Where there’s oil leaks, there’s fire!

Sunday, October 2 was a day to remember but not in a positive way. We had just started filling our second truck with soybeans when disaster struck. I had unloaded the combine onto the grain cart while heading back to the road. Once I got to the road, I decided to dump off the few bushels I had left in the combine since the auger was passing right over the truck as I turned around. Once unloaded, I headed back into the soybean field. I didn’t get more than 50 feet down the field when the monitor on my armrest had a big red warning about low hydraulic pressure. Thinking I was spewing oil all over the place I shut down the combine and stepped out the door to investigate. As I looked back at the engine compartment from the top platform of the ladder, I saw a large ball of flames in the hydraulic pump area. I turned on the radio and told Dennis, who was in the grain cart, to call 911 immediately. He came over, as I was emptying the cab of important items such as my monitor with all the data on it, and emptied the fire extinguisher on the fire to no avail. We did what we could to secure items from the cab and stood back watching the flames grow as we waited for the fire trucks to arrive. Needless to say, the combine was a total loss but the fire department did manage to save the bean head.

We were able to rent a combine the next day and use that until we made a purchase. We used some down time during rainy days to research and look at combines in the area and settled on a John Deere S660 from Worthington, MN.

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Getting ready to harvest.

combine-in-shopThe combine came out of the shed at the end of August. Using the list of repairs suggested by Kibble Equipment, from our annual inspection, we meticulously remedied each item step-by-step. We have found post season inspections to be invaluable in preventing in season down time with our equipment. combine-shop

LED Tractor Lights

Our 8310T is showing it’s age by not lighting up the field nearly as well as newer tractors. We took the plunge this fall and updated the major lights on the tractor to LED. As you can see in this picture, it was more challenging that we thought it would be. Rusty bolts forced us to take the hood off of the tractor for easy access with the tools that could solve the rusted bolt dilemma.

tractor in shop for lights

Test plot planting day 2016

test plot follow with ranger

Planting the plot. Ranger follows to help change varieties on the other end.

test plot changing varieties

Not everyone likes having their picture taken.

Every year, Otto Farms puts in a test plot for corn varieties. Our limit is 24 and we made it to 21 this year. That’s a lot of seed boxes to empty and refill every 500 feet of planting! We plant 3 varieties on each pass. 4 rows/variety. We couldn’t have picked a better day. Beautiful weather with light winds and short sleeve temperatures.

Below is the lineup of varieties that made it into our plot this year. These are varieties we are planting in our field as well as varieties we would consider planting in future years. Most of the varieties are double stacks meaning that they are roundup and corn borer resistant. We have a couple that add in root worm resistance as well. When the double stack varieties are planted in the field we add an insecticide in the seed furrow to control corn root worm as well as other in-ground insects. Continue reading

Spring planting photos.

vertical till

Kuhn-Krause Vertical Till Machine

vertical till view from cab

Vertical Tillage viewed from the rear window.

sprayer ready

Getting the spray equipment ready.

corn kernel seed in trench

Checking seed placement and soil contact.

planting corn front view

Planting as viewed from the driver’s seat.

planting corn rear view

Rear window view of the planter.

Planting as well as applying fertilizer and insecticide.

Planting as well as applying fertilizer and insecticide.

planting corn follow

Planting corn – rear view from the field.

Corn Planting 2016 – April 15

Planting as well as applying fertilizer and insecticide.

Planting as well as applying fertilizer and insecticide.

After the slow/cold start to April, we were pleasantly surprised but the fast warmup of both the air and the soil.

An array of monitors.

An array of monitors.

April 15, 2016 was our official start date this year for planting corn and by April 23 (due to a rain delay) we had all our corn in except 80 acres. We thought we’d squeeze it the last field before the weather turned against us but to no avail. Now we wait through a week of forecast rains.

Soils were fit for planting and had plenty of moisture available for good germination. We still need to get our pre-emerge herbicide on the fields but that time will come soon enough.

The current rain delay allows us to catch up on other things that get ignored when planting is the priority.