Deal farms with his dad, David, near Danvers in McClean County.
March 30: Introducing Greg Deal
Greg Deal farms with is dad, David, near Danvers. The (at least) fifth-generation farmer grows corn and soybeans and has a 50-head cattle operation in Central Illinois. The father of three young children says his biggest goal this spring is to plant when the ground is dry enough, “not to be in a big hurry” and wait until conditions are right. His wife, Ashley, is a staff member at the Illinois Corn Growers Association working in grassroots advocacy.
April 6: Drying out and getting started
Here in my part of central Illinois we are drying out and lots of guys are getting started or about to get started on some tillage or anhydrous ammonia. After the terribly wet 2019 season, we are looking forward to having a timelier planting season. There's a chance of rain here this week but the extended forecast looks promising. I'm looking forward to "social distancing” in the tractor cab and hope everyone has a safe and less stressed 2020 planting season.
April 13: Some beans in
Here in central Illinois we are cold for this time of the year. Last week was a productive week with everyone going hard on tillage, anhydrous, spraying and even some planting. Very little corn has been planted here locally, but there are some beans put in. The forecast low of around 25 has been raised, and we haven't seen the rain that was expected. I'm sure a half inch would be welcome with all the waterway work and reseeding from the 2019 monsoons. Around home we are doing some finishing touches on the sprayer and tenders so we are ready when the time comes.
April 20: 'Several weeks ahead of last year'
Here in central Illinois things are getting really busy. Lots of planters, sprayers and tillage equipment will be running full bore. We had a nice half inch of rain late last week and soil conditions should be perfect today. We will be several weeks ahead of last year and everyone is in a better mood. I have noticed lots of neighbors — myself included — are planting beans first. The forecast has several warmer, dryer days in a row for my area and we are taking full advantage of it. I hope everyone else has a good week and stays safe.
April 27: April planted beans outpace corn
Hello from Central Illinois. We are very wet at the moment as reports from 3.5 to 4.5 inches of rain have come through the area this past weekend. There were some road closures and caution areas as water crossed roadways. I would guess locally my area is 50% planted and I am slightly less than that. For the first time ever April-planted beans have outpaced corn planting. Personally I don't have any corn in the ground at the moment and after the nasty weather I am OK with that decision. I'm hoping bean replant will be minimal. Today we are getting ready to turn cows and calves out on pasture and prepare for the next round of rain moving in on Tuesday.
May 4: Looking forward to warmer, dryer weather
Hello from central Illinois. It's cool and damp this morning after a rainy spell the last 10 days, with my area receiving around 6 inches. I would estimate my area is close to 50% planted at the moment but I expect some replant. Low, flooded ponds will get replanted along with some gullies. We're moving some cow-calf pairs around for breeding and working on machinery again anticipating a dry spell later in the week. I'm looking
May 11: Corn and beans could use a shower
Dust is flying again finally west of Bloomington. I started planting corn May 9 and conditions have been improving with the dry wind blowing. If we have some good running days, I should be done with corn Wednesday morning before the rain predicted for Wednesday afternoon. Looking at our forecast, we should see a warm-up later next week which would be welcome. I had 28 degrees Saturday morning but I haven't seen any crops damaged. Most planted fields hadn't emerged. I have some beans that could actually use a shower and I have seen some corn that looks the same way.
May 18: Off to a wet start
We are off to a wet start this week with local totals between 3.5 to 4 inches between last Thursday and Sunday. Lots of progress was made last week, with most guys finishing corn before the rain started. We got our corn planted but decided to hold off on beans due to the forecast. I was able to get some more pre-emerge herbicide sprayed on the remaining bean acres. The April planted beans are finally showing up and look like they will have a nice stand. I will have to touch up some places in them but overall I am pleased. I doubt we will see any field work this week with the wet forecast towards Sunday. E-learning is finally coming to an end around here and my family is looking forward to life returning to more of a normal summer, whatever that means. I hope everyone has a safe and productive week.
May 22: Oozing water chews up pastures
Hello from soggy central Illinois. We are wet with shiny spots in the fields still from the rain earlier this week and last weekend. Looks like another round of showers will fire up Saturday and we'll be planting in June again like last year. Thankfully only beans and touching up corn fields. The good news is that we are expecting it to warm a bit. We will be working on machinery and getting ready for first cutting of hay when the weather allows. Our pastures are getting chewed up with water oozing out of the hillsides. The cows are sick of the mud as well.
