I will probably start slowly sometime between Sept 20 and Sept 27, but probably won't hit it hard before the 5th or 6th of October.

Of course we need to keep an eye on the stalks and if they start to have standability issues we will have to go no matter what the moisture-but drying costs continue to be really high and I sure would like to let it dry in the field as much as possible.

Beans are looking much better, the rain we got this week should help finish them off. My South farm got 2.5" but the North one only got 1/2". I have no idea on harvest time for the beans, but I will say with the headline fungicide we sprayed (which delays maturity) these will undoubtely be the the latest beans I have ever had in my short farming career.

In the next couple days I will start posting bi-weekly moisture tests, when it gets under 20 we will start least I hope we can wait that long.