In the Midst of Planting

With more than 8,000 acres of wheat to plant, we are off and running. After about 1,000 acres seeded, the rain chased us home early.img_3926 

Isaiah 50: 8-10
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the shower and bread to the eater…”

In planted fields, the wheat is already coming up. img_3927img_3929Radishes are also coming up alongside the wheat to help maintain nitrogen levels and to aid in break up of hardpan. img_3928

June in Southwest Kansas

June has come and gone in a flurry of spraying, notill drilling, rain, bumper wheat crop, and international harvesters.
Soybeans, Milo, and Sorghum Sudan went in the ground as soon as the wheat was harvested. There is still a bit of wheat in the field, and some stubble left to plant. Having been blessed with 6+ inches of rain (less on some fields) this week, the field work has slowed.
Our custom wheat harvesters from Montana had a hard time finding locals to fill his crew so he filled positions with fellas from Hungary, S. Africa, Ukraine, England, & Mexico. This was a new experience for these international farm boys, and we enjoyed sharing our SW Kansas harvest with them. The wheat was plentiful, and kept the grain cart on the go, barely getting emptied into a truck and back out for a combine to fill the cart again. When about 1/4 of the field was cut, we would move in with to begin planting. This was quite the sight: 3 combines, grain cart, 3 trucks, and tractor & drill; all in the same field.2016-06-18 21.10.09Oldest son, Theron, brought his boys for combine and tractor rides.2016-06-18 16.49.52
Some verses in the book of Psalms seem very fitting for our reflections of the activities of June.
Excerpts from Psalm 147
Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.  
He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.
Praise the Lord.

Signs of Spring. 

Spring is here in southwest Kansas.  Not only does the calendar tell us so, but the fields and cattle make their point as well.

In February, the wheat was green and ready to break dormancy and grow.   

However, we had cold weather and snow late February and early into this month putting many things on hold.  We didn’t let the snow and cold keep us too cooped up.  Instead, we took advantage of an opportunity to work on projects in the shop. We built a portable ladder/stairway in order to access parts from storage above our breakroom.    

The finished product is coming in very handy. Our latest project was a pallet storage rack.  

 It is in our storage shed, giving us much needed organization and extra space.  This rack is big enough to hold up to 16 pallets, which will be used to stack things on.  

We enjoyed the time to get these projects finished, but are glad for warmer temperatures, sunshine, and to be back in the field. It’s time again for spring seeding, and we’re busy getting our oats planted.  

Along with planting, we’ve been spraying wheat fields for weed control.  

And of course, springtime means it’s calving season.  Our cows have started calving, so we enter another busy season between the fields and pastures.  

As we start this new season, we look forward to seeing what God has in store for our livestock and crops, as well as our daily lives and families, over the next months.


A Trip Around The World

Being a farmer, and in the custom farming business, there is never really a slow season. There’s always something that needs to be done. This is especially the case for us in the Fall. Many hours are spent in the fields. Many acres are planted. And many miles are covered in the tractor.

It’s wheat planting season for us right now, and in addition to our rented and owned land, custom planting is a big part of our operation. Since starting our Fall planting in the end of August, we have planted over 7000 acres. I mentioned this statistic to one of my employees and he asked if I ever wondered how many miles that was equivalent to.

IMG_0380.JPGI had never really put much thought into it, nor figured it up, but he was already a step ahead. 7000 acres planted equals 1500 miles. Wow! It didn’t take me long to realize that that is like planting a strip of wheat from our farm in southwest Kansas to the farm I grew up on in southeast Pennsylvania.

This got me wondering how many acres it would take to drill around the globe, so I started to do a little math. There are 25,000 miles around the globe and 4.8 acres in a mile. Multiply them together and we have 120,000 miles. In the past 10 years since we started no-till drilling, we have covered pretty close to that, so we’re coming down the homestretch of our trip around the world.

IMG_0199.JPGWith our equipment, we are able to not only plant the wheat, but spread fertilizer simultaneously. People like the efficiency of planting and applying the fertilizer over the field in just one trip. The demand for our services keeps growing, so it shouldn’t be long before we finish our trip ‘around the world.’

Looking Ahead With Joy

You take care of the land and water it; you make it very fertile. The rivers of God are full of water. Grain grows because you make it grow. You send rain to the plowed fields; you fill the rows with water. You soften the ground with rain, and then you bless it with crops. You give the year a good harvest, and you load the wagons with many crops. The pastures are full of flocks, and the valleys are covered with grain…Everything shouts and sings for joy.
Psalm 65:9-11,13

IMG_0327.JPGAs the Autumn season is upon us, days are becoming shorter and temperatures cooler. There are many things we are looking forward to…fall harvest of milo, sowing crops for spring harvest, watching the wheat peek through the soil….We enter each season thankful for a fresh start and are reminded of God’s faithful promises and provision. We eagerly await what HE has in store once again.

