Saturday, March 31, 2012

Today, we’re celebrating last night’s rain.  It measured .4″ here, and it was a welcome event.  It has been a big, productive week.  We have almost all the ammonia on, and almost all the burndown herbicide has been applied for this year’s soybeans.

John has had an interesting week.  He has been applying ammonia with the new John Deere 2510H applicator, and the N-Ject metering and control system.  It started off slow, with some unexpected problems, as most first days are with a new machine.  The second day was even more difficult, as he experienced some trouble with the metering system.  He seemed to be underapplying the expected rate, with erratic application.  So, he was on the phone with the Capstan folks (his new tractor has a Bluetooth-enabled hands-free connection built into the cab) as well as the salesman from Ohio Valley Ag.  Over the 3rd and 4th days, John wrestled with the installation of additional guages, cleaning the filtering screens of rust, and learning how to utilize this new system properly.  Capstan kept offering additional suggestions, and there were times John felt like a guinea pig.  John even made the effort to go over several fields a second time, applying a small rate, to make up for the shortfall of the first pass.  Happily, by Friday afternoon, he was at the Huey farm, on that big, flat field applying at the proper and expected rate, and traveling at 9 mph!  (that seems fast to me).   I think his efforts are paying off, even though he had to experience some frustrating times to get there.  We must also say that the applicator or John Deere part of the machine worked almost flawlessly, it is rare to see any escaping ammonia.

Ross has returned and is “back in the groove” too, using his new MX 290 tractor and applying NH3 with our DMI 15-knife toolbar.

In the meantime, I was using the new 4730 sprayer to  apply burndown herbicide to this year’s soybean acres.  I am very pleased with the functionality of the “BoomTrac” system that uses a radar signal to keep both wings of the boom a constant height from the ground, even on rolling terrain.  I never want to operate a sprayer without it!  The larger boom, at 100 feet compared to the previous 90-footer, is much more productive.  Of course, the air suspension system is a great feature, and makes for a pleasant ride.  And the 4730 has new software for the GreenStar 3 interface, easier to navigate and set up.

All in all, a pretty good first week in the field…. and it’s still March!   I’m fairly sure the planters are coming out next week!

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