Scholarship Opportunity

Scholze Family Farms is proud to announce that we will be offering a scholarship to one graduating senior from both the Alma Center-Humbird-Merrillan as well as the Osseo-Fairchild school district! Applicants must be graduating in 2014, going on to secondary eduction in an agriculture related field, and write a short essay about what their vision of the future of agriculture is. Please see your guidance counselor for more information. Hurry up, the deadlines are fast approaching!

Also proud to announce the launch of a It is still under construction but slowly getting there.

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Winter Office Work

I get asked a lot what I do in the winter time, so I thought I would share a bit of the “back room” stuff that goes on.

I work quite a bit on preparing for the upcoming growing season.  We are using more and more variable rate equipment in out operation, so I have to spend time building the maps for that.

soil mapWe soil sample based off of soil type maps (like above) so I enter the soil sample results into the program.  Using the soil type maps combined with the soil sample results I can make application maps.
Lime mapAbove is a lime application map.  This map will be downloaded to the controller in the lime spreader, which will vary the rate using GPS as the operator drives across the field.  This will help assure that the PH of the soil will be balanced across the field, without over applying in some areas, and under applying in others.

I also work on variable rate planting maps.  I make these slightly differently then a lime application map.  The first thing I do is look at as many yield maps as we have available.
yield mapsFor this field I have 4.  I look for similarities from year to year.  From here I start to build “zones” in the field based off of yield history, soil type, and knowledge of the field.

planting prescriptionOnce I have my zones I start to make a planting map based on those zones.  Once I make a zone I can easily edit it to place test blocks with in my zones, to see if my rates are correct.  I will compare this map to the harvest map in the fall to make sure my zones are correct.  You can see a test block in the middle of the red zone as well as in the middle of the green zone.  If I see a yield increase while going over those zones with the combine, I did something wrong, if the yield goes down or stays the same, I am on the right track with my variations.  Each year is a learning experience!

planting with resultsOnce my rate map is a complete, I can view a summary which will show me max, minimum and average rates.  As well as the amount of product we will use (in this case, bags of seed corn.)  Once again, this map will be downloaded to the corn planting tractor, and the tractor uses GPS to automatically make the variations as the operator drives across the field.
Another project I work on is making sure we know exactly what our cost of production is.  I Purchased a spreadsheet to help me with this.  Please ignore the numbers, most of them aren’t correct right now, but it gives you an idea of what it includes.

profti2profit3profit4As you can see, I put in the cost of each of our inputs (land cost, fertilizer, seed, etc) as well as the cost of our equipment, how much it cost to make each pass across the field, cost of handling grain, etc.   Then we put in our yield and other information, and it calculates the price per acre and bushel of each operation.  Farming has become as much about managing margins as anything.  This tool helps us understand exactly where our break even prices are, as well as help us show where we need to make improvements.

I do one of these spreadsheets for each crop that we grow.  I know this isn’t the most exciting stuff in the world, but not everything we do is that exciting!  Hope everyone is making it through the winter ok, I know I am ready for spring!

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Cold, cold, and more cold!

Thought it might be time to update a little here. As most of you are well aware this has been an unusually cold winter. I don’t have statistics in front of me but I think that I can safely say that since December 1 we have had fewer then 10 days that have reached 30degrees F. This extended period of cold, coupled with last weeks “polar vortex” which drove temperatures to -30 with -60 wind chills has made it more challenging then normal to keep people and animals warm and happy while keeping equipment running, but so far we are doing pretty well. We are hoping that this upcoming weeks mini “vortex” is a little nicer to us!!

Calf coats and lots of dry fluffy wheat straw help our calves battle the cold

Calf coats and lots of dry fluffy wheat straw help our calves battle the cold

One of my favorite calves, nonstandard Holstein coloring coupled with a very spunky personality!!

At work blowing heat below waters trying to thaw out water pipes

At work blowing heat below waters trying to thaw out water pipes

We spent the better part of three days last week keeping water flowing everywhere we needed it.

The home place

The home place

Cold and snow….with more of both on the way!!

Think warm thoughts!!

Think warm thoughts!!

I will leave you with this…Think warm thoughts!!

One small item of note, you can now follow us on twitter, @theo_farms or on Facebook,

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Happy New Year!

I know I know, I have been really dropping the ball on posting on here!