What’s been happening?

As you all understand, weather has a large impact on our crops’ growth and yield. Sometimes the end result is prosperous, other times it’s low, resulting in a crop not worthwhile. Last winter we had an extremely dry and cold season. Due to the extremes, some crops struggled, causing us to make changes in our crop choice.

Due to the winter kill from chilling temperatures, the canola came out of dormancy with only a thin stand. However, the wheat in the same circle was not affected by the cold. This is the second year that the canola only yielded about 25% of what the wheat in the same circle made. Therefore, we are reluctantly going to drop canola from our crop list.

Wheat harvest came in a couple of shifts this year. The harvesters cut the irrigated wheat which did much better than last year.

IMG_0214-0.JPG About this same time, we started getting some rain, putting dryland cutting on hold. The rain was too late, obviously, to help the wheat, resulting in a weaker dryland crop yield than last year.

IMG_0213-0.JPG Regardless, we’re very thankful and will never complain about any amount of rain. As an added bonus, it is giving the dryland milo and feed a good start.

Currently, the majority of the Milo is headed other than a portion which was double cropped after the wheat was harvested.


The irrigated corn and milo are looking real good. On the other hand, the dryland milo is showing signs of moisture stress.



Due to the much appreciated and much needed rain, the drought situation in Kansas has greatly improved since last summer. Still, Meade County is by no means out of drought. You can see on the following maps a comparison of last year and this year’s drought impact.



Psalm 65:9 “You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it.”

Time for Change: Fall Harvest & Planting

Fall has officially arrived. This means shorter days, cooler nights, and crisper mornings. While some crops are coming to the end of their growing season, others are just beginning.

Fall harvest started in the sorghum fields.  We chopped the sorghum into silage, which was sold to a local farmer.2013-09-12 18.25.53Our bean fields changed color and matured evenly through the seasons as well, ending in their recent harvest.2013-09-07 11.17.492013-09-24 12.03.21We recently started harvesting our milo. However, due to a rain delay, we are only about 1/3 of the way done.2013-09-08 18.16.48While we have been busy with harvest in some fields, we’ve been putting in long days of planting in others.

The beginning of the growing season has arrived for wheat and canola. These crops give us the promise that although winter is approaching, spring will not be far behind.2013-09-21 16.34.06Last winter, we set up a Seed Tender to help with time efficiency.  We were able to fill the drill quicker and easier, speeding up the planting process.  We are really happy with how well it works.  With the seed bins on a gooseneck trailer we can easily go from field to field.2013-09-19 08.35.25As we plant, we simultaneously apply fertilizer.  This allows us to insert both into the undisturbed fields in just one trip.  It saves both time and fuel, as well as protects the soil from erosion.2013-09-18 17.19.42We planted the canola in the recently harvested corn silage field, and the wheat into the fallow fields.2013-09-07 13.43.45By leaving the corn stalks mostly undisturbed, the soil is more sustainable, and better able to hold in place, on windy days.2013-09-07 15.49.45While this season is filled with long days in the fields, we are reminded of God’s ever-presence throughout the change of seasons and cycles of harvests and plantings.

Genesis 8:22
“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winer, day and night, shall never cease.”

A Peek at the Greener Side

The last couple of weekends, we’ve been blessed to receive some much needed rain. The showers have been scattered so some fields are receiving more moisture than others. While some are still pretty dry, they’ve all received at least a little moisture. The showers have benefited our fields greatly as we currently have corn, milo, and soybeans growing for the fall harvest. Let’s take a quick peak at the progression of our crops.



These are a couple of our irrigated milo fields. We are pleased with how they are looking, as well as with our dry-land milo fields.

Our dry-land fields were planted later than the irrigated, resulting in later heading. Most of the dry-land milo has received some pretty good rain as well. Therefore, it’s looking like we have prospects of much a better milo harvest than we’ve had in the last few years.



We are very pleased with the look of this year’s corn crop, as well as the size of the ears. When the corn is ready for harvest, we get it chopped up for silage. We then send it to the local dairy to use as feed for their cows. By the looks of things now, the fields should make a lot of silage to send their way!



Last but not least are our irrigated soybean fields. They are also growing quite nicely this year. The soybeans prove to be thriving in the cooler and wetter-than-usual August weather.

Our fields aren’t the only things appreciating the recent showers. We are very grateful and enjoy seeing things green up. After the poor wheat harvest a couple months ago, we are especially encouraged by the way things are looking.

Deuteronomy 28:12
“The LORD will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands.”