Sunday, June 23, 2019

Planting/Drilling Sorghum Sudan Grass

Gramps, Max, and I, over the past week on approximately 95 acres planted sorghum sudan grass. Prior to planting, “drilling” is the more accurate term in this case, we first had to combine about 4 acres of last years standing corn, then we could go over the 18” tall weeds and stubble twice with a disc harrow to kill the weeds and to get a rough seed bed that I could drill the seeds into.

Sorghum Sudan is an agronomic choice. I have a lot of foxtail and canadian thistle (weeds) that I’m trying to crowd out, caused in part by compaction/poor drainage and sorghum sudan is supposed to help with that. It is an aggressive grower and can reach 10’ tall in about 8 weeks. If I don’t sell some of it to a local organic dairy, who would in turn have to hire a “custom” hay/baleage/silage cutter to harvest it for him, I’ll mow it down and leave it in place when it gets about 4’ tall. The mowed/mulched sorghum would in turn feed soil microbes, who then "excrete" nutrients for future cash crops.  I’ll have to mow it twice I think, as I don’t want it to go to seed and become a “weed” itself.  Next year all these acres will go into soybeans.

65 of the acres are certified USDA organic, the other 30 are in their first year (of three) of transition to organic. Both fields are about 13 miles south of the farm in Turtle Lake, making it a logistical challenge to move materials and equipment down there.

I’ve put up 3, one minute long videos on youtube that show a bit of this.

I used my new (to me) Deere 8100 tractor and 750 no-till grain drill to cover about 185 acres this spring - 90 in oats/red clover and 95 in sorghum sudan. It’s been a good experience. This week I’m talking to a technology provider about putting gps/autosteer on the tractor to make everything go a little smoother.

p.s.  Big (public) thanks to Dad/Gramps and Max for their help!

Friday, June 7, 2019


On the riding mower, I removed the mowing deck so I could  replace an idler pulley when its bearing failed. While I had it apart, I changed the belts and mower blades.

I bypassed the "safety" switch so I can back up and cut at the same time. In place of the temporary clamp I drilled through the switch body as well as the moving switch pin, hold it "closed" with a cotter pin.

Some kind of critter ate through the fuel line this past winter. The grommet/gasket between the fuel tank and fuel line was leaking as well, so I pulled out the old one and put in new parts.

The 6620 had damage to the grain tank. The 1//8"thick top metal rail was bent in about 1" and the wire mesh was split in several places.

I used the hydraulic press and oxy/propane torch to get it reasonably straight.

Also on the 6620 the left rear wheel had a split in the rim. I jacked up the combine, took the wheel off and dropped it off at the tire shop (20 miles away in Barron, WI).
The split is about 8" long and an inch above the edge of the joint between tire and rim, unhelpfully hiding in the glare of the sun in the pic above.