Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sunny Day Means "Get Busy"

So the day started out just beautiful.  Sunny, warm, light wind.  And no rain.  One of the first chores is to wake up the vegetable transplants in the greenhouse.  Dan had just cranked open the side wall a bit to let in some fresh air and to enable the place to stay at a good temperature.  This greenhouse, now in it's second season, has been a great benefit to the research program.  The NCRS is able to grow all of it's own transplants and do so in a way that reflects growers practice.  Also new this year is the automatic watering system, which comes from those tubes hanging down.  It is set to water several times a day, and does so uniformly.  So now the crew doesn't have to remember to come in every so often to water with a hose.  Tim B and Dan inspect the trays.  That cool hat Tim has on is made in Kenya, and obtained on his recent mission trip there.
Recall that I said yesterday that we hoped to apply topdress treatments to this wheat experiment on Farm 4.  Well we did.  That's Phil at the control of the sprayer.  These are large plots, about 1.25 acres each with 2 replications.  This sprayer makes easy work of it.
We tested several different N treatments, including the addition of eNhance to 28% UAN solution.  Here I am pouring in a measured amount of eNhance based on the volume of 28% UAN in the tank.  It was well circulated before spraying.
Today it was time to get some fertilizer treatments applied to the orchard.  Brian is making some banded liquid fertilizer treatment application with his ultra-versatile tractor.  The treatments were banded along the irrigation drip tube to simulate application through the drip system.  Dry fertilizers for comparison were applied to other plots.  I am anxious to follow the progress of this test orchard.  It really looks nice and I doubt that there is a better research orchard anywhere on Earth.
It was finally dry enough to get the field crop planter out and running.  Tim D and Stephanie established the sugarbeet demonstration plots on Farm 12 as seen below.  They also were able to plant other sugarbeet experiments on Farms 5 and 7.  This is several weeks later than normal for planting sugarbeets, but it will be a good test in spite of that.
So the next several days should continue to be nice.  But there are still plenty of wet fields around.  I have not seen any tractors out anywhere around here.  The only way these beet experiments were able to be planted is because the ground was worked last fall.  Otherwise, it would have been too wet still for any tillage.  But everyone is feeling better now that we are able to get started.