Todd Hesterman

Todd Hesterman, 2014 wrap-up

It was a very good year and there are a lot of varieties that show a lot of promise. In that aspect, I almost like an adverse year to better judge some of these hybrids. Some of them may fall flat on an adverse year. I don’t think we will be making any wholesale changes on hybrids but I am going to try a couple of new ones that have shown some promise that have been around for a couple of years. There were two or three varieties that I have increased by 20% to my seed order over this year.

I have backed off on some of the rootworm traits. We have done a pretty good job suppressing that, though I will still have some in my lineup. The refuge really complicates seeding programs. We did take a hard look at the economics too and whether the cost was worth the trait.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Nov. 24

We finished everything before the snow. Everything was done before any real inclement weather and we finished on a good note.

Corn was fantastic. For us it was a new farm average record. Soybeans had a couple of fields with some stand issues due to early rains this spring. Those brought our average back down into our normal range, but we did have some outstanding soybeans as well.

We had corn field averages anywhere from 228 bushels on down to around 175 bushels. The beans had highs in the mid 60s and the fields with stand issues were down in the mid-40s. The corn definitely surprised me, but it makes sense looking back on it. We didn’t have a lot of stress at pollination and when we were getting critically dry we had some really nice rains the first week of August. I think that helped the corn more than I had imagined in terms of kernel fill and maintaining the kernel counts that pollination had given us.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Nov. 10

We are shelling corn as we speak. We have been making progress, but the weather has been hit or miss. Saturday night we got a shower and we have been getting nuisance rains on and off. Field conditions are not terrible, though, and we are not mudding up the fields yet. But, we have to manage what field we are prioritizing and it is a scheduling nightmare.

We are looking at what varieties are standing and which ones are not. I attacked the fields that had stalk issues first. We are hitting the corn pretty hard and I think we caught the worst fields before they got too bad. If the stalks were breaking off, it was right above the ear. Another couple of weeks and we would have seen problems.

We are close to 80% done now. We finished soybeans a week or so ago. Some fields never really recovered from moisture stress, but overall I was very pleased.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Oct. 27

Finally, the push is on. We have really only been harvesting soybeans for about two days, but they were huge days. We ran until 1 in the morning Saturday night and as long as conditions would allow us last night.

The wind has really brought the moisture down on the beans. When we started we were taking off 15.5% moisture beans and last night they were down to around 12.5% moisture.

We actually started corn on Monday last week. Beans were still at 18% or 19% because of the rain we had gotten. We switched over to soybeans mid-day on Thursday, then we got some heavy dews and we only had short windows of harvest until Saturday.

Soybeans are yielding anywhere from the mid-50s on up to the mid-60s with some reports around here in the 70s. Field averages are 62 or 63 and in the tougher fields they are in the mid-50s.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Oct. 6

There has been some harvest activity in the neighborhood, but our crops are slow to mature. We may still be a week away, even with good weather. And, everyone who has been running has been battling green stems. The beans are dry but the stems are still green. This happens to some extent every year but this may be the worst it has been in a while.

And, the daily harvest window has been short so far this year. There has been haze or fog until the early afternoon just about every day and you can’t run until then. Nobody is making very fast progress. I am ready to get out there. We have double and triple checked the machinery.

It got fairly cold but we did not get much of a frost if any. The coldest we got was in the low 40s or upper 30s.

I will still try to get wheat in.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Sept. 22

There have been a few fields of beans taken off around here. Even our late beans are just starting to change colors. I think we are finally in the drying down phase.

We had a little warmer weather into the 80s. That was very nice and really pushed things along. We got a little rain over the weekend, but nothing heavy or severe. Things are definitely starting to look different. Even the corn in the area is starting to mature and dry down. I think there could be some corn harvest starting pretty soon. I think we are still two or three weeks for us to get started with harvest on our farm.

