Luckily we had a nice stiff northerly breeze, so we got to see all the planes come in over our heads.
Which was definitely needed to take our mind of the corn we were cutting. It was pretty poor. George was in the same boat as a lot of people this year, who just didn't have the water available to keep up with the corn through two months of 100+ degree temps.
I played a gig with RPM that Friday evening. I don't remember who we opened for-- I packed up my drums and headed right back out to the field after our set. It was the last day of September, after all, and I needed to get this corn finished so I could get some wheat planted.
Anyways I got just about finished that night, and I despite running over an alfalfa valve just as I was finishing up the one field, I thought it was worth it.
I took the last load in to the elevator that morning and we got all moved back home.
I spent the first couple of days the next week trying to fix the sprinkler tracks at home. The sprinkler runs in a windshield wiper pattern and because of this the ruts get absolutely atrocious over the course of a summer.
Then I got the fertilizer put down.
And it was time to get some wheat in the ground. I started with some foundation Hatcher, which is a wheat out of the Colorado State system.
They didn't have treated seed available in bulk bags, and I wasn't about to mess with bushel bags after my two back surgeries this spring. So I brought it over to the local Pioneer dealer to get it treated.
Anna joined me after school, which was awesome.
I got the Hatcher planted that night, and then we got some rain. And by "we" I mean everyone in the state of Kansas except for us (the red star (click on the pics for a bigger view)):
But don't worry, we had gotten pretty used to it over the past 30 days.
And pretty much all of 2011.
And so I got some Everest planted on Saturday...
And I kept on at it into the next week switching to Greer.
You can see my spot tillage around the wheel tracks.
Herb was nice enough to deliver my registered PostRock, SY Gold and Foundation Denali(!!) on Wednesday.
About two hours of cleaning equipment in preparation for taking delivery of true bulk seed, but if it isn't 100% pure going into the field, there is really no point in raising Certified seed.
Then there was more drilling.
Drilling wheat no-till into irrigated wheat stubble is a new frontier for me. Normally we put our wheat on "clean" ground every year to allow for maximum flexibility in selecting which varieties we are planting. On this circle I had to plant the exact same varieties on the exact same acres as last year to maintain the varietal purity necessary for seed production. In this case it means TAM 111, SY Gold, and Dumas.
Another late Saturday night.
But I got all my irrigated wheat in the ground by October 15th, which isn't too shabby, and actually quite an improvement over the last two years. In 2010 I got done on the 21st, and in the rain soaked fall of 2009, I didn't get my wheat in the ground until November 7th! My goal is usually to finish wheat planting around October 10th, but I will take late over early every time.
Finishing the TAM 111 on the monitor...
And the same view in the field.
Side note: I had passed my 30-lb-of-weight-lost-before-I-can-get-a-smart-phone trigger the previous week, so I was able to (after panicking) download the K-State Sports app onto my new Droid 3 after the radio station carrying the K-State/Tech game inexplicably went of the air 10 minutes before kickoff. Phew!
The next morning I had a peek at the baby Hatcher.
Monday morning I headed over to check the other circle of corn. The south half was a touch wet yet.
And the north half was better, but still not dry enough to put in the bin.
So I reluctantly went ahead with planting the dryland wheat. Now, normally, I would have been all over planting the dryland, if not a little worried about getting it in later than I would like. But this year was anything but normal.
Normally, after a field has been fallow for 11 months, there is quite a bit of subsoil moisture, even if there is no moisture on top to get it up. So the idea is to "dust it in" when you normally would, and hope for a nice shower to get the wheat sprouted and ready for winter. But this year, there was absolutely no moisture to be found anywhere, (one grave digger said it was the first time ever that the soil was dry all the way down) which meant, at least in my mind, that I did NOT want the wheat to sprout this fall. Wheat that has not sprouted will not die over the winter, no matter how dry it might be. Wheat that has sprouted in marginal moisture and with no help from the soil below will need regular help from above all winter long in order to make it through.
As this crop is going to be entirely dependent on winter snow and spring rainfall, I honestly think having it sprouted in the fall will be of no value to the success of the crop (despite the 2011 crop, where the fall sprouted wheat made about 20 bushels more than the spring sprouted wheat. While the fall of 2010 had just as dry topsoil conditions, we had a full moisture profile below 6", so early root growth was critical to success. Root growth is pointless (and impossible) when there is no moisture to grow in.) Spring sprouted winter wheat may have a 25% yield disadvantage, but winter-killed wheat has a 100% yield disadvantage. Honestly, if I didn't have an insurance plant date deadline to deal with, I would have waited and planted all my dryland wheat in February.
Rainbows are always pretty, but they are a lot prettier with some mud in the foreground :/
I found out that all those little bolts are actually important. Weird.
Meanwhile Tom had planted the PostRock and Denali seed for us. (in case you've lost count that makes Eight (8) different varieties. Madness! Wheat harvest lobiwan is going to be SO ticked-off at wheat planting lobiwan.)
Billions of baby wheat plants, entering a cruel and unforgiving world.
Godspeed, baby wheat.