Monday, April 27, 2015

Unleash The Planters!

So it's not the early start that we were hoping for, but at long last planting started today at the NCRS. The weather was still cold (40's) and cloudy most of the day, but soil conditions were good for sugarbeet planting.  Below we see Tim and Stephanie conferring at the fertilizer "War Wagon".  The wagon received an update of more tanks and look at the labels on all of the valves.  Quite an array of Liquid on tap. 
 Tim guides the planter through the randomized plot layout here on Farm 7.
I guess hands are considered planters in the case of Tim B and Jacob setting transplant onions on Farm 12.  There are two rows per bed, and the Liquid fertilizer is banded several inches under the sets.  These are a new type of onion for the NCRS, and will grow to be giant bulbs.  They are using a piece of drip tape with marks to indicate where to push in the transplant.  Good plan.
And so it begins.  Soon all of that vacant ground will have growing plants, with many enjoying a season of invigorating Liquid nutrition. (Well some have to suffer with inferior Brand X for comparison.)  Makes me want to grab a drink.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

OK Now It's Almost Time. Really.

So on the last blog post it looked like we were about to get to the field.  But then... reality stepped in. Last week was a return to winter with temperatures in the 20's at night and 30's by day, snow flurries and rain.  But on Friday it warmed up and dried out enough for Tim and Stephanie to make some strip till applications here on Farm 2.  Now the forecast is for sunny and warm in the week ahead.  So hopefully the next post shows a planter.  Planting I mean.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It's Almost Time....

So I was out to the NCRS this morning and saw that the barn thermometer says that it is almost time to go to work in the fields.  Well it was around 60 or so.  The fields are still wet, but with a stretch of warm weather ahead, they will soon be ready for some seeds.  There was a lot of equipment outside, including the loaded fertilizer wagon.  No people though.  Was it something I said?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Oklahoma Wheat Express

So again I am slow on the blog reporting...but this is worth the wait.  The week before last I found myself back where I grew up in Oklahoma.  I took a day to look around the OSU campus and here is the library.  Believe it or not, I actually spent a lot of time here when I was a student.  Now that was back in the pre-internet days, and if you wanted to look up an article or a book, you actually had to find that article or book.   A Search back then meant getting up out of your chair and searching for it on the shelves.  
 I usually come down here in the spring to look at the wheat.  I spent one day with Retail Partner Todd Woods from near Perry, OK in the North Central part of the state.  Todd is a busy guy and was frequently on the phone with customers.
 But the wheat treated with Pro-Germinator, High NRG-N and Micro 500 through the drill in the fall and then topdressed with High NRG-N is the best looking wheat around.  A popular rotation is wheat following milo.  
 We did see a field that did not have AgroLiquid that had some disease.  Now I will say that the fertilizer may not have been the reason, but who knows.  Do you know what it is?  It's Barley Yellow Dwarf virus.  It was in these yellow spots around the field.
 Here is the vector: the Bird Cherry Oat aphid.  Now the disease and this aphid have complicated names, and this is a complicated disease.  But the virus gets inside the aphid from feeding, then it spreads it as the wind blows them around and they feed on more wheat.  We did see aphids on about all the wheat if you looked hard enough.  But we did not see disease symptoms on all of the wheat as aphid population was usually below threshold. Some guys were spraying though as the disease can be very yield reducing.
You probably have heard that with the reduction in world-wide oil price, that domestic production has vastly cut back.  Well Oklahoma is a major oil state, and this has had an effect.  Like you can see that the well in this wheat field was not pumping.  Although I guess a pumping well would look the same in a picture.  Well I assure you that if I took a series of pictures that they would all look the same.
 And unfortunately, as is often the case in Oklahoma, dryness is a near constant factor.  Like here you can still see the opening from the drill last fall.  Fortunately parts of the state got some rain last week, but I don't think they did up here.
 The next day I met up with Retail Partner Parker Christian of Cordell in the Southwestern Oklahoma.  We met near Hinton where we have some replicated test plots.  That's Parker on the right with Brennon who made the plot applications.  It was cold and windy that day.
 Here is a topdress nitrogen plot.  There are several new formulations in this test.  It is very sandy ground, but they can put on some water if it gets too dry.
 And here is a growers field that has the full AgroLiquid program.  It also is following milo.  This makes a good rotation as the stalks are small and easy to plant through, plus the wheat can scavenge left over nitrogen. 
Don't let this happen to you.  We were driving and came by this field of new alfalfa that has been decimated by the feeding of the alfalfa weevil.  Further out there is no alfalfa left.  Scouting and a call to Parker who also has a spraying operation could have prevented this.  
 But here is another full AgroLiquid wheat field that looks great.  You can really see the benefits as it seemed that the AgroLiquid wheat in all the fields we saw was all uniform in size and color throughout the field.  
 Here is a field that was not AgroLiquid and it lacks the uniformity in size and color.  Not sure what was used here.
So it was a good crop tour.  Hopefully they get the needed rain to get a crop this year.  Last year was not so lucky.  In fact several grower trials that were set up were not even able to be harvested.  But everything is set up for another year.  The fertilizer is all applied and so the growers have done their part.