Sunday, August 18, 2013

Research Field Days Kick Off Last Week

So last week the Research Field Days started up again, with more to come.  But they just don't happen by themselves as there is much preparation involved.  Like below on the Friday before, we make a practice tour run on Farm 7 to make sure that the three tractor/trailer drivers don't make a wrong turn.  (They didn't.)  Stephanie makes sure the trailer speakers work. (They did most of the time.)  
Earlier that morning, Phil digs some trenches to show corn roots for fertilizer effects comparison.  This is an annual part of the field days. There was no moisture in this ground.
Then early evening on the Friday before the Field Days (August 2), our Orthman 1tRIPr showed up at the NCRS.  Since it was kind of heavy, Phil and Dan used fork lifts to lift it up and the trailer drove away.  So we didn't have time to get the liquid lines on it, but would set some tanks to let people know that this will be a Liquid machine on the Field Days.
Then on Monday, the day before the first Field Day, I washed away the soil from the roots.  I have done this many times over the years, but never had as much trouble as I did here.  This tour is on our new Farm 12, and that soil is extremely dry due to lack of rain.  And when it is dry, it becomes packed like concrete.  So it took awhile, and I was a muddy mess.  Good thing I found a Tyvek suit.  Not sure how roots grow in that, but there were differences.

 The next day was show time.  And again on Thursday. 
Prior to the start, the research Hagie sprayer with the nitrogen toolbar applicator was placed in the demonstration plots for N applications on corn.  That's Jeff who brought it over and is standing there because I made him.  Well somebody has to document what goes on around the place. 
We had a good crowd the first day, as they were still coming in prior to the start in the pic below.  There was even coffee and donuts. And fertilizers in jars for some color.  And posters, fliers, product info, orange-shirted NCRS and agronomy staff, and probably lots of other stuff too.
Then it was time to start the driving tour on Farm 7.  So the three tractors and six trailers set off to see some of the replicated research plots on Farm 7.  But on the way we stopped to listen to Dan tell us what is happening in the new apple orchard.  He included explanation of the high density planting concept and future operation of the fixed spray systems.  That guy in the front refused to wear the popular orange shirt and showed defiance by wearing one of crimson and cream(puff).  He did ride in the front of the trailer so he could be sooner. 
The trailers split up to go to the three stops on Farm 7, and each made the rotation.  Below Tim talks about our strip tillage research with the new 1tRIPr in the background.  Next year the plots will have this as the applicator.  But folks did get off the trailers to have a closer look.  Everyone likes equipment.
Here Stephanie talks about sulfur fertilizer options in this corn experiment.  Intern Mike helps by holding her ears...of corn.
And don't think I wasn't going to take part.  This is the experiment where we are running the same fertilizer programs in the same plots in a corn:soybean rotation.  So this is the soybean half.  This is the third year, and we hope to run it for ten years as we did in the past to prove sustainability of yield and soil test levels.  So far so good. 
And here Intern Erin helps show fertilizer effects on corn ears.  There were some, and you can sure tell where there was no P and K applied.  After a couple times of hearing this, Erin started to believe what I was saying.  Even though this farm is rain fed (still like that term), and hasn't been fed very well in the last month and a half, it was showing no effects so far as this is good soil here.
After lunch it was time for the up close and personal demonstration stops on Farm 12.  They divided up into four groups for the four stops.  Here Tim shows some of the different planter fertilizer attachments on the Monosem planter.
And here are the root trenches, with ears showing.  Now this part of the field is especially dry compared to the rest of the field.  You can see the corn is dry and rolled.  Unfortunately there is no rain in the forecast.  We had some issues getting a well put in, but hopefully it can be completed this week to give some relief before the next field days at the end of the month. 
Stephanie covers nitrogen options for corn.  There was also a stop on soybean fertilizer placement options for different row spacings, and some new equipment.  But I didn't get a picture of that.  Brian also showed a group some of his vegetable plot research.  But no pictures from that either.  So hopefully next time.  But there was plenty to see.
 After that everyone got to enjoy some of Troy's 2-cylinder ice cream and have a chance to ask any questions before it was time to leave.
So that is a synopsis of the Field Days for last week.  Hope you have made plans to attend one of the  Field Days yet to come.  We still could use some rain.  I talked to Area Manager Jerry Cordell who is North of Wichita, KS and he said they have had nearly 22 inches of rain since the middle of July.  Last year drought and this year flood.  How about sharing?