BTR-Billy Pontius

Billy Pontius-November 5

“We’re putting tile in right now. We got all of the fertilizer spread and field work is 98% done. We stayed pretty busy when we finished harvest. We kept going working ground and fixing things that we didn’t get a chance to work on last fall.

“It was nice getting done early so we can get all of this other work done before winter. We were out of the fields for five or six days. It is still damp on top, but we’re back at it now. We still have no water running though our tiles whatsoever. It is going to take some serious precipitation this winter to get our water table back up.

Some of the creeks are still pretty dry. When you dig down about six inches it is dry and we’re going to need moisture before next year. It is still really dry underneath.

“We’re waiting for these markets to pick back up so we can haul some grain into town.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius-October 22nd

Harvest has wrapped up for 2013. “Corn and soybean harvest has finished up on the farm. Soybean yields are in the mid-50s and corn is going to end up right around 100, which is pretty much what we thought it would be. I was a really happy with the soybean yields we had this year.“

Considering the extremely challenging conditions on the farm — most notably the lack of rainfall — the harvest went pretty well. “I was surprised that the corn held up as well as it did. We really did not see many problems with the ears falling off or standability. I am really pleased with my beans. The beans died off early then started to green back up when it started raining. There are some beans shattering on the hills, but it really was not that big of a deal.”

With harvest completed, the focus on the farm has turned to other autumn tasks.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius-October 8th

Harvest is progressing quickly despite the rains.

“We’re just trying to get these beans off. We have probably 500 acres of beans left to run and probably 175 acres of corn. Corn yields have stayed right around 100- and 110- bushel range and beans have been right around 50 bushels.

“I am really pleased with my beans, but the beans died off early then started to green back up when it started raining. There are some beans shattering on the hills, but it hasn’t been as bad as I thought. I got a lot of my early beans off. I think the later beans will be right there around 50 bushels for an average too. I have had beans at 60 bushels but I also had some at 40 bushels.

“Some of the later corn is still a little wet, so we are going to finish up the beans and then finish the corn.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius-September 24th

“We were getting ready to cut beans and the wind picked up the auger, threw it on the ground and totaled it. So yesterday I had to go get another auger to cut beans. Then my draper head wasn’t adjusting the way it should. There was a loose wire in the electronics and we haven’t started at all on beans. Hopefully we’re going to start beans in about an hour.

“I have about 400 or 500 acres of beans that are ready now and they should run pretty smoothly. We hit the corn pretty hard so far and we have quite a bit done. The wind didn’t hurt the corn at all.

“The corn has been better than I thought. The black dirt is OK. On some of my hill ground, there has been some corn in it where I thought there wouldn’t be anything. I haven’t figured everything out yet, but we’re between 100 and 110 bushels dry for an average.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius-September 10

“We could be in the fields today but we’re trying to finish up some projects. We’re planning on starting on Monday morning. We took some corn moisture readings and some of it is 25% and some is 21%, so it’s going to be all over the board. I just want to get into it and see what is out there. I don’t trust this corn standing a really long time. There is no problem right now, but these shanks on the ears are pretty small and I don’t want them to drop off to the ground.

“We’ll have some beans ready by the end of next week. We’ll probably run corn for three or four days and then switch over to beans maybe next weekend.

“We got 2.5 inches this week and I heard that places north of Buckeye Lake got nine inches of rain and others got six inches. But west of here toward Circleville, they only got five or six tenths.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius-August 27, 2012

“There is good corn and there is bad corn. Pollination is not really good, but it is better than I thought it would be. We are going to have small ears, which is a given, but the ears are pretty well pollinated. It will be tough to judge yields until we actually get out in it.

“I checked the moisture this morning. It was at 25% or 26% moisture, so I would say in 10 days or so we’ll start shelling some to see what it really is. I am a little concerned about ears dropping and falling off the stalks. The plants gave everything to the ear and I am hoping we don’t get a hurricane wind blowing on this stuff out here and bringing a bunch of moisture while we’re trying to harvest.

“We had some rains that helped the beans. I am really impressed with how the beans filled out, even the earlier beans.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius-August 6, 2012

“We’re getting ready for harvest. Things are at a standstill right now. No spraying needs done and we’re just getting everything ready to roll. I would say we’ll get started with harvest in about a month. If you get down around Circleville on the gravel ground, they may start harvest in a couple of weeks. The corn plants were dying, but that little bit of rain helped them to green back up a bit. I don’t know if it will help yield any.

“I’m hoping for corn around 120 bushels. I’ve done some ear counts and there are some decent sized ears and some plants with no ears on them and some plants with nubbins on them. It is really hard to tell.

“If I can hit 120 bushels with $7 or $8 corn we’re talking about the same amount of money or more per acre as 200 bushels at $4.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius, July 16

Another round of rains missed the farm. “We’re hoping for 100 bushels on corn. It has had two inches of rain since planting. You’ll see an ear that is really good and then you’ll see one that’s not good. A few ears are pollinated completely and then there will be one that only is 25% pollinated. It is all over the board depending on how much moisture the plant got.  The average of it is not good. That 100-degree heat got it. The later pollinating corn is no better off than the earlier corn because we just haven’t gotten any more moisture. The blacker dirt is holding the moisture a little better. The clay banks, though, pollinated but the some of the plants never shot an ear.

