Sunday, June 25, 2017

3 months in 3 minutes

This spring has been quite unusual so I will attempt to cover April 21st to June 25 in a three minute read.

    April 21st soil preparation and planting began, fortunately several weeks prior fertilizer was able to be applied.  Planters were going for 4 days and then rained out for 19 days.  Each time we seemed to be within a day of returning to field another rain fell with widespread coverage.  May 15th to 27 turned out to be slightly better averaging 50% of days suitable for fieldwork.  Farmers were concerned that acres would never get planted but the saying goes that "Farmers will plant a crop" and that was true.  From May 29th to June 3 planters were rolling from before dawn to much after dark with 18-20 hour days common.  Optimum planting dates for corn would be the last week of April and I expect to see 75% of fields planted to corn in that time period instead of last week of may.   We are one month behind from the start but not ready to throw in the towel at all.
   Packera glabella  or Butterweed

   These pictures are close ups of what cars saw in the field.  It is a winter annual.  Meaning it germinates in the fall and is ready to take advantage of this head start in competition with other weeds and crops.  It was so noticeable because of the delay in fieldwork this spring.  Notice the deep yellow center that makes it stand out among normally green weeds in  the fields.  Yellow rocket (Barbarea vulgaris) was also present but has smaller flowers.  
   Because germination is in the fall herbicides that were applied during the spring are no longer present.  Combined with reduced tillage to control soil erosion the fall seedlings are not destroyed or may germinate after that tillage.  This weed has the patience to take advantage of these opportunities: reduced tillage, fewer chemicals, and late spring.

   Area wheat fields are almost mature and there are rains forecast for 3 days this week.  While rain will be good for corn and soybeans it causes test weight ( density of kernels ) to be lower and some possibilities of fungus and molds.  Either of these lower the price paid to the farmer.

If I could order the weather? here it is.  Warm days under 90 degrees, cool nights in the 60's, rain once a week, warm October with no killing frost.  This may help make up for the late start in crop development.

Serving together, Dean

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

GMO saves lives

I am forwarding this article from, notice it will be tested for 10-20 years.  GMO is safe, more testing than most believe.  I hope it is accepted in the target nations in Africa when done.

New GMO to Reduce Cases of Liver Cancer

MAY 3, 2017 12:00 PM
DSC 2126
Amid the GMO debate, one researcher is striving to use genetic modification to not just improve crop health, but potentially save consumer lives. Aspergillus, which creates carcinogenic aflatoxin, can now be controlled through genetic modification.
Aflatoxins are found in corn, peanuts, cottonseed, milk, walnuts, pistachios and Brazil nuts. In the U.S. farmers can be turned away for having as few as 20 parts per billion (ppb) of the toxin, or about 40 highly contaminated kernels in a bushel of corn, according to the University of Kentucky. One part per billion is the equivalent of one second in 32 years—it doesn’t take much to be turned away.
“This [new GMO corn] will make a difference in the U.S., but will make the biggest difference in the undeveloped world,” says Monica Schmidt, University of Arizona researcher. “There they don’t test corn [for aflatoxins] and about 4.5 billion people consume the toxin.”
People in undeveloped countries are 16 to 32 times more likely to develop cancer, namely liver cancer, she adds. In addition aflatoxins can stunt children’s growth and damage immune systems. The new GMO corn shuts the toxin down and doesn’t allow it to accumulate in the corn kernel.
Using RNAI technology, Schmidt and her team silence the aflatoxin genes in aspergillus fungi in only the corn’s kernels. The ear could still show the greenish, powdery fungal spores on the surface, however, aflatoxin should not enter the kernels.
“We’re looking forward to field testing,” Schmidt says. “For the past year and a half we’ve tested with controls from 1,000 ppb to 100,000 ppb in greenhouses.”
The next steps for this potential product are somewhat tricky. The team in Arizona can keep testing on a small scale, but if they ever want to see results on a large number of acres, or see this product commercialized, they’ll have to partner with someone who has deep pockets. Because this is a GMO product there are a number of regulatory hurdles in which the product must leap, and that takes time and millions of dollars.
“We’re seeking partners now,” Schmidt says. “If the regulatory pathway stays the same as it is now and funding becomes available we could realistically see this in corn in 10 to 20 years.”
It’s easy to get this gene into existing or new products—it’s a single insertion, she adds. So if and when the product does get approved it’ll be simple for U.S. and foreign corn hybrids to take advantage of the trait.
While this product can have positive financial impact in the U.S., Schmidt is most excited for what it will do in undeveloped countries. “It can save lives, I’d love to see it go to Africa,” she says.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"Don't Worry be Happy"

Don't Worry Be Happy

     What a great Easter we had in northern Illinois!  I have been asked about all the rain and if we are behind schedule in the fields.  This year so far we are continually 5-7 days from being able to start planting corn.  We get close and another rain day appears.  Illinois is 1% planted in corn and the average would be 6%.  Today I hear some locations are planting but most are still a few drying days away with rain in the forecast.

