We spent part of a day last week hand weeding soybeans. It was quite the experience when we found beans up to our armpits. These are much harder to walk through but we managed. Eventually we were rained out with a, much welcomed, 2.5″+ rain over a couple of days. This will go a long ways in filling the pods and ears on this year’s crop. We are still finding soybean aphids in the field that we sprayed a few weeks ago. So farm the levels do not warrant a second round of insecticide.
Helicopter giving workers parts.
As we walked the field we also were entertained by the power company workers adding stabilizer bars to the new power lines on the north edge our our field. Workers dangled from the three levels of lines and attached equipment that was fed to them by helicopter. Suddenly we saw the helicopter pluck each worker off the line and fly away with them dangling on the long line. We didn’t know what brought on this sudden whisking away of the workers until the rain started to fall on us. They were keeping a better eye on the weather that I was, I guess.
We had our earliest start ever in a planting season. April 15, 2015 was the day it all began. Some tillage was done the day ahead so we could get off to a fast start in the morning. We spent until 2pm on April 15th troubleshooting GPS issues. So much for the jump start. Man can make all the plans he wants, but God is in control.
A few days of warmer and dryer than average weather gave us ideal planting conditions. Looking ahead though told us that our window of opportunity would quickly come to a close. The following week was going to be quite cold with many nights below freezing. Four days of planting and then a break. The next week saw a neighbor here and there putting some corn in the ground, but we did not want to take the chance.
Monday, April 27th we were off to the races again and completed corn planting on April 29th.
As planting nears, we need to be assured that our liquid handling systems are working well. It’s a tricky call as to when we can put water in these systems and not risk having them frozen and cracking components. Once testing is done the equipment is stored in a closed machine shed during freezing nights yet to come.
April 1 and 2 were the days we felt comfortable with this call. The planter handles liquid fertilizer, specifically Ammonium Thio Sulfate (ATS), that is banded as a narrow stream over the seed once the furrow is closed. The rain will then take the nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) down to the roots. We apply 8.3 gallons/acre to get a total of 24 #/Acre of S on the field. The N is just an added bonus to the S application and is subtracted from the total N we put on our fields so we don’t over apply our nitrogen. The fertilizer application is controlled by our John Deere GS3 monitor mounted in the cab. We also have a controller for insecticide application using the Smart Box system as well as a Precision Planting 20/20 monitor system tied to an iPad for precise monitoring of seed placement.
Our Top Air sprayer handles the bulk of our chemical applications for weed control. It needs to be in top notch condition for application of herbicides soon after planting. The soybean pre-emerge herbicide has a 3 day window to be applied so it won’t damage emerging seedlings.
Last week we experienced an extremely warm week for mid-March. We took advantage of it by taking the planter out of storage, power washing it and servicing it in the shop. We’re still waiting for non-critical parts that are back-ordered. We need to run water through the fertilizer system to test it out but basically we’re ready for planting.
On the way home from a parts run to Wabasso, we had the largest flock of geese that I’ve been this close to, fly right over our vehicle. I was amazed at the patterns inside the flock of vees inside vees. I pulled over as quickly as I could to snap a couple photos with my iPhone. I thought I’d share the photo with others.
After much of the snow melted away we were presented with a stark comparison of wind erosion on our Ridge Till field versus the neighbors well worked field. If you click on the photo to the left to enlarge, you will see almost black covered snow compared to our nearby ditch. The photo to the right is a shot down the field.
From this photo you’d think that it’s a beautiful spring or fall day. The bi-fold shop door is open and the combine is ready for maintenance. It would be a shame to shut the door with such beautiful, sunny weather upon us.
Well, this photo was taken on January 26, 2015 on our farm. It was 46 degrees outside and the shop door did stay open for a couple hours that afternoon. We also brought the snow blower out of the shed for some PTO maintenance. Not much snow has come but we did have a problem to take care of and what better time than when you can work with the door open.
Here’s the photo taken from inside the shop to prove to you that it was indeed winter. Not much snow but it’s there all the same.
We had a narrow window of opportunity on Saturday, April 26th to get some corn planted. On Tuesday we had worked up 40 acres in anticipation of getting started but last minute equipment issues stopped this from happening. After a rain delay, things dried out once again and we headed to the field Saturday afternoon. With rain in the forecast for most of the next week, we wanted to get something in the ground so any hidden problems could be dealt with during the break. 55 acres later we quit around 9pm and headed home to tuck things away before the rain fell.
You’ve heard of counting growth rings in a log or tree stump to find out how many years old it is. Well, while clearing snow from our east facing machine shed doors we discovered that you can count how many snow/wind storms we had through the winter by counting dirt lines.