Wednesday, March 20, 2019
I read a quote today: “The first day of Spring is not the same as the first Spring day”… I must agree with that one.
It’s raining again this afternoon. Monday and Tuesday were quite nice, with lots of sun and calm winds. The temps got to about 50ºF, and so it was pleasant to be outside. Several little jobs got done on those two nice days.
The CIH 220 field cultivator was pulled out and given some maintenance. It needed about a dozen new sweeps. The tire pressures were corrected. The folding and lift systems were lubricated, along with the rolling basket on the rear.
In other news, we traded for a new (to us) JD 712FC corn head… one that folds for transport. Now, to move from field to field, I’ll just touch a button, rather than detach the head and place on a wagon to pull end-wise. It should simplify the process of getting from one field to the next. Plus, it’s 9 years newer than the old 612C! We would expect for this corn head to be around here for a long time.
Also, the new CIH 2150 corn planter arrived Monday evening. It is the same size, 24-row, 30″ as our previous CIH 1250 planter, but about the only thing that seems the same is the red paint. The row planting units are completely different, with individual electric drive, and the Precision Planting Delta Force down-pressure system. The row cleaners are a new style. Even the gray seed boxes are different. We don’t have all the bells and whistles from PP, but this down force system seemed like a very logical improvement.
We met yesterday with our reps from Dekalb and Nutrien to discuss a specialized corn planting prescription service made possible through Climate.com. After reviewing their proposal, we are putting this service into action in one large field with highly variable soil types. This new Climate.com feature, called Advance Scripting, utilizes many factors to recommend a presciption–including previous yield histories, the traits of the particular variety being planted, and satellite field health imagery. We will directly measure the results of variable-rate (VR) planting to a static (or single) planting rate. Ross’s new planter will have the capability to plant half-width with the VR, and the other half with single-rate. This will make the entire 170 acre field a test plot to see if the VR brings value. We have been reluctant to use prescriptions for corn planting, because of our inability to quantify its effects. But with this new planter and FieldView technology, we will be able to determine just how much value VR brings to our corn crop.
Brandon used the two good-weather days to repair tile holes. These occur when the underlying drainage tile develops a defect or hole, then the soil erodes away to the surface, creating a ’tile hole’. He uses the backhoe and a hand shovel to reveal the problem, then uses some plastic tile to repair the defect. Then, the excavation is refilled, and voila! no more hole.
Because it’s raining outside, John and Brandon are working in our shop, fabricating a metering dispenser to add the talc and graphite seed treatment to the auger delivery system of our Easi-Load seed tender trailer. Rather than dumping talc/graphite mixture into the top of the planter seed box, this will more uniformly distribute this seed treatment throughout the planter’s seed filling process. The talc/graphite is a type of lubricant that improves the flow of the seed through the planter’s vacuum metering system.
Looking at the calendar, it’s telling us it would be nice to begin some field work. But, as always, we will use the days that we are given. There is rain in the forecast off and on through next week. Any field work in March is like a bonus, but once April arrives, we like to get going. Just remember in 2018, we had snow in mid-April… and we were able to get the crops planted in a reasonable time anyway. So, we will see what comes. The One who knows what weather is coming is not telling… He just wants us to trust Him.
I think we are pretty much ‘ready’ for spring field work.