Thursday, July 11, 2019

Oats ready to be Mowed (and Mulched)

On the farm there's about 120 total acres in their first year of transition to certified organic production. The regulations require a 36 month period between the time of the last "prohibited substance" (in this case it was a herbicide that was applied last June) and any USDA certified organic harvest.

Oats and red clover were drilled together earlier this spring on roughly 90 of those 120 acres, with the oats acting as a "nurse crop". Now that they've done their job of helping to establish a relatively weed free stand of clover, I'll mow them and leave the residue in place to act as a "green manure". There is no economic benefit to harvesting "conventional" oats. Also there is a potential boost to future cash crop yields by leaving the chopped oats in place. So I'm not combining the oats.

Next year the clover will return, fixing additional nitrogen for the corn that I'll plant in the spring of 2021 and that in turn will be harvested as USDA organic in the fall of 2021.

Tomorrow morning Nick, from BP Ag Solutions, will come to the farm and install autosteer/gps along with a planter monitor in the 8100 tractor (pictured below, hooked up to the Deere 520 flail mower I'll be using to cut the oats).

I'll be using Ag Leader products. Specifically, the monitor is a InCommand 1200 and the RTK guidance system is a GPS 7500 with OnTrac3 Assisted Steering.

Here's a short video, not mine, showing the technology in use.

I'm going to use the technology for at least two things. One, so I can repeat my passes precisely, within a 1/2", between different activities in the field. When I plant, I want all the 15' wide passes to be exactly 30" apart so that when I go through the field 3-5 times cultivating I can follow the exact same route. This lets me put the metal shovels of the cultivator, which remove weeds, within an inch of the cash crop plant I want to thrive.

Secondly is so when I'm planting I know exactly how many seeds, how far apart, are going (or more important to know, not going) into the soil. After you go over it with a planter, a field looks exactly the same whether or not the right number of seeds have been planted per acre. A good seed monitor is essential.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

My Morning Routine: Letting Out the Birds

I also put down some straw to cover the manure they leave overnight, fill their waterers, and make sure the feed is topped off.

Machine Shed Tour

Plus a few birds at the end. My version of the old silent Super 8mm movies.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Taking Down the Old Farmhouse Chimney

I'm using the Genie Z45/25 Boom Lift to safely take down chimney that's above the roof line. The part that remains below the roof line will be disassembled from inside the house using a scaffold.

The chimney consists of a concrete block exterior and a clay tile liner. The total length of the chimney is around 35 feet. A lot of material. We'll take it out and dump it in the old silo, which itself will ultimately be taken down and buried.