Monday, May 16, 2011

Activity Recap

So it rained again this weekend. It started on Friday night and rained off and on all day Saturday and Sunday. There was around 2 inches in the gage this morning, so no planting today. But some of our corn is emerging. The field below was planted on May 5. Corn usually emerges in 9 days at the NCRS. It was good to see. But Michigan is still behind normal planting for corn. In the USDA crop progress report just released today, only 41% of the corn in Michigan has been planted as of May 15 (yesterday) compared to 80% last year and 68% over the previous 5 years. But the previous week only 8% was planted, so fields were busy last week. Most of the top corn states are behind in planting, but poor Ohio seems to be the hardest hit with only 7% planted compared to the 5 year average of 70%. A few states like Iowa are actually ahead of the 5-year average (92% vs 84%).But let me give a brief recap of activities late last week. Nick actually moved quite a bit of equipment from the existing equipment barn to the new one. These are things that we won't be using for awhile, but were in the way of things that we regularly use. So it was nice to get some things moved. Thanks Nick.
Here is the finished floor of the fertilizer and chemical storage barn. You can see the water tracks that slope towards the sump in the middle. This floor layout is designed to contain a 7000 gallon spill. We really don't want to test it though. It will be nice to get this up and running sometime later this summer.

We also got a 0.3 inch shower last Wednesday night which made Farm 7 too muddy to finish our two remaining corn tests there. So on Friday we switched to soybean plots on Farm 3 which has much lighter soil and had dried out enough to plant then. Below MSU Intern Amanda maneuvers the fertilizer "War Wagon" into position to load plot treatments into the drill, seen in the background in the field. Amanda was raised on Red tractors on her family farm, and it pains her to drive green, but it's all in the name of research.

And our other intern Jeff loads a fertilizer treatment mix into the plot tank of the drill. We are using the drill to plant 15 inch row beans here. This has worked very well in the past, with the fertilizer actually applied in the row, which we generally don't recommend for 30 inch row beans.

And the drill is off again to make another treatment application.

You notice that we plant soybeans as no-till here on Farm 3. We also planted some second year corn as no-till on Farm 3 as I did also on Friday. Most of the pictures to date have been conventional till due mainly to worked ground on other farms after tiling last year. But we do some no-till too, as well as strip till which has been shown here previously.

So what has the Specialty Crop Crew been up to? I just can't seem to get Brian to take enough pictures of their activities, so I have taken some. The price will be pretty steep when he comes seeking pictures for meetings and reports. Below we see Brian and Tim planting potatoes with the mechanical planter. That plot tractor can apply liquid and dry comparison fertilizer as it plants.

And today, the only outside work was over on the so-called "perennial crop" area. Dan and Tim are applying wood mulch around some small trees. You can see the fertilizer effects on the grass around the tree rows, so it is important to get them mulched. They will control the grass later.

So thats all for now from the NCRS!