Monday, March 30, 2015

John is testing the spray boom on the JD 4730 sprayer.  He put about a hundred gallons water in the tank, and now he is circulating that through the boom, checking for any leaks or cracks in the system created by the freezing of winter.  Looks like his “winterizing” of the system worked well.  The old, pink RV anti-freeze is now purged, and the machine is ready for some spring herbicide application work on the cover crop wheat.  Maybe that can occur tomorrow or Wednesday… the first field operation of spring 2015!

John tests the spray system here at the farmstead.  The old RV antifreeze is being cleaned out of the sprayer's wet system, while it is being checked for leaks.

John tests the spray system here at the farmstead.  Plain water is being run through the boom,  while it is being checked for leaks.

All systems are "go". Hopefully, John will be able to place this sprayer into the field operation tomorrow.

All systems are “go”. Hopefully, John will be able to place this sprayer into the field operation tomorrow or the day after.

We are trying to prioritize the sequence of spring work, with the goal to plant soybeans and corn as soon as the soil conditions permit.

For corn, we would prefer to first apply the crop’s nitrogen, and follow with a herbicide application just ahead of the corn planter.  If weather conditions delay that enough, we can apply the nitrogen later, between the rows of small, standing and growing corn.  But that can be challenging too, for the rapidly-growing corn can get too big for that sidedressing task.  That window of opportunity can close quickly; therefore, our preference is to apply N preplant.

With our preplant herbicide program this year for soybeans, we must delay our planter for up to 14 days after the herbicide is applied.  Last fall did not allow us to put down herbicide protection, so that complicates our management of weed control a bit now.   Therefore we are trying to push a significant portion of the soybean preplant herbicide higher in the priority list.   We’d like to have a big chunk of the soybean preplant herbicide applied before Easter.

When Roundup-Ready soybeans were a ‘new’ thing, we could plant into some pretty harsh weed-infested fields, and then go back up to a month after planting to stop the weeds.  No-till farming has selected for different weed species over time.  Now, the prevalent spring weeds are more difficult to control with post-emerge herbicides, making preplant control more essential.  The fields simply must be clean of weeds before the soybean planter rolls.

Somehow, it all seems to work out.

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