Friday, December 23, 2011

Noel from the NCRS

So I was driving to the NCRS this morning and saw this beautifu sunrise over Farm 6. And since I never trave without a camera, I pu ed in to take a picture. This is the first fu day of winter, and it is off to a nice start. And though we don't have any snow, and won't have a white Christmas, it is a sp endid sight.

A though there is sti p enty of work to be done, it is appropriate to pause for a much deserved Christmas break. And hopefu y it can be spent with fami y and oved ones. So the crew of the NCRS sincere y wishes our faitfu readers a Heartfe t Merry Christmas!
(And did you get the Noel or No "L" theme? Ho Ho Ho!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Sprayer Arrives

So today the NCRS took delivery of a new Proptec sprayer. Tim brings it in after it was dropped off while Doug watches, I'm sure with his mental gears turning on how he can make it better. It was bought at the recent Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable show in Grand Rapids. It is completely different from any other sprayer that we have. It will mostly be used in the new apple orchard that will be started in the spring. It is like an air blast sprayer designed to maximize coverage of the target crop with very fine droplets. So it is primarily for fungicide, and probably insecticide, application, but some crop nutrition can be mixed in too. Additionally it can be used on vegetable crops. This will be much better than the backpack type sprayer that Brian and Dan use now. Phil takes a look at the rotary atomizers, as they are called. They can be moved to any position to enable optimal coverage.
You know I will have pictures of it in action next year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sign of the Times

So we have the NCRS office door all decorated for Christmas. But there is a sign out front as well. With all of the expansion of late, we find ourselves again in the hiring mode. This time we are looking for a Research Agronomist to work in the Field Crop side. Details are on the website. Click the "About" tab and then "Join Our Team" and click on Research for the job description. Or pass the information on to someone you may know that would be wanting to get involved in the exciting world of Liquid research.

We can also see some of the Liquid crew anxiously watching outside for the line to form.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Peace on Earth, or at least North Dakota

So this week I spent some time in Northern North Dakota for some grower meetings and grower visits. Area Manager Kevin Abentroth was my host. It was plenty cold, but no snow, or not much. So have you ever read (or seen) a North Dakota license plate? Its motto is on it declaring it as The Peace Garden State. Now I didn't know what the Peace Garden was, but we were near it on the map, and I made Kevin drive us up there. And Kevin, a life-long North Dakotan, admitted that he had never been there. So we went. I thought it was inside North Dakota, but it is actually right on the black line that is the border between the US and Canada. Below is the sign for it, and you can see the Canadian border stop in the background. Below is a picture of the peace tower, soaring 120 feet into the sky. I read later that it represents the soaring ambitions of the early immigrants. (Although I would imagine that the main ambition in the winter time was to keep warm.) But I was disappointed that we didn't see any of the beautiful flower gardens like in the pictures in the brochures. And I would have thought there would be more tourists, but we were the only ones. It was a balmy 8 degrees. But this place was dedicated in July of 1932 to acknowledge the peace between the two countries and pledge that we will not take up arms against one another. That's a relief. Although some of the hockey games get pretty rough. Anyway, after my picture taking, we left and had to go through US customs to get back in. Even though we didn't go into Canada, only on the black line. Had to answer all the usual border questions and open the pickup doors so he could look inside. It took longer than our park visit. But we were finally allowed back home. (We didn't get out and kiss the ground due to the cold.) But now I can cross that off my list of things to see.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter's Icy Grip

So last Friday it looked like winter at the NCRS. (Actually the snow fell on Tuesday night while I was away on an International Fertilizer mission.) But it was a heavy, wet snow. There was about a foot of snow where I live 20 miles South of the NCRS and I came home to considerable tree damage, and spent the weekend with the chain saw. But I digress. Our outside field work has been complete for several weeks now, but you can still see some corn still out in the area. Below is a shot of Farm 7 last Friday morning. Seeing fog hugging the low ground was an unusual sight. We got a new planter the other day. It is a Kinze Interplant planter. We like the design for planting 15 inch rows, like soybeans. It will be much better than the drill that we have used recent years. The staggered layout of planter boxes are supposed to enable adequate residue flow through the planter. Our Monosem had some inter-row boxes, but they were right next to each other on the same tool bar. It was like a bull dozer with crop residue. So we are optimistic for this one. And if we want 30 inch rows, the front boxes lift up like the one on the right. Now our fine crew will work to get it rigged up for Liquid fertilizer. We plan to use gps guidance, but have the row markers just in case.

So in with the new and out with the old. Below is the dis-assembly of the old reliable plot-Hagie, and the re-assembly back into a field sprayer. I got all of my stuff out of it, like my record book and peanut butter sandwich baggies. I spent a lot of time making research plot applications of all type in this machine. From broadcast applications to the soil, foliars on a variety of crops, as well as drop nozzle applications of N in corn, we went through a lot together. But change is inevitable, and our new Hagie offers more opportunity. But you never forget your favorites.

So I'm sorry to say that the ol' blog may slow down a bit with regular postings, as most of our time is now devoted to equipment stuff in the shop and writing up the research reports in our office. Plus the occasional grower meeting and trade shows where we spread the word of Liquid research. So check in from time to time, or you can sign up for e-mail announcements of new postings. Anyway, thanks for following the antics of the research crew here at the NCRS>