Saturday, June 2, 2012

Is it June already?

So the week started really hot, into the 90's on Monday, and 80's on Tuesday.  But by Thursday and Friday, the highs were only in the 50's.  I did a little travelling around the state on Thursday and Friday, and people are talking about maybe being able to double-crop soybeans after wheat here in Michigan, at least in the Southern part of the state.  This is not a normal practice here with normal wheat harvest in mid-July or later.  But with the early warmth and wheat looking farther ahead than normal, well this could be the year.  In fact, some gowers have already made calls about getting some soybeans ordered. But many more days in the 50's for highs will put the brakes on that.  But we will see.

At the NCRS this past week it was time to start taking stand counts of the corn and soybean test plots.  This is extremelly boring, which is why we have our summer students do it.  But they need to learn that not everything in fertilizer research is so exciting.  Below we see Jake and Kirk counting corn in a no-till plot.  For corn we use a 25 foot chain, and soybeans, a meter stick.  This will tell us of any treatment effects on stand, plus let us know if our actual stand matched our intended stand at planting.
It was also time to start evening up the ends of the plots.  Recently I showed how Stephanie uses gps and a special tillage tool to mark the plot edges, and below Ron runs tillage along the track.  Now the plots and replication blocks will be nice and straight.
Now that we are big time farmers of over 500 acres, we can have have tanker fertilizer delivery from the Ashley plant.  Below we see Dennis and Tom unloading High NRG-N into our bulk tank.  Recall that the floor of this fertilizer storage building is shaped to enable recovery of any spills.  Fortunately it wasn't put to the test today.  But we were ready none the less. 
We have been very dry, with no rain for several weeks, and the crops are showing it.  Fortunately some of the NCRS is irrigated, but most is not.  The forecast for rain Thursday night came through, and by Friday afternoon we had received around 2 inches.  It was a slow and steady rain which will be very beneficial.
This was the view from my old office window at the NCRS....
....which gives a much better view of what is happening outside than the view from my current office in town.  But you can hear the raindrops hitting the metal roof if you listen carefully.  That is if the neighbors next door are being quiet.
Well I am off on a fertilizer mission next week, so stay tuned and have a great week yourself.