Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Electrical Line Fun.

After some trouble with power out in the barn and at the grain bins it was decided we should replace our old overhead lines with new underground cable. Here are some pictures from day one:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Birthday Girl

She woke up to find a trike and a new dress (which her Mama made her.)

Then we went to Plymell's field day to play.
Opening more presents after we got back home.

Enjoying Chinese food (with second cousin Madeline) at her party.

And flying kites.
A good first day of being four.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fun With Math

I had Tom spray the wheat with fungicide. This is something we do as a standard practice on our seed wheat, since the crop is so valuable. Most wheat gets sprayed by plane to avoid making tracks like this through the field. I think the better coverage achieved with a ground rig makes up for the tracks. (A way to avoid this would be to leave tram lines through my fields, but as I plant without markers using a simple WAAS corrected gps lightbar, I can't plant straight enough to make any tram lines effective.)

So here is the fun part. Assume lobiwan had 348 acres sprayed. Assume Tom has a ninety foot boom. Assume his tire tracks are 10" wide each. Assume that the yield of the wheat, if sprayed by plane, would be 60 bushels per acre. Assume wheat grin will be worth $6 at harvest. Now, assuming that there is no yield difference (per acre not destroyed by wheel tracks) between either method of spraying, and assuming the application cost is the same, how much money did lobiwan lose by having his wheat sprayed by ground? How much better (in bushels per acre) would the yield need to be to make up this money 'lost'?

Friday, May 22, 2009

NW32 Step 16

I know that it looks suspiciously the same as step 15, but in we are running the sprinkler for two very different reasons. In step 15, it was important to activate the preemerge herbicide which we applied in step 14. Here in step 16 we are helping baby corn plants facing a crust on the soil surface to go ahead and emerge.
While it is pretty the puddles are a bad thing. The water pools in places where the soil has been compacted, which inhibits its ability to absorb water. This soil is compacted because we drive through here regularly to work on the irrigation well/motor, and also the grain cart generally ends up going around the pivot here quite frequently during harvest.

Here you can see the difference in soil temperatures between where the ground has been tilled (above)and not tilled(below). The corn is several days ahead where the ground cover is sparse because the soil is so much warmer there. This is a big reason why most farmers strip-till, rather than no-till their corn.

I really like the baby corn. It's pretty tough to come up through all that trash.

No chance of "rowing" the corn yet.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In Which malh Takes the Lead

Two bad tires on my "new" mower bring us to #5 and #6 in the big contest.

The tires were the final step in getting my mower ready to go. Let's see... 2 new chain guard sections, one new driveline shield, one complete new driveline (ouch!) new rear shields, 2 new tires and a touch of gear lube. This puts me a little over budget, but still way less than 1/2 the cost of a new mower.

Now lets kill some jointgrass...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some Wheat Production Problems

Last week I attended the wheat diagnostic school at the experiment station. Let's see what we can find in my own fields:

Here is some dryland wheat south of my house:
This thin stand is a result of two things. First, dry conditions at planting. This is the only field I planted in September of last year, and conditions were quite dry when it got planted. As a result, only about 30% of the wheat I initially planted came up. This wheat ran out of moisture fast and so shut down fall tillering early. The rest of the field did not sprout at all until the rain we had in the second week of October. That wheat had plenty of moisture last fall and tillered normally. It sounds backwards, but the wheat that came up early did not have as good of a root system going into winter as the wheat that sprouted after the rain. With our (perfectly normal) abnormally dry winter, we lost about the top six(6) inches of soil moisture by the time February rolled along. Then we had (perfectly normal) abnormally warm February. This pushed the wheat to come out of dormancy early and (especially in the case of the wheat without roots past the first 6 inches) to joint early (any time a wheat plant is stressed it will speed up it's growth processes). While jointing does not completely stop tillering, it certainly puts it on the back burner. So we are left with patches in the field that essentially did not tiller, resulting in a very thin stand. It is good thing for me to remember that these are the places in the field where I actually succeeded in my goal of planting into moisture.

Next we have these patches of shorter, yellowish wheat:

With this "flame out" pattern on the leaf tips:
This is the result of a barley yellow dwarf infection. This is a wheat disease that is spread by aphids, most notoriously this fellow:
This is a bird cherry-oat aphid. BYD can also be spread by greenbugs, and we definately had greenbug activity earlier as you can see on this leaf:

This striping of the leaves is classic Russian wheat aphid damage:
Russian Wheat Aphids like to hang out towards the base of the leaf, so if you un-roll the rolled up leaf (another sign of RWAs) you can find them:
Here is some hail damaged wheat:

Here is an example of loose smut, which is a seed borne disease.:
This head is NOT from a seed production field! All of our seed production is planted with treated seed, which greatly reduces the occurrence of this disease.

Here is a little bit of (I think) freeze damage. Before I opened the spikelet in question, you would have seen that it was white. The arrow is pointing to the flower, which is dead. As you can see, the rest of the head is perfectly healthy. The flowers in each head don't all mature at the same rate, so it is normal to see a freeze to affect only parts of the head. This could also possibly be hail damage.

And here is an example of spray rig operator error. I guess Phil hadn't quite got the hang of his fancy new sprayer when he sprayed his fallow this spring.
And here is some damage from spray drift:
Corn herbicides and wheat fields don't mix very well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009