OK. I know it’s now the end of January and I’m still not caught up on posting from last fall. I am finally feeling caught up, to a point, with my most important winter office work. Last year’s data has been pored over, crunched, edited, tweaked, post calibrated and used to make decisions for 2018 and forward. Time has been put into selecting seed, figuring out the best way to keep weeds at bay both chemically and physically, crunching numbers to make the current corn and soybean prices work, developing marketing plans and attending winter meetings put on by the U of M, Coop and other ag related entities. My calendar for February still has more meetings and training sessions on it.
First field of corn.
Opening up the headland.
Fan motor needed bearings.
Now where was I before going off on that tangent. Oh yeah, corn harvest. It really did happen and I have the pictures to prove it. Normally, we don’t start harvesting corn until after soybeans are done but this fall was not normal by any measure. After getting tired of the weather delay we kept having during soybean harvest, we gave in and harvested some corn. The moisture was at 22%, dry enough to get a start. The variety removed all of the headlands on a 300 acre field. Taking these off would make harvesting the remainder of that field much easier when the time came. After meticulously going through the electric motors that need to reliably get us through harvest, we still had a breakdown on day two of corn harvest. We hadn’t done the main motors that cool the large grain bin. The second one went out about 3/4 of the way through harvest as well. Oh, well. Maybe next year will be trouble free. Yes, I’m dreaming again. Continue reading →
The pace of corn growth accelerates as we approach the middle of June. It’s more of a sprint than a race to complete the task of building ridges in our corn. We started on June 17 with a quick test run to make sure that the cultivator was set up properly.
Ridging wing – rear view.
On June 20 we hit ground running. Two cultivators ridging corn. There was some slow going, at around 3 mph, in corn that wasn’t quite big enough to handle the amount of dirt that flows from the ridging wings. The larger corn let us easily travel at 6 mph. That speed covers a respectable amount of acres in a day.
Close encounter with rain.
The rain caught us.
On the last day of ridging we were pushing hard to beat the rain. I kept one eye on the radar on my iPhone as showers skirted around us on the north and south. The tip of the south rain was within striking distance but managed to slip by at around 8 am. Pushing hard, we finished the field as the rain closed in at 9:20 am. The windshield wipers were running on the trip home but another year of ridging was behind us. Oh, the satisfaction.
We have been farming the field on the left of a number of years with reduced tillage methods. The field on the right has had conventional tillage. The hillside erosion differences were quite evident this spring.
The affect of tillage on hillside erosion. More clay showing on the right.
A big thank you to all the U of M staff for putting on a fantastic field day at Morris, MN today! Jodi DeJong-Hughes led this multi-station field day. Five different stations were set up to focus on Tillage and Technology:
New tillage technology
Planter set–up for moderate residue levels
Residue management of corn–soybean rotations
Tillage influence on soil properties
Building soil health with improved soil structure
These sessions were followed by equipment field demonstrations showing chisel plow tillage with various points, vertical tillage and strip tillage.
The weather couldn’t have been nicer for a field day. Upper 60s, slight breeze and partly cloudy. It was a great chance to meet old friends and make new connections as well.
Here’s the U of M’s description of the day:
Crop producers and other agricultural professionals can see the latest in variable depth tillage equipment, watch side–by–side field demonstrations by national and regional manufacturers, and learn how to build soil structure for maximum soil productivity. Other highlights include the following:
Discover how strip tillage can fit into your rotation and individual soil situations.
Check out proper planter set–up for improved crop emergence and residue management.
Discuss how to save time and money while building soil productivity.
Visit with equipment reps about their new products and services.