Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Transporting the Deere 520 Flail Mower/Stalk Chopper

 We use it to mow off clover on a monthly basis on our transitional (to organic) ground, forcing regrowth, over two years. The extra growth will give great benefit to the soil; one of them is a 140 lb/acre nitrogen credit for any following crop.

Several of our fields are 5 to 12 miles away from the main farm. The mower is 20 feet wide, making it impossible to pull down the road without switching to transport mode, whereby it's pulled from one end. 

Even with what is call an Easy End Transport kit ($800 from Deere) it still takes me 45 to 60 minutes to make the switch.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Boosting My Brother: Managing Zumwalt Prairie

 My brother Jeff has been working in eastern Oregon for The Nature Conservancy for much of his adult life . This story is about his work in restoring a large native grassland, managing it with local landowners and ranchers. (All pictures are screenshots from the original story.)

"Is the way cattle are grazed the key to saving America's prairies?"

Jeff Fields stands on a ridge overlooking the prairie on a bright June day. The carpet of spring-green grasses and wildflowers looks timeless and wild. But Fields, a biologist who manages the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve, is quick to correct that perception. “It’s been a grazed landscape for a very, very long time,” he rHe points to clumps of bunchgrass interspersed with geraniums, cinquefoils, lichen, and patches of bare soil. These plant communities, he explains, are dependent on “ecological disturbance” to stimulate regrowth year after year.

Throughout history, herbivores – from early antelope to the Nez Perce horse and cattle herds – have browsed the prairie’s bunchgrass, providing that crucial disturbance. “The prairie evolved with herbivory,” Fields says.

Managed grazing is an attempt to replicate that historical relationship using commercial livestock. It has become a central piece of regenerative agriculture, an umbrella term for a range of farming and ranching practices that capture sunlight and carbon dioxide to stimulate plant growth, boost organic matter in soil, and foster greater biodiversity both above ground and below.

 Read more 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Photos of Repair/Construction Projects


A new roll up door in the side of the old machine shed

The electrical supplies I'll use to pipe/wire in the new LED lights in the new machine shed. Squirrels/mice chew through anything not covered in metal.

Machine Shed lights, 10,000 lumens each. ~ $25 per light. I'll swap out the flexible wire leads for greenfield metal cable.

My DIY design/build transport bracket for the PTO shaft on the 520 flail mower. This saves me from having to take the whole 90 lb shaft off every time I covert it to the road transport mode.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The New Pole Barn/Machine Shed is Done

 The part that I've hired out is finished. Next up is some wiring for power and light. Then I can move machines in. It's 50' x 80' x 18' wall height, primarily to fit my combine, which is ~ 15' tall.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A New Roof - Pump House Rehab #3

 The old one was falling in. I'll eventually replace the windows and doors, rewire it, then (maybe next yr) add some insulation so I can have a 3 season heated shop space. This year I'd like to add a big metal table with a vise so I have something to weld on.


Monday, August 10, 2020

Changing Concaves from Round Bar to Small Wire on Deere 9560sts Combine

 I took out the three large round bar concaves that are used to thresh corn and beans and then started to put in the three small wire concaves that are used for oats and other small grains. 

The manual makes this seem simple. Maybe simple, just not so easy. Especially to get the concave cinched tight to the back of its nominal position. But its in, the other two should be a bit easier to do.

Dad/Gramps helped put it in and came by at the end of the above video to say hello.

Here's a short animated video of how the concaves, which are set just below the front of the spinning rotor, work inside a slightly new version of my combine. The mechanisms are very similar.