We didn’t get our beans planted as early as we’d like so we are behind and the cool weather held us back a bit. I am still planning on putting in 53 acres of wheat this fall. The seed is ordered.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Sept. 8

A lot of the early beans are starting to drop leaves, but they are still a couple of weeks away from harvest yet. We ended up getting another eight tenths of an inch of rain on Friday. It was a pretty nice rain. I think it will still help these late season soybeans that are still as green as can be.

I think some of these early beans will come off in time to plant wheat this fall, but it will depend on what maturities were planted. The beans matured quite a bit with the warm weather we’ve had and the market will probably determine how much wheat gets planted more than anything.

I even think our full season corn has started to mature. It is starting to brown at the base. I haven’t opened up the ears to see exactly where we are on the growth stage. I think it will make it to maturity, though we may have a couple weeks to go yet.… Continue reading

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Timely rains boosting yields around Ohio

We got three inches on Aug. 11 and it was really needed. The drainage ditches never came up. They ran but they never rose. It has really helped the beans, especially the full season beans. As long as we get some favorable weather they really have some potential. We ended up getting another half-inch then later that week.

The corn was starting to fire and curl a little bit and that has subsided. The rain may have been a little too late on some on some of the earlier corn. We had some tip die back. That rain will be very beneficial for most of the corn, though, and it will help with kernel depth on the earlier varieties. That is why we grow multiple maturities, so we can spread some of that risk.

I don’t think we’ll have the amazing yields we had last year, but it will be above average.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Aug. 11

We have gotten a wonderful 5.5 tenths of rain this morning. It was definitely getting critical. Some of the sweet corn producers were saying that if we didn’t catch a rain, they were going to be done for the year. The rain will definitely help fill kernels in the corn and it will definitely put some pods on the soybeans. They were coasting along waiting for the next rain. On one farm, we had almost an inch last week and only half a tenth five miles away. It had been three weeks before that since we’d had a half-inch rain.

The forecast looked like there was a chance for the next couple of days and on and off today. I think this ground will take every bit of this nice soaking rain that we desperately needed.

Pollination went OK for corn. We may have taken the top 5% or 10% off of yield with the dry weather, but we may gain some of that back with the kernel fill.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Henry Co., July 21

Even with the hail damage we came out pretty decent on wheat. Just about everyone around here was optimistic that they had better wheat than they would have thought coming out of March. Yields were between 85 up to 115 bushels in spots. The crop adjuster had said there was about 17% damage from the hail and our wheat ended up averaging about 83 bushels even with the damage.

We took it off a little wet because there were some kernels hanging loose in the heads. We pushed the harvest envelope a little bit, but the moisture has come down nicely with air-drying in storage and we have taken off three points in just a week. Test weight was also starting to be an issue after the hail. I don’t foresee any quality issues, but we haven’t taken any in yet. A lot of my neighbors made straw this year. We decided not to because we are doing a drainage project.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Henry County, July 7

Two weeks ago, I had just been talking about how good the wheat looked. We had a small band of hail come through that was right on top of our wheat field. I am guessing it is a 25% to 30% loss but I haven’t heard back from the adjuster yet.

It was a really small area — only a half mile wide by a mile long. There were wheat berries broken off and some heads that were not broken off had half the berries gone. The beans and the corn were young enough that I don’t think it will be a major issue. Corn was probably knee high and it only shredded the leaves. And, at this stage for the beans, I don’t know that it is much worse than an application of Cobra, but our wheat crop definitely went backwards. There was 1.1 inches with the hail in 25 minutes or so and there were high winds but we didn’t have any corn that went down.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Henry County, June 23

You don’t have to go very far north or south where they have had rains that are kind of excessive. We got a half-inch over a three day period and every drop counted. But, not too far away the rains have been too much and the crops are showing stress.

For this time of year, the rains have been a little on the short side right here, but the crops are looking good. It hasn’t shown much heat stress. Last week before the rain there was a little curling of the corn on those hot days. A lot of that was in the compacted areas or in the fields you got into a little too early. It has been pretty stress free at this point.

The corn stands emerged very uniformly. It was mostly up in 10 days and has never looked back. It has looked good ever since it came up.  … Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Henry County, June 9

We have had some really good weather and things are going well. Sidedressing is well underway and getting close to being done. We have about a day left or so. We have been getting some really nice showers and the last of the beans are coming up.

