Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Problem with Weather Forecasts...

...is that they are often incorrect. For example on this particular night the weather forecast called for the low to be a balmy 28 with highs in the mid 50's on Tuesday. Instead I woke up to this:
Yikes! Now, with a full drop sprinkler system, ice is not nearly the concern it is with the old school spray from the top sprinklers, but it still causes one a little worry.
I made my way over to see the sprinkler still standing and running fine. I decided to wait for temps to get above freezing to shut the system off, though, in order to allow the system to drain completely.
I came back after lunch to check again (as temps were nowhere near above freezing, much less mid fifties) , and found quite a little ice buildup:

I also noticed this tower making unusually deep ruts. How 'bout that!

I also snapped this picture to prove I wasn't the only one who trusted the weatherfolk.
Ice is apparently the least of this systems worries, however. Note the "frozen" gearbox.

Anyhoo it was well after 5 in the PM before temperatures became warm enough that I was comfortable about draining the system:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Circa March 5th

So with the forecast calling for temperatures in the eighties, and having top-dressed we decided it was time to go ahead and water the wheat. We had been holding off all through February both despite and because of the warm temperatures. On the one hand, if the wheat is going to start growing, it would be nice if it had some moisture. On the other hand, watering the wheat during a short warm spell is a pretty good way to guarantee that it grows. The concern, of course is that a sudden cold snap could seriously damage growing wheat. The reason why winter wheat can stay green through the winter is that it is able to, in effect, create its own antifreeze. It takes a little time for the plant to transition between growing mode and freeze-control mode. Anyhoo, 80 degree weather pretty much means growing wheat, no matter what. One quick round, followed by one slow round. Easy peasy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tire # 3, 4

See contest here.
So, I had a flat on my pickup, and decided it was time to give up on both drive tires.
This is actually on of the better spots on either tire.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In Which lobiwan (Finally) Gets Some Real Fieldwork Accomplished.

So a little bit of a late start, but I finally started topdressing on the 3rd. I like to get this done before the wheat starts growing in the spring, and with this years warm temperatures, I didn't have a lot of time.

A little herbicide, a little fertilizer, now let's grow some wheat!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gearing Up.

So after some delays they finally got finished working on my 8100 in town. To save time, I went ahead and drove it home myself.

Then we had to get the tanks on, only problem is that they replaced the muffler.

After a few minor adjustments, though, we got the tanks squeezed on.

Then to get the water tank ready (for testing all my connections with water rather than with fertilizer.)
Pull the sprayer out of the shed.
And recharge the breakaway booms with compressed air.
Finally, some new tips, and we are ready to topdress!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


One of my chief reservations in relying on manure as a fertilizer source is the problem of inconsistency. There is just no way to know how much N or P2O5 is getting on the field. I can estimate based on general numbers that I know for feedlot-fed cattle manure, I can even pull samples to get them analyzed, but the fact remains that no two loads of manure will have the same composition. Clearly the manure (if it is even appropriate to call it manure) load centered in this picture is of much lower quality than the surrounding loads. This means that there will be five acres of ground which don't get near the nutrition of the surrounding acres. Boo!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tire # 1, 2, and a Contest.

We went ahead and replaced the two first tires of the season.

We also replaced a gearbox. We have been steadily updating the old style gear boxes on the Zimmatic to the newer style, pretty much as we replace tires.

The tires came home in a different pickup because the tire shop was out of the big sprinkler tires when we brought them in.

Now a contest. How many tires will we have to replace or repair over the course of the 2009 growing season? (hint: at least 4) I figure that there will be a minimum 145 individual pneumatic tires in active use on our farm this year. All you have to do is take a guess. The winner will get something.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Who Needs Pictures...

That's funny, I could have sworn I left the hard drive plugged in to sATA 0.

The corpse.

Starting over...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Joads Moved East.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009