I sit down to write this blog on the eve of riding four days of RAGBRAI – the annual bike ride across the great State of Iowa!  Months of preparation, be it long bike rides or meetings with the crew planning our vehicle shuttles and logistics have lead us to the big moment.  Now it’s time to jump on and pedal across half of the state.

Getting ready for this event serves as an analog for summer in the farming world.  The seed for this idea was planted earlier in the year, and the time between that planting and the big event has been one of preparation and anticipation.  Instead of harvesting corn and soybeans, we’ll be harvesting a good time (and sore legs).

Here on the farm, the preparation for the main event has been in full swing as well.  The corn has now matured to the point where any further chemical application will come from above, as the crew at Skyline Ag has begun its crop dusting season.  Normally that means a lot of activity in McIntire as the planes come and go, but the MIA (McIntire International Airport) is currently under construction so we haven’t had much plane activity yet.

Ground-level spraying has continued on the soybean crop, applying fungicide.  Last year, due to the excessively wet conditions, we struggled to fight white mold and sudden death syndrome in the soybean crop.  Thankfully that hasn’t been an issue this year, and we anticipate our largest soybean crop ever.

I’ve even been taking to the air, in the form of drone flying.  In order to free up Ben’s time for spraying, I learned how to run the drone this summer.  Every couple of weeks I make the rounds, scouting all of our fields, and taking a picture of them to document the progression of the crop.  These pictures will help comprise the Management Practices Summary that all of our landlords receive in August.  I’ve really enjoyed the process of learning this new skill, and I relish the opportunity it provides me to keep close tabs on every farm throughout the growing season.  Plus, who am I kidding – it’s fun to get out of the office and play with remote control stuff!

Like every summer, the grain hauling continues at a hectic pace.  The corn has been primarily heading to Valero in Floyd, or Homeland in Lawler, while the beans have been primarily headed to the Mississippi.  Last week’s tornado in McGregor has disrupted the bean flow a little, but we remain on pace to empty our grain storage before harvest.

The last big piece of excitement around Pinicon (which you’ve likely noticed if you’ve driven through McIntire lately) is the construction of a new 400,000 bushel bin in McIntire.  We’re excited about the opportunities and improved efficiencies that will come from consolidating our storage at this location.

While we reach the dog days of summer, it may seem like harvest is a ways off, but the days – like my bike – continue to roll on.  Before long, the dust will fly, the hours will get late, and the big moment we all live for will be here!  But for now, it’s time to ride.

Alex