Tom Maxwell and Mark Pettijohn

(Sam) Welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m your guest host, Sam Capoun. And with Kansas wheat harvest starting in central Kansas, we thought we’d set out and check it out. So on this episode we’re gonna meet with two farmers, as well we’re gonna hear the details of the Kansas Wheat Yield Contest, and we’re also going to hear from a custom silager. So, stay tuned to see what they have to say.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

(Sam) Welcome back. Now we’re in Saline County, Kansas. We’re gonna hear from Tom Maxwell and Mark Pettijohn. (Tom) I’m Tom Maxwell. I’m District Extension Agent for Central Kansas Extension District, which is made up of Ottawa and Saline counties here in central Kansas. My role as an extension agent is to certify the acreage and the harvesting of the plot contest which is sponsored by Kansas Wheat. The contest specifies that a farmer’s wheat cut is a minimum of five acres, which is measured. And then we haul the grain to the elevator, it’s weighed there and the yield is calculated on the contest plot. (Mark) I’m Mark Pettijohn, we’re in Saline County, cutting the first wheat field of the year. This wheat is Everest variety, planted October 7th of 2014. And it had two split rate applications of Twin Line, one was six ounces in April, and one was eight ounces in May, on May 1st. And it was also wheat last year, so it went wheat, fallow, to wheat again now. And we’re entering this seven acres that’s remaining into the Wheat Contest. It was averaging 77 for the field when I was just in there. So, it’s doing pretty good. About 15 days ago I went around and walked every field on a Sunday. It took five hours and I walked almost every field and tried to get a walking point of view. I already had a sprayers point of view looking down at the crops and I knew where the weeds were and where the drowned out spots were. But I wanted to know where I could find five acres suitable for the contest that was extraordinary. And I actually found five fields. I couldn’t decide which ones to pick from so I entered all five. We’re cutting right next to where I live now. We just came from a field that was entered into a Saline County Yield Contest and the final numbers there were 83.92, quite a bit better than what I thought even when I woke up this morning. I’m really happy. This is a different variety of wheat that we’re cutting here, but it was treated the same with two split rates of Twin Line Fungicide, early April, 30 days later, early May. Received a lot of rainfall of course. And was planted in mid-October. This particular field was soybeans last year. As a matter of fact it was entered into the Soybean Contest and won the District. And like I said, was planted in mid-October, which is really the perfect date for our location. And all indications on the first round is it’s doing really good. I hate to say what it was showing, but it’s probably going to make well over 60, maybe 70 if we’re lucky I would guess. There’s some drowned out spots on the east end. (Sam) Stay tuned. After the break we’re gonna hear from Dwight Faulkner and Mark Pettijohn about the contest field in Dickinson County, Kansas.

(Sam) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m your guest host Sam Capoun. Now let’s hear what Mark has to say about his plots in Dickinson County. (Dwight) Hello I’m Dwight Faulkner with Tallgrass Commodities. Typically we’re in the office moving feed byproducts, but today I had the opportunity to work with a good friend of mine, Mark Pettijohn, here in Dickinson County, working on their yield program for the day here in Dickinson. Gotta go through and cut out a patch of about six acres to test for yield today. Yields are gonna run between 60 and 70 on this field which is pretty good at this point. Soon, we’ll be going down to the elevator, weigh it, get moisture samples and then we’ll send it off to Topeka for the yield contest for Dickinson County. It’s a great opportunity for us to get out of the office and see what’s going on in the area. (Mark) Today we’re on the Dickinson County side of our farm. We also farm in Saline County. This wheat is a quarter section that has terraces, as you can see behind me. The custom crew has three combines and I think one grain cart going. It’s Cedar seed wheat that has quick root stimulator on it. And to my right is a plot that we’re cutting out for the contest. And he just said on the phone it was making between 60 and 70, the field averages probably beneath that. It’s a field that was planted October 21st of last fall and I’m happy with it. It’s cash running ground. I’m happy it’s got a few weeds. It had some funny emergents last fall, but it really tillered nicely, even in the spring. And I probably had it guessed at 30, 20, 40. I kept changing my mind, so I’m happy. (Sam) Stay tuned. After the break we’re gonna hear from Mark and Tom about the rain in the area and the effects that it had on the wheat harvest.

(Sam) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. With all of the recent rain we’ve had in our area, we had some questions about the effects it would have on the wheat harvest. So, let’s hear from Tom and Mark about what they have to say. (Tom) Some years we actually are close to finishing up with harvest. Actually we’ve just been a day or two into harvest here in Saline County anyway. So, we’re a bit later maybe than normal but not extremely late. And so, as it’s shaping up right now we may be finishing up into that first week of July as it appears now. And that’s assuming that we don’t get into any rain events that are gonna slow us up due to muddy fields, or wet, high moisture situations with the grain. We are seeing some late, green tillers in many fields around Saline County. What I am seeing as I’m out in the field and particularly here during harvest, is that some of these late green heads came on as a result of some of the freeze injury that occurred back in March and possibly April. As tillers were damaged or killed, the wheat plants tried to compensate and release some of the late third or tertiary tillers to replace some of the tillers that were injured by freeze events. (Mark) We started harvesting, I think, June 20th last year. So, a few days sooner. But we finished full season planting a few days later last year compared to this year. And even though my hired man has done a great job keeping up with everything, the one thing that we’re behind in is side dressing. We have one corn field that did not get properly side dressed because of the mud. We only had two fields of corn. We got the big field properly side dressed. The second field was not properly side dressed because it’s in the CSP grant program and with that program our enhancement requires us to not fertilize more than 30 days prior to planting. Obviously our plan was to fertilize after the crop was up, in two different applications. We got the first one done May 1st. But the second one never got done because of the heavy rainfall, and now the corn is seven feet tall and it’s impossible to run the coulter rig into the corn now. I did spray it for weeds. It got terrible weedy. It has a drowned out spot. I showed it to insurance, but most of the 60 acres is awesome looking corn despite the lack of nitrogen. There’s a portion of the field that’s drowned out. It will be zero and maybe with 60 units of N plus the starter it will be fine. The extension agent thought it would be fine as is. (Sam) Stay tuned. After the break we’re gonna hear from a custom silager who bails up wheat straw.