     Below is why we should be HAPPY.

This was April 14 2015 conditions Red and dark red are extreme drought conditions
 April 14, 2015, U.S. Drought Monitor Map
This is April 11 2017 showing vast improvements

Map of U.S. drought conditions for April 11, 2017

Western and southern states are looking so much better and we hope this is not temporary.
We all know nothing grows well without moisture so for now BE HAPPY even if it means delays
in your plans.

Serving together, Dean

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Act now for Annual Gathering

web site for registration is

2016 Annual Gathering

 Register NOW!
FRB's 2016 Annual Gathering 
August 5-6, 2016 in Sandwich, IL
This year's gathering is being co-hosted by the Somonauk, Earlville and Ottawa-Barrington Growing Projects. Annual Gathering t-shirts are now availible! Order yours now to pick up on Friday or Saturday.
Schedule -
Friday, August 5 @ 5:00 pm - Welcome Dinner at the Sandwich Fairgrounds, 1401 Suydam Rd, Sandwich, IL 60548
Saturday, August 6, 7:00am-4:00pm - Annual Meeting at the Timber Creek Inn and Convention Center, 3300 Drew Ave, Sandwich, IL 60548
  • Farmer Breakfast, 7:00-8:30 am - presentations by local representatives from John Deere and Pioneer Encirca Services
  • Update on the Next One Million Initiative
  • Presentations by overseas guests from the India-Patharkmah/Umsning program.
  • Lunch
  • Small group discussions
  • Silent Auction
  • Worship service
Rooms are available for reservation at the Timbercreek Inn & Suites, 3300 Drew Ave. Sandwich, IL 60548 at a rate of $129.00 a night. Please call (630) 273-6000 to reserve your room.

web site for registration is

Also at the Fairgrounds on Friday is the Dekalb county 4H show with poultry show beginning at 3:00 so if you are driving in and arrive early check it out.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Soybean fields and pigs

Who knows what you find until you walk the field.

Bird nest in row of soybeans that are just emerging.  Killdeer has made the field home.  It's not unusual to find them and they have adapted well.  There will be no tillage in this field and birds will be fine.

    While this field has beans already emerged I have another that was planted the day of a large rain and the ground has become harder than I would like.  That field will be watched closely.  If we get some rain in a week to soften the ground I expect a good stand, if not we will see.  Keep you posted.

    Planting is resuming after several rainy days and we are still ahead of average progress.

Pigs at Nancy's

I picked up some pigs from Independence Pork ( they have been donating either adult pigs or money to buy pork for our event each year).  I meet Alma the manager and this year they are donating a pig that one of our church partners will raise for the hog roast in October.  They are weighing about 15 lbs. now.

                                         Serving together,  Dean 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Hands of God

   Last week I had a discussion with a friend about my churches involvement with world hunger through FRB.  I was surprised by his response " Its proven that people are worse off after we try to help than if we did nothing."
    FRB has in 2014 hit a milestone of 1 million people sustainable food secure from our help.  That means they are now growing enough to last all year and of sufficient quality to meet dietary needs.  In many cases they also have extra to sell.  We know this is not an easy task and most of our overseas projects are a 3 year commitment.  Most importantly it starts at the local level of those who are in need.  Our goal is a Hand up not a Hand out.  We do not give them food but the resources to provide their own.  We also don't tell them what to do, but work with them to solve their problems.  Many times our part is to be an advocate for them to acquire property rights, marketing channels, water sources, or whatever is needed.  When we are done we move on to help others and the group we provided help to often extends what they achieved to others in the area.    

Acts 20:34-36New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 34 You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions. 35 In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

   Yes we can be the Hands of God by supporting the weak. Please consider how you can help, not use excuses, look for a participating church or visit FRB web site at:

Serving together, Dean

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rain Delay

Rain Delay:
     Planting has stopped this week as rain returned on the 27th., and more the next 2 days.   We have been blessed with good weather leading up to this and the below map shows the planting progress.  Actually we are one week ahead of average progress so as of now things are looking fine.

USDA: Corn planting at 30%, soybeans 3%
Corn CBOT December futures prices have experienced volatility on concerns of south american weather and a possible hot dry summer in the US.  Low price on March 31st of $3.80 to high on April 21st of $4.16 that is a $0.38 change in price over the 3 week period.  Farmers will be watching markets closer in hopes of getting some sales at a profit but even this rally may not be high enough to cover all costs for many producers.

