Blue sky day

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The weather was very beautiful today, just like you’d expect in autumn in southern Indiana.  The skies were clear blue, with an occasional puffy white cloud.  The temperature got up to 73F.  Ross and Brandon were busy sending some soybeans to market, getting a ‘feel’ for the grain’s condition inside bins 4 and 10.

I used the morning to run a disk at the Nellie farm.  Back in the winter of  2010-11, a flood broke open a levee at the north end of the field, near the railroad bridge that crosses White River (west fork).   Large areas of sand deposits were dumped on that field just downstream from the hole in the levee.  Also some debris, mostly trees and brush, was left scattered around.  Of the 125 acres in the Nellie field, approximately 20 acres were rendered unmanageable as a result of the levee break.  Immediately after the waters receded, you could say the area looked like the surface of the moon!   Some deep craters were cut out ( the biggest one near the levee was up to 8 feet deep), and deep deposits of sand were strewn in streaks across the field.  We soon hired a bulldozer operator to re-build the levee, placing it around the deep hole in the field.  But ever since that flood event, we have not been able to get a tractor and implement across those 20 acres.  It was just growing up in johnsongrass and cockleburs and giant ragweeds.  In the sand-deposit areas, not even the weeds would grow!  Normally after such a flood event, it takes about a year to be able to get a tractor and disk across that sand, but this time it took almost 2.  Finally today, I was able to disk down those weeds, pick up and remove the woody debris, and smooth the surface of the soil — the first trip over those 20 acres since the harvest of 2010.    Now, I am confident we can plant a crop there in the spring of ’13.

The disk was stored for winter, and Brandon washed the tractor.  That John Deere 9330 looks like new again!

John has been spending hours in the sprayer this week to apply a herbicide ( roundup and 2,4-D ) to some of our fields.  This application should keep the field relatively weed-free through the winter, and early spring.   This permits the soil to warm up and dry out earlier in the spring, advancing our planting progress.  His work has been limited by windy days– when the wind is 10+ mph, spraying must stop, for the treatment can blow off-target.

Another task I have been enjoying today and yesterday is using the bush-hog around the perimeter of many fields, and along roadsides.  This cleans up the appearance of the fields, and makes John’ spray application easier and more exacting on the field borders.  If the weather permits, I should complete the bush-hog work on Wednesday.

Thursday morning, we will be meeting with our DeKalb/Asgrow (Monsanto) seed representatives– dealer Jeff Jackson, and area genetics specialist Troy Clawson.  We will begin to define the hybrids and varieties of seeds needed for the ’13 corn and soybean crops.

Soil testing is now taking place by technicians from Crop Productions Services, and those results will guide our fall application of phosphorus and potassium fertilizers.  It will also identify any fields that require the application of ag lime, a vital ingredient in agronomic management.  Ag lime adjusts the pH of the soil.  If the soil pH is too low, it interferes with the effectiveness of herbicides, and limits the crops’ access to nutrients from the soil.

And, I have contacted Sam Shepard at Shepard Construction to install about 30 acres of drainage tile on the Waldo farm.  He has ordered the rolls of 5″ tile, and will be arriving soon to trench it into the soil.

I must make a confession… I don’t multi-task very well.   But post-harvest fall requires it!

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