(Sam) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. We’re now gonna hear from a custom silager who follows the wheat harvest and bails up the straw afterwards. (Courtney) I’m Courtney Wilson. I work for PacificAg out of Hugoton. And we’re here today in Halstead, Kansas, bailing up wheat straw. This wheat straw is going to be used in many different ways. Some of it will be used for reclamation projects. Some of it will even go to mushroom farms. Dairies use this wheat straw that we bail. Feedlots, a lot of the livestock sector uses it. In our operation in southwest Kansas, most of our straw and residue go to a cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton. And we also supply dairies and feedlots out there. And wheat straw for instance, guys will either drop the wheat straw right behind the combine or we can come in and swath off the wheat straw. We bale it, we haul it off and for the farmer, it’s all hands off. All they have to do is provide us a field to harvest the residue, and we take it from there. It’s the same way in the corn stalks. We come in and we shred it, we bale it and we haul it off. We pay real quick. We pay half within 30 days of getting the residue harvested and then the other half within 30 days of removal. You know some of the concerns that we see, guys…erosion is a big thing. We leave at least half of the residue. So, the plant is still intact, which helps with the wind erosion and also with water erosion. And we do leave enough residue that still helps with the water retention. And so like I said before the guys are actually seeing increased yields on their irrigated land in western Kansas. We’re seeing a lot of no till guys wanting to use our service, especially in southwest Kansas, just for the sheer fact is they have so much residue in their irrigated land. The residue causes problems in the spring when they plant. The ground stays too cold when they have too much residue. And when we come in, we can harvest half the residue off and leave half the residue. And guys are seeing better emergence, better yields, and so they’re seeing a better return on their investments from their increased crop yields and plus with the stubble fees that we are paying them. So, they are seeing increased revenue across the board. If people are interested in what we do they can call our office at 844-RESIDUE. Or they can go to and you can learn more about us. We have farmer testimonials on there. Guys that we harvest for currently will tell you what they’re seeing on their own farm and see how what we do is benefitting them. (Sam) Stay tuned to That’s My Farm. After the break we’re gonna hear from a familiar face, Katie Sawyer, and she’s gonna talk to us about her family’s farm with the wheat harvest.

(Sam) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. Now we certainly couldn’t stop in central Kansas without seeing a familiar face, Katie Sawyer. (Katie) Hi, I’m Katie Sawyer. Normally I’m co-host of That’s My Farm. But today I’m actually home on my farm here outside of McPherson in McPherson County, Kansas. We started wheat harvest yesterday, so we are in day two of wheat harvest. We anticipate this taking approximately five to six days, depending on what kind of mud and other issues we run into. We got started a little later than some of the people around. We chose to go ahead and finish up planting the soybeans and then the milo over the weekend. So all the planting for the fall crops of 2015 is taken care of. So now we’re onto wheat. And the wheat is looking good. We got rain. We got plenty of sunshine and we’ve had lots of heat lately to dry things out. We still have some muddy spots but overall we’ve been able to move pretty seamlessly from field to field. We’re doing above average yields. It varies some because of some of the intense rains we got and some of the hail and wind that did cause a little problem in some of the low ground that drowned out. And then some of the high ground that didn’t get as much moisture. But we’ve had enough straw that we’ve been able to follow the combine with the bailer and bail a lot of the wheat straw. We’ll use the wheat straw this winter for both feed and then bedding for our cattle. It’s a nice filler for our feed and then it just creates just a great bedding when we’re calving those cows and heifers this winter, that creates a nice surface for them to calve on. So we get a lot of use out of our wheat crop here. We have about a thousand acres that we’ll cut total. Like I said it will take five to six days. My husband and his crew work pretty seamlessly throughout the day. He starts about 10 o’clock in the morning and will end up around midnight. We’re very fortunate this year, my son Evan, who turned two in April, is riding along and loving harvest this year. He rides with his Dad. He loves the combine and it just reinforces the values of growing up on the farm. He gets to see his Dad at work. He gets to go to work with his father and he gets to just see his Grandfather and multiple generations working together to harvest a crop. And he gets to see as part of the planting season, a full season of crops, cattle and how it all works together. As I mentioned before all of our corn, soybeans, and milo is in the ground. Some of the farmers in the area are still balancing planting of maybe a little bit of soybeans and then their milo with trying to get the wheat harvested. I think most people have moved to the combine since it is nice and dry for wheat harvest season. And then we actually started irrigation this week. The old adage goes, if you’re cutting wheat you should be irrigating corn and we’re doing just that. We’re fortunate to have moved all of our flood irrigation to subsurface drip irrigation within the last year, which immensely cuts down both our water usage and the time it takes us to irrigate our crops. As you’ll notice on this field, we still have a couple of pivots in place. Pivots like this will allow us to come back and actually use this ground again for soybeans, maybe milo, that we can go in and double crop. And if we don’t get the rains that we need we have the irrigation system to get the crops to go. So, we really get a lot of use out of each of our grounds. And we’re using our water as efficiently as possible through more efficient irrigating means. (Sam) Thanks for watching. Make sure you stay tuned every Friday for another episode of That’s My Farm.

Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission. The Soybean Checkoff, Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.

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