Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dirty Business

So the other day, I believe it was Monday, I had to go to the Ashley manufacturing plant to get some packaged fertilizer to take to a place for a research project. Now I had not been to Ashley since the open house last August. Glad it made it through the winter. The place was humming with manufacturing and truck loading activity. I got my jugs of fertilizer and left. Today I left my office lair and went out to the farm to see what was going on. On the agenda was the dirty business of applying some (forgive me for saying it) dry fertilizer in some comparison plots. Below we see Stephanie and new Tim loading the information into the Greenstar monitor for documentation and guidance of applications.
I have shown the fertilizer blower (as we call it) in the blog before. And I will re-say, that even though it is for dry fertilizer, it is a nice piece of equipment built by Doug several years ago. We have it calibrated for different rates of different products, and it does a great job. In the old days-Stephanie and I had to use the hand-cranked grass seeders while, dare I say it, walking. Back then plots were only around 100 to 130 feet long. But this plot on Farm 7 is 265 feet long, and there are four replications. So thank goodness for mechanization.

This will be a sugarbeet plot soon.

Next was some dry fertilizer blown on a corn plot. Now these plots are over a thousand feet long on the new Farm 10.

So how is the tree crew doing you ask? Well I was able to catch them planting their last row on Farm 8. Here they are with Brian driving the tractor with gps auto-track guidance, Dan dropping the trees into the trench, and old Tim (I will probably have to come up with a different name to differentiate him from new Tim after he reads this) reading the next number on the tape for Dan to drop a tree on.

Proper spacing is very important in this fixed spray arrangement for this orchard that I talked about previously. Each tree has to be 3.5 feet apart. They are driving slow so that Dan can read the numbers on the tape as it goes by, and will drop the tree on the mark that Tim calls.

And it looks like they did it right. They just started on Tuesday of last week and had a few rainy days, but they got it in quick. I tried to take a picture of the whole field, but it's hard to see these little tree sticks, so I will wait until they leaf out to take a better picture.

We will all be back for more research activity tomorrow.