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Sunday, March 28, 2010

I visit my old grain drill

Today it rained. I took a very long nap.
Yesterday was the last nice day. I planted 24 acres of spring wheat. It was all little fields. Corners of a large grass field that didn't do well and the farmer sprayed them out. It was fairly slow going. The strangest thing was that there was a turkey running around out there. I have no idea where he came from.
Friday I mixed up some feed for my chicken feed customer. First I had to locate some feed wheat. Then pick it up. Then i found some oats, then some clover screenings. Before long the day was gone. I did manage to disable by drill by attempting to install markers.
Then Saturday I got a planting job. I got the markers sort of on and working and started planting close to 5 p.m. I finished around 8 p.m. I made more money with a slow planting job than I did with a good feed mixing job. Kind of puts it in perspective.
Wednesday or Thursday I went to visit my old grain drill. I have a certain affection for the drill. I really didn't want to sell it but I didn't have time to rebuilding. I kind of wore it out.
The farmer who bought the drill had some leftover barley which is supposed to be really good yielding. He wanted me to look at his fields and he said he would make me a good deal on the seed.
So, I went over early in the morning.
He has a pretty good scheme for planting. He is doing grain rotations on deep red hill soil. I think it is pretty well drained. He no-tilled his barley into wheat stubble. He chopped the stubble in the fall and sprayed out the regrowth in the spring. He sets the drill to plant 2" deep so that it cuts through the stubble. He plants as early as he can get on the ground. The barley looks really good. It is two inches tall already.
I can't make that work. I leave the stubble tall and attached to the ground. I've had the best luck planting shallow and not chopping the stubble. I think it is because all the ground I no-till is wet and poorly drained.
When i got back his employee had loaded all the bags into my pickup. I tried to pay him and he wouldn't take the money. He said he appreciated my willingness to help him with no-till questions and that I had given him a bunch of parts with the drill. His way of saying thanks. I guess 800 lbs of barley is a good thank you.
He takes really good care of the drill. I like the old drill better than the new one. The old one has much cleaner lines. It is not cluttered with a tank and gadgets and what not.
This is the new Great Plains 1500. It is very cluttered with a tank and hoses and valves. Now it also has markers. What a mess of stuff!

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