Saturday, June 18, 2011

Where Have You Been Blog???

So the blog has been missing for the past 10 days, and there have been numerous inquiries and complaints. Sorry he has been a slacker, and will try to make up for it today. Not a whole lot of new things to report in the interim, just trying to finish sidedressing corn, both plots and production. Again, this has been a most unusual year where we started sidedressing early planted corn right after finishing planting late corn. The same rainy weather that extended planting has also continued through sidedressing. Heavier ground on Farm 7 is slow to dry out too. Below we see Phil applying some nitrogen on test plots on Farm 7. Alfalfa was cut and harvested the previous week, so it is time to apply foliar Liquid. If applications are made after harvest, it is good to wait a week until the alfalfa has around 4 inchees of regrowth. (Yes, we are still using the Classic Hagie sprayer as the new Super Hagie is not quite field-ready yet. But stay tuned.)
Below is a field shot of the alfalfa plots. It is a good site with 300 foot long plots that enable us to use the round baler seen in last week's installment. Notice the above picture was taken in bright sunshine. The picture below was taken less than an hour later, and it is now cloudy. This has been a regular pattern, although it did not rain today.

What the heck is this thing? An alien probe? (Ouch!) No, it is a time lapse camera installed on the edge of another alfalfa field on Farm 5. This is a prototype built by an outfit here in St. Johns, and was just installed on Thursday. What will it do, you ask?

It will take a picture every 15 minutes, during the day, of the corn plots across the alley. It will show two different fertilizer applications and how they may affect corn growth. This is kind of a test year, and hopefully we can have several in strategic spots, including vegetables, next year. I imagine they could be installed right after planting to monitor growth and emergence. It is in the adjacent alfalfa field to make sure it is not disturbed. Us worker types at the farm have thought of all sorts of clever additions to the pictures, but we don't want to face the wrath of Albert, who set this up.

Here is a close-up view of the camera. I wonder if they know it's not plugged in?

So life at the NCRS isn't all fun and games. Just ask Amanda and Jeff as they pick rocks from a recently planted corn plot on Farm 7. There are some good sized rocks here that can, and have caused issues with equipment.

With the cold, wet and cloudy conditions this spring, there is concern that some of the corn is pale, in spite of fertilizer having been applied. There has been interest in the use of foliar fertilizers to give the corn a "jump start". We applied some foliar treatments yesterday to some corn on Farm 7 that fits the description. It is in some lower ground that has been wet. Our past experience with foliar applications of well fertilized corn in normal years has not been effective on a regular and predictable basis. Corn gets the nutrition it needs from the roots. But in a year like this, foliar may indeed give it a "jump start".

But not all of the corn on Farm 7 looks pale. Below is a picture of an experiment of earlier planted corn that is now drinking in the sidedressed nitrogen, and has good color. So I don't think foliar would be of benefit now on this corn. Notice that this is a field of corn after corn. Most corn around here is rotated with soybeans, as was our original intention. But our neighbor to the north informed us that he was growing seed corn across the road, and needed a 600 foot setback for all other corn. So being the good neighbors that we are, we had to adjust some plantings which meant soybeans after soybeans on the north end, and corn after corn in the next range. We strive for peace, and have to start somewhere.

And so this installment must finally come to an end. You are now up-to-date, and hopefully you won't have to wait so long till the next installment. Thanks for reading.