Sunday, April 28, 2013

Finally Some Outside Work at the NCRS

So Friday was a pretty nice day for some outdoor activities.  It's still pretty wet for real farm stuff.  But it was a good day to do some final checks on the "Blower".  The Blower you say?  This is our homemade air machine for dry fertilizer (ewww!) application to test plots.  It was built a number of years ago by Doug Summer.  But time takes its toll, and some refurbishing was needed.  A new PTO driven fan and reconfiguration of the hoses was done.  So some calibration adjustments were in order.  Below we see Phil putting some of the application tubes into some containers to catch the output.
Jeff is at the wheel as the fertilizer output is collected over a measured distance. 
Then Phil takes the collections to Stephanie who weighs the amounts applied.  There are different application settings, so an array of calibration information will be used for the desired amounts in the field plots.  They got the settings needed for urea, potash and DAP (18-46-0).  We really like the blower as we used to use hand-cranked grass seeders to spread dry fertilizers on plots.  But this is much better and more accurate.  We are research scientists after all.
Well Brian actually did get into the field on Friday.  Here he is applying bands of fertilizer in the asparagas plots.  This is sandy ground and able to be driven upon.  The application is a little later than normal due to the wet weather.  Some of the asparagas shoots are just starting to push out of the soil.  I do love asparagas.  But it has to be still crisp for me to eat it.  If it is all soggy and mushy, no way will I eat that. 
There was some other activity on Friday as well.  We have had nearly 9 inches of rain in the last 3 weeks.  Normally we are in the field with sugarbeets already planted and going on corn.  We are hopeful for next week.  It was sunny and warm yesterday, but was cloudy and rainy today.  What's that word that I struggle with?  Oh yes, patience.