Monday, July 2, 2012

Wheat Harvest on July 2? Believe It!

So today was the start of wheat harvest at the NCRS.  I never would have thought we would ever harvest wheat in the single digit dates of July.  But here we are a good 10 days earlier than even an early harvest.  But it was ready, and a number of growers around the area have started too.  It was hot today too, in the mid-90's.  Cooler than much of the country, but still hot.  Below we see the combine going through a plot in the wheat test on Farm 7, with the grain cart close behind.
Tim and Stephanie are recording the weights and collecting samples outside in the cart, while I keep watch from the air conditioned cab.  If you are new to reading about our harvest operation, the scale on the cart is set to two pound increments, which is plenty of accuracty for a 10 x 265 foot plot.  (We plant a 15 ft wide strip, but outside the tram lines is border).
Phil is all concentration as he guides the combine.  He also checks the monitor regularly to confirm with Stephanie and Tim which plot is being harvested.  Accuracy is my middle name,  (that's better than Leo don't you think?)
And round and round they go until finished.  They also harvested the plot on Farm 3.  There were 40 plots in the experiment on Farm 7 and 50 plots on Farm 3.  There is another test on Farm 5 and that big fungicide + fertilizer test on Farm 8.  Then some production wheat here and there.  But they will make short work of it.
Our poor non-irrigated corn is showing the effects of no rain and hot temperatures. It is rolling up in the hot afternoons.  This ground has produced 200+ bushel corn the past few years, but prospects are getting lower each day without a drink.  And nothing is in the forecast except chance of thunderstorms.
I had a fertilizer mission in Iowa and left soon after this.  Driving across Illinois in the late afternoon, it was hot, but the corn was not stressed like this.  They must have gotten some rain, and even so, the darker and  heavier ground probably holds water better than our light soil.  I did see corn starting to tassel along parts of I-80.  But I will remain optimistic.