Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Great Corn Watch Day 18, 20.

So here is actual photographic proof that I spent some time fertilizing my wheat ground. I went ahead and streamed it on with my sprayer again this year. This is by no means a great way to apply fertilizer, but I think it has a few advantages over my other current options. Three problems: nitrogen volatilization, nutrient tie up, and phosphorus immobility. Mineral nitrogen exposed to the air will revert to its gaseous form over time, and this is accelerated at high temperatures. There is concern that the nutrient applied will get tied up in the surface residue and not become available to this year's crop. Phosphorus, if and when it reaches the soil surface will not move further into the soil profile causing nutrient stratification, which may or may not actually be a problem depending on who you talk to. None of this is a problem in a tillage system because you can simply mechanically incorporate the fertilizer. By far the better option for no till would be the use of a coulter based fertilizer rig to slice through the residue and get the fertilizer into the soil itself. (Stay tuned for more news on that front.) Suffice to say that I don't think these things are normally a big problem on my dryland because in that system I am normally planting wheat into milo stubble which is about 10-11 months old and which does not cover a terrible amount of the soil surface, meaning that most of the fertilizer is in fact reaching the soil itself. Also, I figure if it doesn't rain and wash the nitrogen into the profile it is not such a huge loss since I probably won't have much in the way of wheat growth which would require said nitrogen. (Nitrogen volatilization is strictly an economic concern, NOT an environmental concern.) Surface runoff is another possible concern, but all of my fields are entirely self-draining barring, say, a 500 yr rainfall event. Why is it better than my other options? 1. ANY tillage (in my opinion) in a dryland system (one which utilizes a regular fallow period to conserve moisture) is going to result in a net loss of yield because of decreased moisture conservation. 2. Dry fertilizer on wheat ground is a very risky practice when one is in the business of producing certified seed. (Mixing wheat seed with dry fertilizer is a pretty common practice, and the thorough clean-out of fertilizer equipment very rarely practiced.)

With that out of the way it was time to start planting wheat. I started on Thompson's.

The milo was pretty distracting.
I was very pleased to not need nearly so much down-pressure this year as there was actually some moisture present.

I worked pretty late Saturday evening...

And pretty early Monday morning...

When I got done there was this box on the back porch.
I didn't even open it, but did notice this sticker, which clearly would have precluded this drumset's use at the Deerefield Days concert a couple of years ago:

We then decided to try Rod's corn again.
And it was good to go. (I think it actually tested in the neighborhood of 16-17 at the elevator. More on the politics behind us having to wait for sub-17 moisture corn later.)

Good times.

Friday, March 19, 2010

K-State Confidential.

CBS is going behind the scenes with the 'Cats.
Check it out.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Great Corn Watch Days 11-16

So, with not too much else going on, I told Linda I would go with her to test drive cars. Dennis got us started with this used Liberty.

We didn't feel like we were getting the optimum Jeep experience on top of the highway, so we decided to try underneath the highway.

Then we found some deep sand. And kind of developed a crush on the Liberty.
Pretty much the best test drive ever.

Then we tried a Chevy.
Linda couldn't shake the 'mom car' vibe she was getting... matter what we tried.

I was sold on the trailblazer, however, just as soon as I discovered that the forward thinking engineers had designed a clever storage compartment to hold all of our cassette tapes. Handy!

While it was tolerable in the sand, the Chevy did not inspire much in the way of spontaneous giggling like the Jeep had.

Last but not least we tried out a new CRV. It really had the disadvantage of being a brand new car, so we kind of babied it in the test drive.
For example, we drove beside the riverbed instead of through it.

Dennis suggested that Linda take a nicer, newer Liberty home for the weekend.
So we took it car shopping too.

We stopped at the Nissan dealer so we could drive an X-Terra.
The X-Terra was the worst test drive of all because A. The salesman went with us and B. We had to cut the drive short when the salesman's boss called to find out why we had driven off in the X-Terra the boss was in the middle of selling. After that I got to drive the Liberty for a little bit and discovered that it handled on the highway a lot like a 19 passenger van does, only worse.

And there was a night, and a day, and a night, and a day (and Linda returned the Liberty), and a night and a day, and a night. I'm not sure, but I suspect I spent some time fertilizing the wheat ground. I guess we'll never know.

The next day I loaded up some Jagalene to take to Boots's...
And unloaded it at Boots's.

And then I got a phone call which started a flurry of activity which involved me driving halfway across two counties so that I could say, to a complete stranger, with a straight face, "Taste it, it's fertilizer."

Back at Boots's, much, much later, I was able to pick up my load of Fuller for the return trip.

And the next day I was able to witness Linda take the delivery of her brand new CRV.

There was a random puppy there too.
Dennis even cleaned up Linda's Powercat.

And there was much rejoicing.