Friday, May 8, 2015

Busy Week at the NCRS

So it's been a busy week here at the NCRS.  After some rain delay early in the week it was full steam ahead after that.  Several times I have shown Brian planting potatoes, but maybe you haven't gathered how that planter contraption works.  Well here you can see the seed potatoes in the planter.  These are 'Snowden' potatoes.  The planter drops them into the ground as Brian applies the different fertilizer treatments in the test through the shanks on either side of the row.
 Here you can see a seed potato that has dropped into the soil.  There is also a nozzle applying insecticide before it is covered with the closing hilling disk.   This has been a great way to do potato fertility plot research.  I can't think of a better way of running potato research as it is similar to commercial potato equipment, which increases the validity.  

Here we see Tim walking along behind to make sure that it is planting properly.  This is necessary and a great exercise program.  I dare you to challenge Tim in a walking race.
 Yesterday, on Thursday, we had our first corn emerged.  This was over on Farm 6 which was planted last Wednesday.  It is pretty sandy and should emerge quickly.  But like a parent at the newborn hospital unit, we are so proud.
 And look, here are some sugarbeets.  These are over on Farm 7 which has heavier loam soil.  These were planted the previous Monday.  Sugarbeets are always tricky to have good emergence as the seed is somewhat delicate.  But after emergence they will grow quickly to ultimately be the big root crop we all know and love.
 Here is the orchard yesterday, as this variety was in bloom.  Did you know that the state flower of Michigan is the Apple Blossom?  Well now you do.  It has been since 1897, so even then they knew the importance of apples to the state.  And how many state flowers turn into something you can eat? So there you other states.
Yesterday was still a busy day of planting corn.  Here we see Tim planting a test plot with the Monosem planter while Jeff has stopped by for a fill up for the Kinze from the fertilizer wagon.  As you can see it was a nice day.  The temperature was up in the low 80's which is unusually warm, but it felt good.  We are behind on rain, but have good soil moisture, particularly in our no-till fields. Most of the fields are planted in no-till, although we do run our vertical till machine over the corn stalks in some fields of corn on corn, which still kind of counts as no-till.
 Today we planted some soybeans.  Here is the drill on Farm 7 planting no-till in corn stalks.  Both of the planters were still planting corn, so it was good to get the drill in action.
So it has been long days here lately.  But that is the way of farming in the spring.