Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tools of Research

So no, tools of research does not refer to pictures of me on the farm, but rather some of the equipment tools we use for plot research.  This past week I was away, but it was time for alfalfa harvest again.  First, using gps tracking, the alfalfa is swathed in the plots.
Several hours later each plot is baled.  We don't necessarily wait for complete dryness of the hay.
The "claw" picks up the bales and carries them over to the scale.  The weight is recorded and Stephanie takes a sample and weighs it for the "wet" weight, and then dries it down for the "dry" weight.   Then for reporting, it is converted to the standard 15% moisture.  A second sample is collected for submission to a lab for quality analysis.  Cool, huh?  Now that's research.
Meanwhile, Brian is seen below applying fungicide to his tomatoes.  Veteran blog readers will recall Brian making fungicide applications in the past with a backpack airblast sprayer.  What a chore.  I got tired watching him go back and forth.  But the Proptec sprayer makes quick work of the application, and probably does a better job.  Sorry Brian.
So these are just some of the tools we use to ensure the high quality of research that you have come to expect at the North Central Research Station.