June 1 :Getting things done despite chaos
We are running a Monday morning marathon getting ready to plant the last field of beans. Showers have been spotty last week but lots of progress was made. All the April beans have been post sprayed and the first cutting of hay has been made for a couple hay fields. The plan is to haul manure and then plant silage corn before showers return Wednesday. The sidedress bar will be showing up late today hopefully so I can bounce back and forth doing that and replanting mud holes in the corn fields that have finally dried out. This past week has been chaos but things are getting done. I hope everyone remembers to follow the label as we post spray. The 45-day window is closed or getting close for lots of xtends.
June 8: Working to beat tropical storm
Hello from central Illinois. I'm raking hay on a beautiful, breezy Monday morning. These nice days have been great hay drying weather. Hopefully we will get bales and moved today before the tropical storm comes in tomorrow. I am debating spraying some corn but I think I will wait until later this week. We have some Hello from central Illinois. I'm raking hay on a beautiful, breezy Monday morning. These nice days have been great hay drying weather. Hopefully we will get bales and moved today before the tropical storm comes in tomorrow. I am debating spraying some corn but I think I will wait until later this week. We have some
June 15: Excellent stretch of hay making weather
Hello from central Illinois on a chilly June morning. Sixty one degrees and breezy has me wearing a hoodie as I go out to rake the last of the first cutting. We have seen an excellent stretch of hay making weather but spraying lately has been a challenge with the wind. Our corn and non GMO beans are sprayed but the Xtends will have to wait for a better opportunity, if it arrives. A rain would be welcome. It appears June will be the opposite of May with very little to no precipitation. The yards are still green but growing slowly and the crops are progressing. Have a safe week.
June 22: Starting to feel caught up
Hello from Central Illinois. We received some spotty showers over the weekend with some farms getting close to 2 inches of rain while others didn't get a drop. We are beginning to feel caught up and starting to get machinery cleaned up and put away. I still have quite a few acres of late May beans to spray, however there have been zero weeds emerged in them. Hopefully we can get the second round of vaccines in the calves and be thinking about weaning them in a few weeks. The 4-week stretch of dry weather has pretty much stopped our pastures from growing. The forecast looks wet and we can use more rain.
June 29: Beans closing rows, corn waist-high
Hello from central Illinois. We have had a busy and productive week with finally getting all the machinery tucked away into its rightful location. After trying to get machinery ready last winter in some precarious places I decided to put new chains and openers on the planter before putting it away. The crops that received rain have really jumped this past week with lots of beans closing the rows, and corn is waist high. We are ready for what we hope is a wetter week. I sprayed some more residuals yesterday and we are doing our second round vaccines on calves today (June 26). I'm trying to prepare myself for a day or two of paperwork that I'm behind on. That's always a rainy day project I dread. Have a safe week.
July 6: Mowing hay with dust cloud trailing
Hello from central Illinois. We are going to continue the hot and dry here. The extended dry period we have been in is beginning to take its toll on the crops. Lots of corn is rolling, some beans leaves puckered and herbicides not working correctly. Our highs are forecast into the mid-90s this week with a chance of rain returning this weekend. On the bright side there shouldn't be any grain lines this fall or large drying bills. This morning (Monday) we are mowing oat hay with a cloud of dust following us. Have a safe week and pray for rain
July 13: We got rain!
Hello from central Illinois. We got rain! Some farms got very little with dry dirt between the rows after the cells moved through, but most received 0.5 to 0.9 inches of much needed precipitation. Our beans are looking really good now and look like they could be pretty decent if rains continue, but the corn on some farms is probably about too far gone. The trace amount these corn fields received was the first rain since emergence, and we are just entering pollination. Even the good looking corn is 7-8 feet tall at most with lots in the 5-6 feet range. Anyway back to mowing hay today (Monday) and mixing feed for the big group of calves we weaned a few days ago. I hope everyone has a good week.
July 20: Plenty of rain in central Illinois
Hello from central Illinois. We received 3.6-4.1 inches of rain last week and our crops look much better. What didn't run off soaked in and you can't tell it rained that much. Looking at the forecast we have the potential for a wetter week, so here on Monday morning I'm scraping cow lots and moving around bales preparing for some mud. After all the rain last week we will have another cutting of hay this summer, which was looking doubtful a week ago. I'm keeping my fingers crossed we don't get any storms. I know a half hour away they had corn laid flat and buildings torn up a week ago. Have a safe week.
July 27: Fungicide, then dreaded paperwork
Hello from central Illinois. Last week was a good week; we had a little rain and got some projects done. I took down a bin with plans to rebuild it next summer. Our beans really look great and most of the corn looks pretty decent also except the farms that were really dry earlier this year. The last few acres of fungicide will be sprayed in my area this week. We are getting close to a time of the year I dread... paperwork. I have lots of pre-harvest book work to be done and I'm not looking forward to it. My dad has been working on some harvest machinery and getting it ready. Harvest will be here before we know it. Have a safe week.
