First rain delay of #plant18

Thursday, May 3, 2018

It is raining this morning, and by the looks of the radar, it could be a strong storm.  We are hoping for a little rain, not a gully-washer.  We were making progress with planting corn and soybeans.  In fact, Ross is down to the last two fields of corn to plant.  I have a little over 700 acres of beans in the ground.   The planting conditions were quite good, and the weather finally is warming up.  Just think, 2 weeks and 3 days ago, we had snow!  The planters were really working this week around our neighborhood.

Ross has been getting along pretty well with the corn planter.


This is the view forward during soybean planting.

This is the view to the rear during soybean planting.

Clouds gather Wednesday evening as I step out to check the planting depth accuracy.  You dig into the planted row to find the seed placement, and make certain the seed is lying in the moisture.

Wednesday afternoon, we had to refill the air cart.

The learning curve on using a Gen 4 screen in the 9520R tractor to operate the air drill has been a little steep.  I had assistance from Gerald Chaplin of Alliance Tractor to fine-tune the section control.  That is working nicely.  But we have discovered some limitation of the way the Gen 4 handles a change from front-to-back tanks on the air cart.  Seems like there needs to be some improvements in the software.  I have discovered a ‘work around’ to help keep it going until a ‘fix’ is offered by John Deere.  Good thing we have the FieldView system to capture the as-planted information seamlessly.  The AutoTrac guidance with the SF3 signal is working quite well.  All this techy stuff is really neat to operate, and it is helpful to know how it is saving us money on seed costs as we plant.

Here, the Gen 4 monitor shows what has been planted (the blue around the perimeter of the field) in this irregularly-shaped field.

The FieldView in the upper left captures the planting information as it ‘listens in’ by Bluetooth to the JD Greenstar system. The Gen 4 screen at left, shows the ‘run screen’ that controls the air drill.

There has also been some progress on the leg replacement project.   The guys from Montgomery Welding have the ‘boot’ set in the pit, and the bottom section of trunking has been set in place.  We had the concrete block work in the pit re-done where the nearby bins unload.  That work was completed before setting the ‘boot’, and it all looks pretty nice.  Some sections of trunking have been assembled on the ground, and Russell Lashley, the electrician, has attached some of the related conduit.

Here is the ‘boot’ and bottom section of trunking that are now in place on the new leg. You can see in the background the replaced concrete block work. These leg components are made of stainless steel which should improve the useful life of this leg.  Next, we’ll add a wood floor around the leg.

Here is the head of the new leg, along with some trunking.   The electrician is attaching some conduit to the trunking before it is hoisted into place.

This rain delay will allow us to repair a leaky hydraulic cylinder on the air drill, and some bearings on the corn planter.   And to be honest, a nap this afternoon will be welcome to this old farmer!  In the first hour of rainfall, we’ve received .4″  (10mm).  Nice.

Ross tells me it’s his 60th crop to plant (he started running the corn planter when he was 15).  For me, it’s my 44th crop as a full-time farmer.  You’d think we’d be better at it by now…  Each year is a bit different, with new challenges and opportunities.

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