Benjamin Storm, Milo, Erma and Waylon

Milo and Waylon hurry to catch up with their dad, Benjamin Storm, and sister, Erma, as they go to check on work done in the grain bin. The Storms hired a teenager to clean out the corn in the bottom of one of the bins. It was hard work, and Ben kept a close eye on him. 

After last year’s slower-than-normal growing season, southeast Minnesota is now experiencing a faster-than-normal growing season.

According to Minnesota Ag Statistics, over 80 percent of corn had entered the corn dough stage by Aug. 17. That was six days ahead of the five-year average, and two weeks ahead of last year.

Benjamin Storm had talked with a neighbor who expected corn-for-silage harvest to begin around Aug. 22, and soybean harvest to begin around Labor Day, which is Sept. 7.

The Storms received about 1.3 inches of rain in mid-August. The soybeans and corn looked good on the heavy ground, while the crops on the sandier soils were holding their own but not really adding yield.

“It’s always welcome to get a little rain, but we sure could have used more,” said Benjamin.

He finished installing a new auger in the combine grain tank.

“The combine is pretty well ready to go,” he said. “I ordered some new tires for it, and I have to get those one. Then it should be ready.”

An exciting event occurred on Aug. 17-18 for Ben and other members of the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSRPC). They had the opportunity to drive to South Dakota State University at Brookings, S.D. They were going to tour the Swine Education and Research Facility, as well as the new Raven Precision Agriculture Center that is under construction.

The $7.4 million Swine Education and Research Facility is a breeding to finishing teaching and research complex. An elevated walkway and observation windows allow visitors to view all aspects of hog production. It opened in 2016.

“They have it set up for doing a lot of feeding trials,” he said. “There’s a lot of pretty cool technology in the building.”

The Raven Precision Agricultural Center brings agronomy, ag engineering and computer science disciplines under one roof. Construction began in October 2018 and continues. Two students graduated with Precision Ag four-year degrees in 2019. About 100 students are enrolled in this major.

“It’s quite a building under construction,” he said.

As a board member and treasurer of the MSRPC, Ben wanted to see how dollars from the checkoff organization were used for the swine facility.

“I feel that it was a good investment for Minnesota soybean (checkoff) money, since we feed a lot of soybean meal to pigs,” he said.

It was a 600-mile round trip from Dover to Brookings without a lot of turns – just a long trip west over I-90, a right hand turn, and then a stint north on I-29. It’s hard to see the crops along that stretch, but when he had the chance to see, Ben thought that fluctuations in weather and precipitation had likely reduced some yields. The crops still looked very good, though – especially the corn.

An exciting event was occurring for families Aug. 19-23 – the Minnesota Youth Livestock Expo. With the cancellation of the Minnesota State Fair, an alternative was set up for youth ages 8-21 to show livestock. The Swine Show was taking place at the Jackson County Fairgrounds, and that’s where the Storms were going.

“It’s going to be a full house in Jackson at the pig show, so we’re figuring out what people are doing for tack and all those types of things,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on all at once.”

0828 Ben Storm.jpg –