Definitely farmers are anxious to get crops planted early to avoid the higher risk of pollination days in the hottest days of summer, and attempting to fine tune their marketing plans.

Serving together,  Dean Lundeen  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Are you anti Monsanto?

I apologize for slacking on my postings but needed a boost to get me going again.  I just read this article on which is part of Farm Journal.  Farm Journal has been providing information to farmers since 1877 and has a excellent reputation for accuracy. is one of my favorite sites and visit at least 4 times a day.

Sales Surge for Monsanto's New Intacta Soybeans

Highlights of article

Monsanto has been developing GMO plants that will increase production and reduce use of chemicals.

They have now developed another type that will save so many chemical applications that chemical companies will be idling factories.

Classic reason why I favor their research.  I prefer GMO over importing oil, converting that into possible harmful chemicals, and creating chemical resistant bugs.  Also to feed the world we cannot be sacrificing plants to insects.   I need a t shirt FEED PEOPLE NOT BUGS, SUPPORT GMO.

link to article.

This is my own opinion and might not be the views of FRB or groups associated with them.

If you still are anti Monsanto I hope you understand the other side.

Serving together,  Dean

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Is drought over?

Texas much improved, California not much

 Watching the news reports it seems that rain is falling everywhere and all is back to normal.  Heavy rains throughout Texas caused flooding and replaced some water retention systems.  Texas wheat was nearly mature so the rain would not help that and actually may cause quality damage to seeds.  Texas corn is starting to pollinate so it will be helped.  Soil conditions are much improved.  California is still showing drought conditions in much of the state.
We hope lasting solutions will begin to evolve.  

For my northern Illinois area we have another week of rain forecast so field work limited 
This was taken Sunday morning and the rows are completely shaded now, we got some hail last night but at this stage the corn is growing so fast the damage will be minimal I do have insurance but no payable loss this time. We will know soon how many acres of corn was planted or if some was switched to soybeans.  My Soybeans are just emerging and the rain will actually do them good.
                                                                                    Serving Together, Dean


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Spring challenges

Planting delays:

     Every year presents a different challenge for the farmer.  This year it is the number of sunny days available for field work.  I received just short of an inch of rain this week so planting progress is put on hold.  Much of the planting got done in April, rain delay, start again middle of May, rain delay, finish early June, and hope for no replanting.  
     Sometimes if it rains within 48 hours of planting a field then turns sunny and warm the dirt covering the seeds becomes too hard for seedling emergence.  When this happens the farmer needs to replant with fresh seeds.  There has been spots that required replanting around my farm and more prevalent in Livingston county.  Rains May 3rd and 4th were to blame.
   Still forecast for light amounts of accumulation for the remainder of the week but first week of June looks promising for resuming work.  
First field planted looks great and ready for next field operations, spray for weeds, apply nitrogen, and monitor for problems that may hurt plants if not remedied

                                                                                                Serving together, Dean.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Two week vacation relaxing??

    Would you think a two week vacation is relaxing?

     Not when it is time to plant corn.  The rains were not heavy on any one day but cumulative they added up to keep field work at a stand still.  Finally it looks as we missed a Sunday rain so we will be at it again.  With a good week forecast I expect that nearly all seeds will get into the ground in these next days. Glad to have the rain because we cannot grow anything without it but will relax more with two weeks on the tractor in the field than off of it.

10-Day Weather Forecast

Daily | Hourly  Customize
Fri 05/01
Sat 05/02
Sun 05/03
Mon 05/04
Tue 05/05
Wed 05/06
Thu 05/07
Fri 05/08
Sat 05/09
Sun 05/10
Mon 05/11
Tue 05/12
Wed 05/13
Thu 05/14
Fri 05/15
Sat 05/16
Sun 05/17
Mon 05/18
75° | 41°
Partly Cloudy
 0 in
Tue 05/19
62° | 41°
 0 in
Wed 05/20
56° | 43°
Chance of Rain
 0.1 in
Thu 05/21
70° | 47°
Partly Cloudy
 0 in
Fri 05/22
74° | 48°
 0 in
Sat 05/23
74° | 55°
Partly Cloudy
 0.09 in
Sun 05/24
76° | 61°
Chance of a Thunderstorm
 0.72 in
Mon 05/25
73° | 57°
Chance of Rain
 0.14 in
Tue 05/26
77° | 56°
Chance of Rain
 0.14 in
Wed 05/27
78° | 56°
 0.17 in
Thu 05/28
Fri 05/29
Sat 05/30
Sun 05/31
Mon 06/01
Tue 06/02
Wed 06/03
Thu 06/04
Fri 06/05
Sat 06/06
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Sun 06/14