“I am surprised that, with less than two inches of rain since we planted, that this corn isn’t already dead. If we had this 10 years ago, we’d be shelling corn right now, or mowing it.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius, Fairfield County, July 9


“We haven’t had rain since Friday June 29 and we only got four tenths out of that. It is crucial right now. I have checked some pollination and there are some pretty serious problems in pollination on some of this corn. Being 100 degrees and pollinating is not good. It has been pollinating for about two weeks. I would say maybe 20% never even pollinated. Even if it did pollinate, if it doesn’t get any rain it will abort the kernels.

“A lot of the corn is fired and is turning brown halfway up the stalk. Some plants may not even have an ear on them. A substantial amount of rain is the only thing that is gong to help this corn. Even then, I think we’d be lucky to hit 150-bushel corn. It is hard to guess, but I would say 100- to 150-bushel corn would catch most of my crop this year.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius-June 25, 2012

“This corn is having a really hard time right now. If we don’t get a rain before it hits 95 again, it will take its toll.

“I got a half-inch of rain two weeks ago. That is all the measurable rain we’ve gotten in a month and a half in some fields. When you get into a dry period like this, it is hard to get a rain. If we don’t get rain soon, I think we’ll see guys shelling corn around here in the second or third week of August. It is that bad.

“On the gravel ground, the corn is turning a gray color and that is serious. If it starts raining now, there is maybe still potential for 150-bushel corn in some fields, but I have some corn that has already started pollinating. And, the leaves are curling up during the day around that tassel to protect them.… Continue reading

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Between the Rows, June 11 update

Billy Pontius, Fairfield County – June 11, 2012


“Last week we probably got a tenth of an inch of rain. In the last five weeks we’ve maybe gotten two tenths of rain. It is pretty dry. The corn has been rolling, but I think we have roots that are really deep. I don’t know if it is hurting corn yields or not, but we need some moisture. We have had a few hot days, but it has been fairly cool.

“We’ve got some moisture pretty deep, but the corn and beans are almost at a standstill. I am fairly happy with the corn for as dry as it has been. My early beans look really good and they are starting to close the rows on my 15-inch beans. Overall, stuff looks pretty decent really, for the amount of rain we’ve had. We haven’t had bean leaf beetle problems, which surprises me a little.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius, Fairfield County, May 28

“We finished up on May 18. It was getting pretty dry at the end, but most of the last beans we planted are up and looking pretty good. We had a rough spell with the corn there for a couple of weeks. That cold weather really took a toll on the corn more than I anticipated. We had some seedling blights, a little bit of cutworm and some wireworms. There was nothing major, but just a lot of little things and the cold, wet weather slowed the crop down. But, planting early was a gamble I was willing to take. And, if we had waited, we would be dealing with this dry weather.

“It seems like everybody around here has a few troublesome fields this spring. We didn’t replant. There were a few spots here and there, but I would have ended up tearing up more than I would have helped myself, especially as dry as it is now. … Continue reading

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Billy Pontius, May 7

“We need it to quit raining for a while so we can get the rest of these beans in. We’ve gotten two inches in the last week, so it’s pretty wet. Most of my corn is OK. It has emerged well. But if we keep getting rain, it will start drowning things out.

“We have about 500 acres of beans left to plant. I only need three or four days.

I am surprised that I haven’t had any cutworm problems. We put insecticide on everything and I think that helped. With this warm weather, the corn will outgrow the pests I hope.

“We’ve got some beans up — the first ones we planted are up and looking pretty good. I am really pleased with the corn. I was a little leery starting early with corn and then having all of that cold weather. But if we hadn’t started early, we’d be behind with all of this rain.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius, Fairfield County, April 23

“It is a little colder than I want it, but I have had corn in colder situations and it was alright. The corn I planted on April 5 is up, which is probably 200 acres. This rain couldn’t have come any better because this corn couldn’t have come through the ground because it was so hard. We still are a little drier than I want, but the nice slow rains are much better than the two-inch rains in 10 minutes we got last spring. It is not washing anything out and there is no ponding water.

“We are done planting corn. It all went in beautifully. The ground temperature got up really warm and there was moisture there for the seed to germinate. The cold doesn’t bother me because it is not soaking wet.

“A few years ago we finished on April 22 which was the earliest we have ever planted all the corn and this year we finished on April 20.… Continue reading

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Bill Pontius- April 9th, 2012

“I planted 200 acres there last week. It went in beautifully. It has been better than everything we planted last year. I planted about 50 acres a day last week starting Wednesday and just did it here and there and got the bugs worked out on some of our smaller fields. We didn’t plant anything this weekend.

“We ‘ve been missing a lot of rains and it is getting pretty dry here. Soil temps are 52 in the morning to 58 late in the day. The corn is starting to sprout.  I didn’t have one wet spot in any of my fields and I just kept planting because it was dry. There is enough moisture underneath for it to germinate, though. If it was going to be wet, I wouldn’t have planted. It looks like a couple of cool days this week and then it is supposed to be in the 70s toward the weekend.… Continue reading

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Billy Pontius, March 26

The nice conditions in March allowed for some early spring productivity on the 2,900-acre farm based in southern Fairfield County. “We’ve gotten some field work done. We sprayed some bean ground last week and we ran about 500 acres with tillage too. We’re putting residual down when we burn it down. That residual will last 2 or 3 months and that will hopefully hold us until June when we’ll need to get out and spray anyway. We’re trying to get ahead of these weeds. I am also going to play it safe and put insecticide down on my corn ground when I spray.

“I know west of here towards Washington Courthouse, there were a few guys out planting. I knew a cold snap was going to hit and I’m glad I didn’t plant anything yet. I am going to try and wait until at least April 6 for crop insurance reasons.… Continue reading

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