Another baby step

Thursday, May 29. 2014

We are getting closer to the end of planting season.  Soybean planting was delayed by frequent rains, but the corn was delayed by our wait on the construction project at Lett and Watjen.  Just yesterday evening, the guys of Shepard construction got the WASCoBs at the Watjen farm completed, and moved out of the way.  John was able to apply the NH3 before dark.  Ross intends to plant corn there this afternoon, weather permitting.  This will leave one last field on the Lett farm to be planted, and the Shepards are working there this morning, installing drainage tile and building WASCoBs.  We are very hopeful to put planting season behind us before May ends.

The rains this week have been spotty.  For example, I sprayed selected fields at Huey and Nellie yesterday.  The field at Huey was dry and in great condition, but when I moved to Nellie (about 1/2 mile away), it was wet on top, and had it been just a little bit wetter, I would have had to wait for it to dry some before running the sprayer over it.

On Wednesday, we rearranged our tasks.  I took over the sprayer for John, so he could join Ross at the Freddie farm to sidedress nitrogen on the corn there.  We all finished these tasks in mid-afternoon.  John continued NH3 at Watjen, Ross returned to do some replant corn at the Pond farm (.2 acres), and I checked on the progress of the conservation construction.

Later, I took the Gator to the Cox farm, and looked over the far end of the field to see if replant would be needed.  That end of the field collects standing water when the rain comes too hard or fast.  I did find a small area where the beans had succumbed to the 2-3 days of standing water.  To my surprise, it was dry enough to replant.  So, I hooked the bean drill back to the 9330 and went down there to replant.  I ended up re-doing 4.3 acres.  If that’s all the replant I do this year, I’ll be celebrating!   (If you recall in 2013, it required over 200x that amount.

I’ll be checking at the Lett farm this morning to observe progress of the construction.  Yes, it’s been a little frustrating.  We understand that we have a potentially reduced yield from the later planting date, but the soil conditions at Lett and Watjen are such that this conservation work is sorely needed.  As with most things in life, there is a trade-off to be measured, and we came down on the side to wait for the NRCS and Shepards to get this project finished this spring.

Next week, our French ag student, Nicolas Haigron, arrives and we will begin to acclimate him to southern Indiana.  The pace could/should be slower next week, with planting completed.  There will be a small amount of post herbicide spraying.  And I want to turn attention to getting the combines fully prepared for wheat harvest, which I estimate will be in about 3 weeks.  Of course, the tractors and planters will need to be washed.  The trucks will need an inspection and lubrication.  It may be time for some machines to have the engine oil and filters changed.  There is always something that needs attention.

Yes, there have been some challenges this spring, but it just feels better than a year ago.  The growing corn and soybeans look pretty good.



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