Monday, August 8, 2011

Meanwhile Back at the NCRS...

So with my globe trekking of late, what about the NCRS? Well there is still plenty of researching going on, and it won't stop till the last kernal is plucked and weighed. For example, on Monday of last week we had another application of foliar fertilizer to soybeans. We have several experiments this year evaluating applications at different growth stages. Below is an application to soybeans in the R3 stage of growth, meaning there are small pods in the upper nodes of the stem. With recent rains at the NCRS, the crops are doing great now after virtually no rain all July. Also last Monday the oat plots were harvested.
Here is a picture taken last week of our fertilizer and chemical storage area. The tanks are all gone and moved up to the new storage building. The dike and liner have also been removed. And the chemicals that were stored in that small building are also moved to the new storage area. I remember putting that building up back in....well I don't remember what year it was, but it was a while ago. Doug got us a spill containment bottom for that shed. But we never did have a spill. So I guess we didn't have to be so safe after all. (Just kidding.) But it will be nice having everything inside now as it was a pain having to pump out the rainwater from the dike and spray it on the alleys on the farm.
It was time to harvest alfalfa again, and last Thursday Ron cut the plots.

We are also evaluating foliar fertilization on Navy beans. So last Thursday we sprayed fertilizer treatments. They are just starting to flower and are vining. Soon the rows will be closed. We haven't really found a good foliar recommendation, especially since Navy beans receive soil or planter applied applications. But this will be the year! On Friday we baled the alfalfa and weighed them by plot. Below, Ron ran the baler and that's Amanda who stuck a stake in the bale with the plot number on it. The bales are still kind of wet, but the dairy farmer who takes the bales prefers them that way. So we don't have to wait for the hay to dry before it is baled. Using high-speed photography, here is Doug putting a bale on the scale. Two samples were collected: 1) to determine moisture and 2) for submission to a lab for quality analysis.

And that brings us to today. It is time for pickle harvest. Brian rounded up a crew to pick pickles. We are very fortunate to have good summer help, and they made quick work of this. The pickles grow so fast that waiting even a day will get them too large for the desired pickle size. I mean, they have to fit into the jar after all. Tomorrow they will be graded for size and uniformity. I'm sure I will take pictures of that. I took this picture last week of some of the vegetable plots. Below we see a nice looking plot of carrots, and onions are in the background. The vegetable crew has worked very hard to keep these plots looking so good, and they will be harvested at the appropriate time to see what the nutrient applications did for yield.

So that pretty much brings you up to date. Who knows what tomorrow will bring to us folks that call the NCRS home, among other things.