Vaughan lives on a farm southeast of Fairfield that he operates with his father, brother and grandfather.
March 30: Introducing T.J. Vaughan
T.J. Vaughan lives on a farm southeast of Fairfield that he operates with his father, brother and grandfather. They grow corn, beans and tobacco. His brother also raises cattle, and calving began on March 10, which makes this his favorite time of the year. They have 68 of a possible 155 on the ground. Vaughan graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 2006 with a bachelor’s in ag business.
April 6: Killed cover crop this week
We have almost all of last year's crop hauled but have some corn left. We killed our cover crop this week. We attempted to work some ground Friday (April 6) but it was too wet. It looks like we could get busy this week if we could skip the rain on Tuesday. To the south of us they are running pretty hard as they have sandy soil. All around the state there is a lot of NH3 being applied. We have our tobacco plants started in the greenhouse; we hope to start transplanting them in the second week of May or after. Calving is going pretty well; we have 94 live on the ground with three lost. Buffalo gnats have be a bit of a problem but not as bad as in the past two years.
April 13: Wait on planting with cold forecast
The week started off with promise with warmer temps, but our forecast has highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s and 28 on Tuesday (April 14), so we decided to continue to burndown, work ground and fix waterways instead of planting. There are some people planting around us, and they may be doing the right thing and us wrong. We will see. We are up to 100 with three lost on our calving, so we had a pretty good first month. Tobacco plants are all coming up in the greenhouse with what looks to be a great stand.
April 20: Finishing corn
Cold weather and rain in the forecast. We planted a third of our corn last week and are going to go ahead and plant the rest in the next three days before the rain they are calling for. We may plant a few beans as well, depending on how we get along. We’re going to continue burning down bean ground in hopes it stays dry. We got a great stand in both greenhouses with tobacco plants. We don't think about planting tobacco until May. Calving has slowed but we still have only lost three, so that's great. Two things we need the most is sunshine and warm weather.
April 27: Not liking home team's chances
Well, we planted 90% of our corn and no beans. Then on Thursday through Saturday we got 3 to 4 inches of rain and then on the morning of Monday, April 27, it's 40 degrees with a chance of rain Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm not liking the chances for the home team. Calving was rough during the storm; we lost one calf and have another that is not wanting to stand but she is taking milk. Tobacco plants all look great in the greenhouse. We are just hoping for some sunshine and warm weather.
May 4: Corn looks promising
Finally have a lot of corn popping through. Not sure if we are going to get a stand everywhere, but it is looking promising. We’re going to finish our bean burndown if we can miss this rain. The weather is not in our favor for the next week with temperatures in the 60s with a chance of frost on Friday. Really would like to get some warm weather. Tobacco plants look great in the greenhouse. Weather permitting, we will start setting plants next week.
May 11: Some great corn stands, also some messes
We got a very rare May frost. It didn't hurt the corn, but may have gotten some beans that were out of the ground. We are going to plant the rest of our corn and start on some beans today (Monday). They backed up on the rain for Wednesday but have good chances Friday through Monday, so we'll see what happens. We are supposed to get some warmer weather this week, so that will be nice. We have some corn fields with great stands, but also have some messes that we'll need to decide whether to spot in or replant. If they happen to pull the rain out for later in the week we may set some tobacco plants toward the end of the week. Would love a week of nothing but 80 and sunshine, but it doesn't sound likely.
May 18: Tobacco ready to transplant
We had a good week. We finished planting our corn and planted part of our beans. We are going to have a little bit of corn to replant where it got underwater, but it is amazing how much corn came up after being in the ground for a month. We got warm weather all week and dodged rains until Sunday night, and we got a flood. 2020 is starting to feel like 2019. Cattle are all doing well. Tobacco plants look great and are ready to transplant when the weather permits.
May 22: Sweet corn popping through, looking good
Not much has changed; we are still wet. We got more rain Monday and today is the first good drying day we have had. Rain is in the forecast for the next three days. Even with our poor conditions, our corn looks good and the beans we planted last week are coming through. Most importantly, our sweet corn is popping through and looking good.