August 3: Shifting toward harvest prep
Hello from central Illinois. We are fairly wet right now with a beautiful week in the forecast. It's that time of year when we start to focus more towards fall and getting ready for harvest. The combine has been gone through and I plan to go over the grain cart today and the semi later this week. I have to help at our local county fair later this week for a very small and socially distant 4-H show. I'm not sure how it will be received by the kids and parents but I think everyone will be thankful to have one somewhat normal activity this summer.
August 10: Expecting earlier harvest than last year
Hello from central Illinois. We are looking lush and green with a chance of rain all week. I'm getting ready to mow roads and should be able to look out over the crops to see what kind of holes there are from earlier damage this spring, but from the road, crops look good. We got the hay baled last week and some calves sorted again to keep for next year. From what I can tell we will have an earlier harvest then last year with some April planted beans approaching R5 right now. Starting in mid-September and being able to keep moving forward with beans while the corn dries in the field will be great compared to last year. I hope everyone has a safe and productive week.
August 17: Yellow bean leaves coming soon
Hello from central Illinois. We received a nice 0.8 inches of rain Saturday which should help the soybeans to the finish line. The earliest beans are starting to get that "off color" which means yellow leaves aren't far away. I'm really looking forward to getting an early start on harvest and being able to do all the beans and let the corn dry down some in the field. We're doing some odd jobs and projects each week and tinkering with machinery getting ready for harvest. We still have both heads to go through and our bins. Have a safe week.
August 24: Warm, dry forecast should bring crop along
We are warm and humid. Looking at a warm and dry forecast should bring the crop along nicely. I am hearing reports of dry weather, but we are still mowing yards once a week. However, I expect that to taper off if the dry trend continues. This next week we'll probably cut the last of the hay and do some more machinery work. I haven't even looked at any bins yet so I wouldn't be surprised if I don't have a project show up there. It's been over a month since we weaned calves and it's about time for them to go to the sales barn as feeders. Hope everyone has a safe week.
Aug. 31: Beans take on 'off green' look
As I type this it's a nice cool Monday morning and they are calling for rains tonight through tomorrow which is putting hay making on hold. We're still doing other projects and moving machinery around getting ready for harvest. Lots of beans in the area have that "off green" look as they are starting to turn. Any day now I am expecting to see or hear of the custom silage guys coming into our neck of the woods. Corn maturity is all over the place, and I'm sure they are moving around a little more than they planned because of it. And finally, the increase in prices have really helped lift spirits here in our area. November beans have risen close to a dollar in the last month. I hope everyone has a safe and productive week.
Sept. 7: Late-season rains boost hay tonnage
Hello from Central Illinois. The weather has cooled off and the days are getting shorter. Hay-making is a challenge this week even without rain. We are very wet in the morning and have some foggy days until 8 or 9 a.m. That said, the tonnage from the final cutting has been excellent thanks to the late-season rains which should also increase soybean yields. Labor Day always signals the end of summer around here as harvest approaches. Our crops are not progressing quite as quickly as I expected, but I'm still hopeful to be able to do a little combining in September. My corn isn't black layered and we haven't chopped silage yet but I'm hearing reports of some neighbors getting ready to run on short-season corn and fill some early contracted bushels. I hope everyone has a safe and productive week!
Sept. 14: Market turn gives shot at profit
Hello from central Illinois! We finally have a decent forecast and hope to be able to get back to hay making and chop silage. We had to put those projects on hold last week as it rained. Lots of beans are moving right along in our area and we should be able to start cutting around Sept. 25. However, with the cooler weather everything is turning slowly. Thankfully the market has come back to give us a shot at a profit. Our crops look decent and we're expecting some big bean yields. I hope everyone has a safe week.
Sept. 21: Silage chopped, hay baled, ready to harvest
We got the silage chopped and hay baled last week and have moved on to the next projects. We plan to haul manure on the silage ground and then plant rye for next year's forage. I'm hauling lime today and a few other days this week. Our tentative harvest plan is to start next week. I have some beans that are getting really close and my dad has some short-season corn he wants to try if beans won't cut. With this beautiful weather and a nice pre-harvest rally, everyone is in a good mood. Have a great week.
Sept. 28: Dampness stalls harvest
Hello from central Illinois! We are off to a damp start to the week with rainfall amounts around a half inch locally. This is the week we have planned on starting to cut beans, but it has been put on hold. From the few neighbors who have been out in the field it sounds like yields are good but moisture is still high. Have a safe week!
