Lovrien farms north of Clarksville in northeastern Butler County.
March 30: Introducing Keith Lovrien
Keith Lovrien farms north of Clarksville in northeastern Butler County. A college math major with experience in the off-the-farm career world, he grows corn and soybeans on his North Central Iowa farm. Lovrien uses no-till practices on most of his acres and also plants cover crops on his farm. He says 2019 was a challenging year, but yields ended up being better than expected.
April 6: 'Weather all over the board'
I got a little anhydrous put on Friday (April 3), but we are just getting started around here. Some ammonia is getting put on fields and some manure is getting put on as well. The weather has been all over the board in the last week.
April 13: Received needed rain
We did quite a bit of work last week. It was a really good week. I got most of my anhydrous on and I got a little ripping done. Guys around here were applying anhydrous and hog manure and dry fertilizer. Then we got about 0.7 inches of rain on Sunday, which we needed.
April 20: Putting down hog manure
We had a slow start to the week but we were getting some things done before the weather turned. It was a cold, wet week. On Thursday we got back to putting down hog manure and on Sunday, April 19, I saw three people planting corn. The ground temperature is still a little low, but it is 8 to 9 degrees higher on the bean stubble than on the cornstalks.
April 27: 'It's been nothing but work'
We had a really good week. It's been nothing but work. A lot of people are wrapping up the corn planting. We've got just a little bit to go. My son has been running the bean drill while I am doing corn. The tile lines have slowed so we could probably use some rain.
May 4: Corn barely peeking through
Everybody was rolling last week. One by one the neighbors are getting done with their planting. We got done with the soybeans on Friday afternoon (May 1). I finished the corn earlier in the week. My first field of corn is just barely peeking through. It has been nice weather but the nights have been a little cold and we could use some rain.
May 11: Cold soil temp slowing corn
It was a slow week. The most significant thing in the last 7 days is the fact that the average soil temperature at 4 inches is colder than the average temperature at 12 inches. This is really slowing down the corn. It’s up, but it’s really struggling. We did get a half-inch of rain last week, but it’s pretty dry. The temperature fell to 28 degrees Saturday morning. It was 24 degrees at the research farm 9 miles away.
May 18: Corn perking, beans popping
We got the rain we needed over the weekend. We had 2 inches altogether so far. We got a lot of work done last week through Friday and Saturday. I haven’t seen anybody cutting hay yet. The rain really perked up the corn and grass and the beans are popping up now. The warm weather is really making the corn look good.
May 22: An in-between time
I didn’t have any spraying to do. We picked up some rocks, and I have seen some spraying going on. Most fields are dry, but you can see in between tile lines. I don’t see any fields that are getting very weedy or anything. The corn is growing kind of slow. It’s kind of an in-between time right now. Given the weather we are just doing other things.
June 1: Spraying corn, picking up rocks
A lot of jobs got rained out last week. We picked up rocks in the fields and some sprayers have been running in the area. I sprayed some fencelines and got some corn sprayed on Sunday. So far the corn is looking good. A few people are starting to make hay.
June 8 Heat pushed crop along
We finished spraying the corn Saturday. We also fixed a tile line last week. Digging that gave us an indication that the soil moisture is pretty good yet. The heat has really pushed the crop along. Things are really growing. We're in good shape, although the corn is moderately uneven.
June 15: Corn closing rows, beans at B4
The crops are really growing pretty well now. A lot of corn is closing the row and the beans are at the B4 stage. We have good soil moisture, especially after getting anywhere from about two and a quarter inches of rain to over three and a half inches of rain on our fields last week. We're hoping to finish spraying beans this week.
June 22: Wind slows down spraying
We had plenty of rain. On Friday (June 19) we had about an inch and on Sunday night into Monday morning we got about 3.3 inches at our house, although the amounts varied quite a bit around the area. There was also some wind. The corn is looking really good. There are still some beans that need to be sprayed because it was windy quite a few days last week.
June 29: Beans coming along nicely
Things are going good right now. The beans are coming along nicely and the 15-inch rows are nearly closed in. I've got a little touch-up spraying to do. We've had several small rains this past week, just enough to keep things wet.
July 6: Corn is really jumping
With all the heat, the corn is really jumping. I did see a tassel (Monday), just one. By the end of the week we’ll be tasseling pretty well across different fields. My beans are closed in the row – I have 15-inch rows – and they’ve been flowering for a couple weeks. There’s still a few bean fields that are getting finished up spraying in the area. We are just kind of sitting back and letting the crop grow.
July 13: Corn tasseling, beans getting tall
Things are coming along pretty good. We're getting more and more tassels in the corn and you can tell the earlier season varieties. The beans are looking pretty good and are getting some height to them. We got some rain last week but it was spotty. We had a half inch on one side of our farm and a half a tenth on the other side.
July 20: Things are moving along
Things are moving along. We're starting to spray fungicides on the soybeans. The corn is a little uneven, but not bad. Most of the corn is tasseled. We're not seeing a lot of foliage disease yet. We're starting to get a little dry, but we're not suffering yet.
July 27: No aphids, but Japanese beetles
Things are starting to get dry around here. We've been getting rains so far but they are mostly small rains. The crops are still generally looking good, but we could use a rain. We are getting fungicides sprayed and we may add an insecticide on the beans. We haven't seen many aphids yet but I have seen Japanese beetles.
August 3: Corn is o.k.; big news is softball team won state
We're dry. I've got one tile line still running but the rest are dry. The cool, pleasant weather this week should help. Right now the corn is not hurting yet, but it wouldn't take much for that to happen. But the most important news in our area last week was that our softball team won the state tournament.
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