Wednesday, October 7, 2015

NCRS Harvest

 So even though I always hate to admit that summer is over, harvest is in high gear at the NCRS.  For field crops, soybeans are the first to go.  In the picture below the combine harvests plots while the tractor and drill in the background plants wheat.
As has been done for years, the beans from a plot are unloaded into the scaled grain cart for yield determination.  That's Zouheir on the left with Stephanie, getting his first experience of harvest work at the NCRS.  This was actually last Friday.
It rained over the weekend, and was wet and foggy on Monday, so the switch was made to corn.  I actually was out yesterday (Tuesday) and rode in the cab with Phil.  This particular field on Farm 9 was a nitrogen experiment running over 200 bu/a.
 Here is Tim up in the grain cart collecting a sample for moisture and test weight.  That is the scale readout in front above Tim's arm, and there is a mounted iPad where the weights are recorded.  The scale is set for two pound increments, which is plenty accurate for the large sized plots.
 And back at the farm office is Stephanie who today is running the corn samples for moisture and test weight.  Those numbers are entered into another iPad, and are automatically matched up with the scale plot weights and calculates the yield.  Then it averages the four replications, and like magic, we have the treatment averages summarized almost as soon as the harvest is complete.  Tim and Stephanie are super smart with iPads and computers.  I was fine with paper forms and pencils in the past.  But as you can see, I am no longer working there. 
A couple of weeks ago, the Specialty Crop crew harvested the Concord grape experiment.  This harvest is all by hand and clippers.  So extra help is a help. There are different fertilizer treatments under evaluation down the rows.
 These grapes are really sweet.  Good enough to eat!
Eric seems to be taking that a little too literally.  We occasionally kidnap people from the office and turn them into field workers.  Eric, who manages all the promotional items and the store, doesn't seem to mind.
 The grapes from each plot are loaded into a tote and weighed.  Then samples are collected for brix (sugar) measurements.  Jacob shows the production from a plot.  We also promote that our  grapes are pure and untouched by human hands.  Thus the gloves.  I mean that just makes sense.
I have lots of pics of various harvest operations that I will share in the coming weeks.  This is an important and kind of nervous time as we find out how all of the experiments turned out after the long growing season.  Just like farmers all over the country.  (Really farming is an experiment with all of the input selections being tested and verified in the yield.)