September 20th was the day we started rolling on harvest, which is just a little later than usual. But we're getting close to being halfway done now, and we’re doing well. Our beans are wrapped up and we're working our way through the corn. And our yields are looking good so far. Our beans, for the most part are looking just a little better than anticipated.
Aaron Paus has been farming since 2000. Armed with an ag-econ degree from the University of Nebraska, he farms 4500 acres — 95 percent corn, five percent soybeans.
Aaron has worked with Jeremy McCroden of AgVenture of Nebraska for over ten years, which drives the operation to new insights year after year. Recently, Jeremy nominated Aaron for the AgVenture Discovery Group to explore new high-yielding techniques and strategies.
The men also have help from Aaron’s wife, Venissa, who is very active in the operation. “She's the cattle prod that makes sure all the stuff I talk about actually happens,” Aaron says. Together they have five kids, ranging from 6 to 15 years old. Though it’s hard to know what the future holds, they’re building a legacy — not only for their children, but beyond.
Things around here have been interesting. There’s been a lot of rough weather, though luckily we’ve been very fortunate with rain. It seems like every time a cloud comes up, hail comes out of it. There have been a lot of tornadoes and a lot of high winds.
Not too long ago, Jeremy nominated me for the AgVenture Discovery Group, and it was through that work that we started doing learning blocks. Then quickly we were working together to come up with a lot of maps, throwing a lot of learning blocks out there and researching things that way.
As far as insights, two years ago, after our first go-round with learning blocks, we saw no dampening off from higher populations or nitrogen. In other words, the higher population blocks saw a linear correlation to increased yield. And the same thing with nitrogen—we saw an increased yield.
I think we've kind of come to a little bit of a plateau from the technology standpoint.
My AYS is Jeremy, and he has been instrumental in taking my operation higher in the last few years. Here's his perspective on our growing season so far:
One of the things we're being forced to learn how to do quickly out here in Nebraska is to learn when the crops are going need water and when. In the past, we could apply unlimited amounts of water, but this year we’re dealing with allocations and can only put on 10 to 10½ inches of water per year.
I was planning on starting my planting on the 15th of April, but because of the cold, dry conditions I dragged my feet and didn't start until the 21st. In the first three days we weren’t particularly productive, but in the last three days we finally started to hit our stride. Then the weather shut us down again.