Not a lot of exciting things going on since we finished up harvest, but here are a few random pictures from the last couple of months:

New born calf in a warmerMy dog Sophie, checking out the first calf of the new year, a heifer born at around 7:00 Am on Jan. 1st.  The calf is in a warmer that blows warm air on it to dry it off and help is save energy in the cold weather.

oliver 660 diesel restoreOne of the shop projects this winter, restoring an Oliver 660 Diesel for my dad.  The engine can be seen in the back ground on a stand (between the rear wheels.)

cattle in a chuteVaccinating heifers.  The pink on the chute isn’t blood.  🙂  If we want to sort them back out after we have handled them, we will use a pink cattle paint on them, that is simply over spray on the chute.

inside a freestall barnOverhead view of the freestall barn.

cat skid-steer with sand shooterOnce a week we add fresh sand bedding to the stalls.  The white powder is lime that we throw into the stalls to help keep them dry.

setting grade stakesDelbert and Dave shooting an elevation.  We started pushing some dirt this fall for a freestall addition in the spring.

large Floridian dairyBecky and I visited a large dairy in Florida.  Read more about them here:

hungry calvesHungry Calves!

little girl with calvesAnd Zoie checking out the calves.

Hope that every one had a safe and happy Holiday Season.  I’m looking forward to what 2014 has in store!

Also, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook:

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The Harvest Is Complete!

Well, I have to say that I am glad to have this cropping year in the books!  We finished up combining corn last week.  Sorry for the long delay in posting, have had a busy couple of weeks!

john deere 9500 combining corn

john deere 9500 unloading into truck

Who doesn’t take their combine apart mid harvest?

john deere 9500 with concave removed

Zoie and Owen go for a ride with Dave in the combine.  Zoie (3 years old) told Dave that he “Needed to leave some corn, so that when she got done with Kindergarten she could combine some.”

cute farm kids riding in john deere combine
We actually didn’t dry any corn this year, since we had such a late spring and cool summer, the corn was very “wet” meaning the kernels had a lot of moisture in them.  Luckily, we have animals to feed, so it works very well to grind wet corn, and store it in bunker silo for feed.  So we ground all of our corn as high moisture corn this year:

white 6215 grinding corn
Dust and sunset make this picture look like nuclear winter!

white 6215 tractor grinding corn at sunsett
We also harvested cover crops for heifer feed off of some acres that we were unable to get into in time to plant corn this spring:

claas 900 chopping sorgum sudan grassWe planted Sorghum Sudan Grass, in the next picture the Sorghum Sudan is 12-13 foot tall, put has gone down….made harvesting it quite challenging.  But thanks to a good crew we got it off.  Can’t say we didn’t curse a time or two though!  🙂
sorgum sudan grass laying downBaling soybean stubble late into the night:

case tractor baling at night
All in all, some of the yields did surprise me.  We chopped the worst of our corn, and where the corn wasn’t really bad, it was much better than I was expecting.  If that makes any sense!

And so that is a wrap on 2013 cropping.  2014 plans are all ready well under way, most of our seed orders are in and paid for all ready!

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Owen Helping Out.

Little Mr. Owen loves to help out on the farm.  Here are some pictures I took of him helping build a new feed bunk, setting concrete forms up:

cute farm boy setting concrete forms

little boy with blue cast

Finishing the concrete:

little boy helping trowel concrete

Zoie and Owen putting their hand prints in the concrete:

cute farm girl concrete hand print
farm kid print in concreteAnd since the rest of the guys were drinking out of the hose….Owen needed to drink out of the hose as well:

cute farm boy drinking from hose

Also, you can now “Like” us on Facebook:  Hopefully more up to the minute pictures and comments on there.

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Soybeans Are Done.

Finished up combining soybeans today.  We didn’t have a lot of acres of beans this year, and we definitely didn’t have any problems keeping up with the trucks!

John deere 9500 combining soybeans


Couple of sunset pictures:

john deere combine at sunset

john deere combine unloading at sunsetUnloading a truck:

truck unloading into belly dump auger
My trucking buddy on Saturday, she always loves an adventure!

loveable mutt in a farm truck black lab
All we have left for harvest now is a couple hundred acres of corn, and baling up bean and corn stubble.  We plan on making high moisture corn out of most of our corn because it will be very wet coming off the fields.

I’m ready to have this cropping season in the rear view.  It has definitely been one to remember, and not for any good reasons!

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