Oct. 5: Going to be a slow, wet grind on corn
Harvest is off to a slow start this week with a small rain delay over the weekend. We were able to get some beans cut last week and I was happy to see them 15 bu./acre over adjusted production history (APH). I hope this trend continues all season. After a small shower Saturday we switched to corn and confirmed that it's going to be a slow, wet grind on corn this fall. Our first-planted 112-day corn was higher than 30% moisture, but we did find some other in the mid-20% range. We have already had our first dryer issue of the year so it's nice we got that out of the way. This week looks promising for getting work done and I hope we can switch back to beans by mid-week. It frosted here last night so I hope our green stems are done now. Have a safe week.
Oct. 12: Last of beans won't take long
Hello from central Illinois! We have had a really good week running on beans and at this time we only have 220 acres left. Depending on the weather they shouldn't take long. There is some rain in the forecast which would be welcome to bring the moisture up in these dry beans, I'm hearing some reports of 9% or below locally. I would expect corn to have dried down quite a bit in the field this past week. Yields seem to vary wildly around our area with beans anywhere from 60-80. The April beans have been better than the May beans. The same variability can be found in the corn fields. Our neighborhood seemed behind on harvest pace, but we are quickly catching up and with another good week lots of guys will be over that halfway point. I hope everyone has a safe week.
Oct. 19: Everything goes better with 18-20% corn
We had a good run on beans last week and finished Wednesday. Bean yields have been all over the board with a 20 bushel swing from high to low. Started back on corn Thursday morning and have been pleased with how much it has dried down. Everything goes better with 18-20% corn, and yields have been better than I anticipated. We could actually use a rainy day to get caught up on some maintenance and paperwork. We have had to stop and grind feed, change oil, make fence and drill cover crop. But I still have another day’s worth of odd jobs to do. Depending on the weather, the last several hundred acres of corn could go pretty quickly. I hope everyone has a safe and productive week.
Oct. 26: One of quickest harvests in years
It's cold as I type this with wet weather approaching. Looks like a rain and snow mix is heading our way today. Depending on the weather we still have a couple days of corn left. Looking around our neighborhood, I would say most people are in the same boat. The corn seems to have stalled out around 19% moisture regardless of what hybrid. Yields continue to be extremely variable depending on how good the stand was from the heavy spring rains. We have actually had one of the quickest harvests in several years, with almost zero rain delays (hopefully I don't regret that remark). We started Oct. 3 and look to be under 30 days, which normal is 35-40 calendar days. I hope everyone has a safe week as the finish line approaches.
Nov. 2: Beginning to feel caught up
Hello from central Illinois. We are starting to feel a little caught up on our work now that harvest is over. I'm hauling the last load of lime now and we're getting ready to start tillage. The forecast looks nice and we hope to get corn stalks baled soon. I feel like we have machinery scattered all over the place that needs to be cleaned up and put away. Have a great day.
Nov. 9: Weather wonderful for fall work
Hello from central Illinois. This weather has been wonderful to get fall work done. I'm currently spreading the last load of fertilizer on corn stalks and dad is running the ripper. We should be pretty will caught up by Monday when a chance of rain comes through. I will have one farm left, but it's waiting for soil test results. Corn stalks are baled, and I plan to move them home tomorrow. We could definitely use a nice rain. It’s been an oddly dry fall. Fall and winter is a great time for a drought in Illinois. I hope everyone has a great week.
Nov. 16: This fall the opposite of last year
Hello from central Illinois. Tillage is done for us and lots of neighbors are wrapping up and finishing fertilizer. The forecast looks great later this week for washing machinery in the 60-plus temps. This fall has been the total opposite of last year where we were still going hard into Thanksgiving. We have had some dirt work projects completed, and if time and weather allows, I would like to do more work with a blade. We should be going into winter in good shape. Overall we are dry, but it's not much of a concern at this point. I hope everyone has a safe week.
Nov. 23: Washing combine in a T-shirt
Hello from central Illinois. This beautiful weather has allowed lots of tillage, fertilizer and dirt work to get done. Another advantage of the nice weather is the ability to try new things, and a friend of mine is planting beans today. He is just doing a small plot with some leftover untreated beans as a super early planting experiment. If they make it through the winter he will combine them for data and if not then just plant like normal. I'm getting ready to wash the combine in a T-shirt today as it's in the 60s. It looks like wet weather will roll in Thanksgiving week. I hope everyone had a safe Thanksgiving.
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