We finished corn custom work on May 30 because we were waiting on field conditions to improve. We finished our corn on May 10. We finished soybeans right around May 30 too.

The beans are coming up really nicely. Corn stands are very good. Drainage is still king up here and it shows, but the stands are good.

The Beaverdam area had 3.5 to four inches to the south but we never got enough rain out of that to keep us out of the field. We just finished beans and the next day we got four tenths in a nice all day long drizzle.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Henry County, May 23

We got the rain just like everyone else. We really haven’t turned a wheel since Mother’s Day. That is the last we have planted.

I don’t know if we’ll get at it this weekend or not. The fields for some of my custom work had maybe three tenths when we had anywhere from seven tenths to an inch late Tuesday and early Wednesday. We had a little rain before that, that was just enough to keep you out until the next rain. We may get something planted there this weekend but I doubt it.

Everything that was planted up until Mother’s Day has come up. The rains haven’t been so severe that there has been much ponding. The stands look good. The water from this last rain got away for the most part, but you can still see some ponding in the compacted areas and end rows.

We got our last shot of nitrogen on the wheat right before the rain.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Henry County, May 12

Everybody around here seemed to get started on Monday May 5 and a lot of stuff has gone in this week. There were spotty showers that kicked some guys out for a day or two on Wednesday or Thursday. Last night we ended up getting a nice four-tenth general rain in the area.

I would bet we are 75% done with corn planting in this area. A lot went in in a hurry. There have not been a lot of beans planted yet. We haven’t gotten any beans in the ground yet. I had to pick and choose fields little bit. We shuffled some varieties around to get the fuller season stuff planted first. Some of it was like planting a garden. I was pretty impressed.

There was definitely some wheat that was torn up. There are still some stands out there that are pretty thin. We gave our wheat the last shot of nitrogen.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, April 21

We’ve had some good drying days here lately. It is getting to the point where we can really evaluate these wheat stands. I am right in the middle of topdressing the first nitrogen application on our winter wheat. There are still some holes in it, but as a whole it is probably a 95% stand. Just about every field you look at has some holes in it from wet spots. When we planted it last fall we planted it pretty deep with a healthy population, but with the ice and everything we had some of it that just didn’t make it. As far as yield potential, though, we are losing some of the top end because we are just getting the nitrogen on and it is about three weeks late for that. There are two or three farmers around here who are going to abandon some wheat acres and switch to corn.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman, Henry County, April 7

As far as soil temperatures and everything else, we are way, way behind. Until Lake Erie warms up, I don’t think we can turn a wheel. The last I heard was that the Lake was still 70% frozen and it is just not going to be conducive for growing conditions.

There has been a little topdressing done on wheat. With all of this rain we have had I am not sure it was a good idea. There was an opportunity with a heavy frost last week where some guys could get out in the fields.  I don’t know whether the wheat can utilize it. It has showed no signs of greening up.

I look for us to be cold halfway into May and planting will be late. Two years ago, I was proven wrong about planting dates though, when our June planted corn was the best corn we had.  You just have to make decisions as you go and new information is made available to you.… Continue reading

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Todd Hesterman

I am the fourth generation farming here. We are basically a corn, soybean and wheat operation. I do some crop consulting work and I am the coordinator for the Conservation Action Project here in Northwest Ohio. I use cover crops after wheat. We are heavier on corn and beans and we use a vetch after the wheat crop in conjunction with radishes. We also use winter peas. I would love to further diversify our rotation using cover crops and we are working on learning how to manage them with a systems approach.

We are working with the USDA ARS in conjunction with Ohio State University to gather data for developing a phosphorus risk index with an edge of field monitor. It gives us an idea of what is coming off in surface runoff and the phosphorus values coming out of the tile. They want to look at all of the different practices we are using in Ohio fields to see how they influence how much phosphorus comes out of the tile and in surface runoff.… Continue reading

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