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Monday, October 12, 2009

Why my head may explode...

I have not posted for a week as I've been very busy and because I've not been feeling real talkative. Not the best harvest we have ever had. 
But that is another subject.
The reason I started the blog was for self expression.  Now that people I know have found it I am no longer Budd E. Shepherd the anonymous farmer who complains a lot. So if you know me and I didn't invite you, I don't mind if you are here but please note that this blog is supposed to be somewhat of an outlet for frustration...
I'm setting in my easy chair at 10 p.m. not because I have taken off early, or because I am just relaxing at 10 p.m.
I'm setting here because, 1. I can't plant, 2. I can't go to bed because first of all, I drank half a freaking thermos of coffee and secondly I am so pissed/frustrated/annoyed that I need to just take deep breathing exercises and gently lower my blood pressure.
I've been trying to plant. I've got a 75 acre field I'm trying to plant for the neighbor and everyday has been a set back of some sort or another. The field is disked and rolled bentgrass sod and when it rains tonight it will turn to mush.
I got to the field somewhere around 1 p.m. I remembered half way to the field (five mile trip) that I had forgotten my bucket of hose adapters so that I could fill my drill with the fertilizer pump. Upon arrival at the field I discovered that the hose out of the tank had a male end and so did my hose. Of course that is not such a big deal as I can fill from the top of the tank. I removed the lid and promptly fell off the drill. This seems amusing but this is the third time in four days I've fallen off the drill or the tractor and I have slightly bruised ribs to show for it. In all the years I've owned a Great Plains drill I've perhaps once slipped off the drill. Whatever...
I got the fertilizer pumping into the tank and noticed it seemed kind of milky. This is not a good sign but I'm committed now.
I went 2 acres before plugging the filter. Then I went another two acres, Then I went three acres, then 1.4 acres, then back to three acres, this continued through 175 gallons...
Then there is the seed rate. I'm planting Wheat with a hoped for rate of 135lbs per acre. I've got a population monitor. It counts just about every seed. So if there are 900000 seeds per pound that would be 1.215 million seeds per acre. That is about what the monitor was reading. I checked my seed rate with my balance scale. I take one seed tube off and I put a bucket under the seed tube and drive 234 feet. The scale reads my lbs/acre seeding rate. It showed 130lbs, so I set the planter down a notch and figured I was fine.
And away I went. You get a lot done at 6.5 mph pushing 7 mph. The automatic rate controller was working on the fertilizer and aside form cleaning out the filter every couple rounds all was well. Then the low bin alarm goes off at 11 acres. I know I have two acres left in the tank with wheat so that is 13 acres on 2000lbs. That is 153lbs per acre. So I turn it down five notches and refill. The neighbor's ex wife who still works with him brought me my adapters so I was able to fill the fertilizer tank through my filter. I've found that if I filter what I put into the tank I can run a fine mesh screen on the filter after the pump and I don't have to clean out the nozzle screens as often.
This works and I don't have to clean the filters again. Although I notice that the fertilizer is clean instead of green. I wonder briefly if he really wants to put on 10 gallons of 32 solution as that would be 100lbs of N. Usually the 10-34 is green and 32 is clear but who knows with our local fertilizer outfit.
Next drill fill up is at 14 acres which is not much of an improvement. I really set it down but discover I'm out of seed in the powerbin. I discover this after filling one side of the drill. So, I get out my 2.5 gallon bucket and even it out.
Meanwhile it is dark.
Now, I have spent close to $800 putting together a GPS system. Raven 210 which sold for like $3,000-$4000 new, FarmerGPS program around $300, Itronix rugget tablet PC off ebay, this system should really work. It does work good when I can see something of a mark, but I can't steer by the screen in the dark, in dust so thick you can't see the ground. I stop 10 feet short of a huge washout in the field that I have already mapped on the GPS, had to lock up the brakes.
I've got a foam marker, but I can't get that to work either. The foam gets dirty and the stupid thing keeps quitting. I try a 20 foot log chain off the back of the drill. That is pretty much useless. I'm either a foot overlapped or a foot too far away. The GPS is off on some of the hills some of the time. There is only a bird's eye view and a little arrow which draws the path and a on screen light bar. I need the kind of GPS that draws a little highway I guess. I really don't want to spend $2500 more GPS, I need new tires.
I've done 30 acres.
I quit.
It just didn't work. The one time all this stuff had to work and of course it did not. I really need the money from this job...
Oh, and I tripped over the harrow and fell flat on my face. Skinned my wrist and then spilled liquid fertilzer all over myself.
This is known as adding insult to injury.
In the mean time Bill and my brother have been working on another no-till drill. I borrowed another neighbor's John Deere 750. I know the JD 750 is not the best no-till drill but I'm not doing no-till planting. This is all worked ground.
It was no where near ready to go. Replace 10 packer wheel bearings, and the whole fertilzer system needs work. Pump was leaking, tank was leaking, had to put correct orifice plates in, mounted a valve doubler so we could run markers and the fertilizer pump, put a electric flow control valve on the hydraulics, and didn't get it all going before dark.
Wonder if I can go to sleep?
Perhaps I can trip and fall down one more time today!

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