Monday, October 3, 2011

Lights, Camera...OK, not much action

So today I got to make a movie. Well maybe not a real movie. It's not like we're down on a Caribbean beach or something. No we are at the North Central Research Station and I am giving a season-ending summary of the Year In Research. It was our first day of fall harvest which made a nice background. I'm not sure when this will be through final edits or if I will ultimately end up on the cutting room floor, but I gave it my best. I use the "method acting" technique where I try to identify with my character who is a research agronomist for a leading fertilizer manufacturer. Oh wait.... We are once again under the direction of Mick Rizzo of Creative Services, shown below on the right. That's Michael on the left. They use two cameras, one with a tight shot and one with a wide shot, and then put them all together with what looks best.
And here is the first field crop harvest of the fall: Navy Beans. We do these beans first because there is a severe dockage penalty if there are other beans, like soybeans, in the load. And so we will switch to soybeans tomorrow, as cleaning out a combine of all the loose beans is a big pain. Although we will have to do it next week when the Black Beans are ready. But that's not till next week and we researchers live in the present. Below we see Phil at the combine controls with Ron pulling the weigh wagon with Stephanie inside it. Well actually he is driving the tractor that is pulling it. As previously mentioned, we harvest the middle four rows of the six-row plot, with the outside rows serving as borders. The border rows are taken off in the next round with the combine.

As I have said before, we really like the AWS Wind Reel on the front of the grain head. It blows air that helps feed the cut bean plants and shattered beans into the feeder house of the combine. We used to have problems when we got to the end of a plot and bean plants would still be sitting on the cutter bar, and you would have to shake the grain head up and down to get them to feed, and that didn't always work. Plus this slowed down harvest. But those problems are a thing of the past, and we are thankful for that.

Here is the plot weighing process. Phil unloads the beans for a plot into the scaled grain cart, and Stephanie records the weight.

Additionally, Stephanie will collect a bean sample for moisture determination back in the office.

And here is the last pass. That's a wrap. (I learned that as I was being a movie star. It means we're done.)

Tomorrow we will plant winter wheat here. It won't be filmed, just my usual still pictures. But "thanks for watching." (Spoiler alert! That was my last line in the movie.)