June 1: Running hard putting on nh3, planting beans, setting tobacco
Last week we got to put some nh3 on in between rain showers. We finally got a few days of sunshine and drying weather Saturday and Sunday. We are going to be running hard this week putting on nh3, planting beans and setting tobacco plants. We will have to re-spray a lot of bean ground. They put rain in the forecast for Wednesday evening, which would be nice to miss. We'll see what happens
June 8: Best week of spring
Best week we have had all spring. We finished replanting and spotting in corn. We got a bunch of beans planted and should finish up Tuesday or Wednesday with beans. We got 50 acres of tobacco set with 55 more to go. I am finishing up with anhydrous today and we should finish post spraying corn tomorrow. Our corn crop is coming around and looking better. It's not a perfect crop, but we're lucky to have what we got after what we went through. The beans we got planted earlier look good. Now we just need some timely rains to carry us through.
June 15: Life is good in southern Illinois
We had another great week. We finished planting beans and got started cutting hay. We also finished setting tobacco Saturday. We were a little worried about the forecast that was showing no rain for 10 days. Then out of nowhere Saturday we got 0.8 of an inch of slow and easy rain. So right now in southern Illinois life is good.
June 22: All of corn, half of beans sprayed
Not much to report this week. We got a great stand on all the beans we finished up. We have all corn and half our beans post sprayed. Have about 70 percent of our hay wrapped up. Tobacco plants are greening up and looking good. We got a couple tenths of rain Sunday and are supposed to get more Monday and Tuesday, which would be great. We aren't hurting too bad for it but we need it.
June 29: No problems a good rain couldn’t fix
Nothing here in southern Illinois that a good rain couldn't fix. Corn looks great, but some of the hills could use a drink. We are finishing up posting beans today and we have a great stand of beans everywhere. We’re also going to finish up hay baling today except for a little square baling we will do next week. Tobacco plants have taken hold and greened up great. If we get a nice rain this weekend on it, you won't recognize it by the end of next week. The wheat harvest is pretty well finished up around here with yields all over the place. I've heard everything from 50 to 90 bushels per acre, but all test weights were 60 to 63 pounds.
July 6: Everything is humming
Got a great rain last week! It was perfect. Everything is humming along now. We’re going to finish spraying a few beans this week and get the rest of our hay gathered in. There are few good chances of rain this week. Life is good.
July 13: Timely rains continue
We have continued to get timely rains. Everything is looking great. We are going to re-spray some beans this week. There is starting to be some fungicide put on in our area. We are not quite ready to apply any yet. My tobacco is looking really good; it has enjoyed this hot weather we have been getting. All good to report from southern Illinois
July 20: Got the rain we needed
We got the rain we needed last week: 2.5 inches. There was more north of us, which caused some headwater. But caught a rain Sunday night (July 19) to rinse off the beans. There is a chance of rain every day this week. I'd say the planes will be tearing up the sky this week applying more fungicide. The important part this week is that sweet corn will be ready. I always look forward to a day of putting up 800 to 1000 quarts with family and friends.
Put up 750 quarts of sweet corn
More good news from Wayne County. Crops look great. We are going to apply fungicide to corn and beans this week and are expecting more rain. We put up 750 quarts of sweet corn last week, so we are set for winter. We’re going to start topping tobacco this week. It is really looking good.
August 3: Southern rust may be coming
There are reports of southern rust moving into southern Illinois. We are going to have fungicide on our later planted corn. We got it on all of our beans that were ready. We got more rain this week and the month of August is calling for cooler temperatures and more rain. We are going to top more tobacco.
August 10: All's good but grain prices
We got a little backwater damage in the bottoms, but just on a few acres. We are going to finish up fungicide on beans this week. We have more rain in the forecast. Topping continues this week and we should start harvest in 10 to 12 days. There have been some reports of southern rust in Wayne County, but we haven't found any yet. Our corn is prepared for it. Everything looks good except grain prices.
August 17: Hot dry August weather would be good
It’s hard to believe you would ever ask for hot dry weather in August, but it would actually be good. Fungicide application is pretty much complete around here. Everything really looks great. We will start tobacco harvest this week. We should have a good crop all around. I believe our poor stand this spring in our early corn could hold it back a little bit, but we'll see.
