Friday, July 1, 2016

Back to Big Sky Country

So, again, sorry for the lapse in time, but I've still been busy.  But I've been sitting on all of these nice pics of my recent visit to Montana, so here goes.  Here we are in West Central Montana looking at a picturesque field of irrigated barley, of course fertilized with AgroLiquid. 
 I was with Sales Account Manager Bruce Keck and Retail Partner Jeremiah Gulick.  It's always good to see them both here in Montana.  Crop is looking really nice.
 We made our way over to  Elk Creek Hutterite colony.  I'm not sure that I have ever posted any visits to a Hutterite colony before.  I won't go into the whole description, but Hutterites are a religious farminggroup, of Anabaptists with similar origins to Mennonites and Amish  that came from Europe in the late 1800's.  They live communally and share all goods, with the main occupation being farming.  They are located in Western Canada and the Dakotas and Montana.  Ealch colony has around 100 people, so each colony farms maybe a thousand acres or more. You can learn more on the internet, and they have their own website. Unlike the Amish, they are strictly modern when it comes to farming, but do not listen to the radio or watch TV. I have been on a number of colonies over the years as several are good customers of AgroLiquid.  But they are all very nice folks.  This colony is fairly new and this is a typical arrangement of the housing, like apartments.  But there are no kitchens as all meals are eaten in a dining hall as a group.  Usually, though, the men and women either eat separately, or on either side of the hall.  Odd to see, but that is their way, and who am I to say anything?  There wasn't anyone around when we showed up, not sure where they all were.  Working I guess.  One thing about Hutterites....they all work. 
 The colony usually has several agricultural ventures, like field crops, livestock, maybe something equipment oriented, and all have a garden...managed by the Gardener.  Jeremiah sells fertilizer here, and we were given a tour of the garden by Phillip the Gardener, and his young helper.  They have tomatoes in these protective protect from wind and sun.  All the vegetables are drip irrigated, carrying the liquid fertlizer too.
 Here Jeremiah samples some peas.  Of course I did too.  VG!  The gardens are used to supply the colony, but also some is sold outside the colony.
 Later on, we drove over to the Gullick family farm West of Great Falls to look at some of Jeremiah's spring wheat.  Looking good. Or even VG!
 The next day we drove North to Fort Benton to another customer.  He is one of three brothers farming so much ground I lost count.  But he is managing the farm up here with nearly 20 center pivots.  I don't see how one guy can do all this, but he works hard.  (Farmers do work hard, even harder than research managers if you can imagine that.)  Corn, barley, wheat, alfalfa and probably other stuff too.
He uses AgroLiquid on his crops, including this irrigated corn.  He did a test plot with an experimental fertilizer additive to the planter fertilizer.  I am standing at the split.  Does one side look better?  Well we will find out if it is more than looks come harvest.
 Bruce looks at some of the alfalfa awaiting bailing.  Bruce said it was VG!  It was just cut yesterday and is nearly ready for baling, the air being so dry.
 All of the pivots are fed by the Missouri River.  We drove a ways over to the river to see how they get the water from the river to the fields.
 They draw water from an intake inside of this screen.  The middle there is actually some rotating round cages with water jets spraying them to kick off any algae buildup.  The screens there usually get clogged up.  They want to build a concrete wall someday.  I always like to come down to the Missouri River in this area.  It is so desolate, you can imagine Lewis and Clark and crew paddling up the river.  In fact I did a blog post from the Lewis and Clark Museum near Great Falls a few years ago.  (See July 14, 2013.  Well worth the time.)
 These are the engines that turn the pumps.  You can see the huge pipe going up the hill to the pivots.  the larger motors are 450 hp.  Unfortunately, one of the smaller pumps is in for repair.  I've never seen so much pumping capacity at one place.
 Here we are leaving going back up the hill.  It is so steep I can't imagine how they hauled those big pumps down this road.  Or back up when they have to go in for repair.
So that was fun.  And good to see that the AgroLiquid is performing VG (very good, although I suppose it should be Very Well in this context.)  But wait, there is more from my trip to Big Sky country in a future post.  Don't miss it.