August 24: Week of warm, dry weather
We got our week of warm dry weather. Everything is looking good. We have some rain in the forecast for later this week I just hope we don't get hurricane rain. Tobacco harvest is going great and will continue on this week.
Aug. 31: Two weeks away from corn harvest
Not much to report. South of us 30 to 50 miles they have shelled a little corn. I'm hearing 30 to 40%. I think we are two weeks away. We could really use a rain on our beans to fill all the pods. Tobacco harvest continues and is going well.
Sept. 7: Beans could use a rain
We could use a rain for our beans; we had some chances last week, but got next to nothing. A lot of people are checking corn and finding it in the low 30s. Tobacco harvest continues and is going well. We look to have a great crop.
Sept. 14: Harvest starting slowly
Harvest has started slowly around here. We are going to start Thursday or Friday. There have been a handful of people shelling corn all last week. I'm hearing it was running from 24 to 30% moisture. And some really got yields. It's going to get very busy this week with some beans being cut and a lot more people shelling corn
Sept. 21: Harvest in full swing
Harvest is in full swing around our area. We shelled corn Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Sept. 17-19). Moisture was 19-20% and our yields were good. You can see the effects of a poor stand in places. We will get to some beans sometime this week. I have been hearing about some pretty good yields for
Sept. 28: Great corn and bean yields
Harvest is going great. Corn and bean yields have been great. We even got a little shower Monday morning (Sept. 28) to quiet the dust. Tobacco harvest will be finished by the end of the week. Hopefully, all harvests continue to go smooth.
Oct. 5: Going to be a quick harvest
Our corn harvest is 75% complete with yields still being great. We are going to have a lot of beans ready this week, and the beans we cut last week had great yields as well. The weather has been incredible. If it keeps up, this is going to be a quick harvest. You have to love what those markets have been doing as well. We will complete tobacco harvest the week of Oct. 5.
Oct. 13: Smooth harvest, unbelieveable weather
Harvest is running smoothly. We will finish up this week and move on to harvest our neighbors’ crop. Yields have stayed consistently great. We're about a week away from starting to strip tobacco and bale it up for market. The weather has been unbelievable.
Oct. 19: Smoothet harvest ever?
We finished beans Saturday and have 175 acres of corn left. We are going to start custom harvest of our neighbors’ fields this week and a lot of dirt work for ourselves. We’ll probably never see a harvest as smooth as this one ever again. We are all very blessed this year. We’re going to start stripping tobacco Tuesday, so we’ll get to see how the tobacco weighs out.
Oct. 26: A smooth and bountiful harvest
We have completed our harvest and now are hoping for rains to hold off so we can harvest our neighbor’s crop. We stripped a little bit of tobacco last week, but the stems were still fat and it was wet. We’re hoping to wean our calves the end of this week or beginning of next. It's been a smooth and bountiful harvest, to say the least. Hopefully, it stays nice so we can continue on with dirt work.
Nov. 2: In full swing stripping tobacco
Got a big rain last week that put us out for the weekend. We have beautiful weather for this week, so we should wrap up our neighbor’s harvest this week. We also pulled down a bunch of tobacco this weekend, so we are in full swing stripping tobacco. Hopefully this weather holds up so we can get some more dirt work done
Nov. 9: A smooth and bountiful harvest
We are going to wrap up harvest Saturday (Nov. 7). It's been a very smooth and bountiful harvest. Going to start cleaning up equipment, trim mowing around fields and doing some dirt work now as long as the weather holds out. There is still some crop left around our area, but a lot of people are getting close to wrapping up. We will also continue stripping tobacco, which will last into December and possibly January. We got one group of our spring calves weaned off this week and will hopefully get the other group Saturday or Monday.
Nov. 16: Dirt work waits on rain, wind to stop
Not much to report here. We got an inch of rain Saturday, but the wind blew hard all day yesterday, so we'll be back to dirt work Tuesday. Got to take down some tobacco, so stripping will continue. Cattle are weaned. We will run them all through for vaccines this week.
Nov. 23: Good yields and prices to boot
It's been a great year, all-around good yields and now prices to boot. Still continuing to get more dirt work done and make more improvements. Tobacco is yet to see, but stripping continues and so far it is weighing out pretty well.
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