The Useful Duck!

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Driving in circles

I'm doing a custom farming job for our neighbor. He has 66 acres of pasture that we cut for silage for his dairy. It is so rough from years of cutting silage when it is way too wet that you can't stay on the tractor seat cutting hay. I really don't care that much as I don't do his hay, but I do have to stack it from time to time. If I were cutting his hay I would go the same way as the silage chopper cause that is the operation that made the ruts. But, the hay cutters cut in circles. I divide the 66 acre field into two sections for silage as otherwise you have to drive around the whole field to get out with a loaded silage truck.
We also confuse the field by cutting back and forth when there gets to be too many corners as the pull type chopper and the truck drivers don't care for lots of turns. So, I guess the hay people kind of hate me.
The plan was to disk it twice and then he would pump his manure lagoon on it. Then I'd work the crap in and by that time the field should be smooth. I was going to plan triticale and rye but have since decided to just plant annual ryegrass. It will make a nice forage crop.
Here is the screen of my GPS. I tried to farm at night but I can't see anything on my second pass. I can't afford a very expensive GPS so I'm running FarmerGPS on a tablet PC. It worked really good at 4.5 mph but at 5.5 I just can't seem to stay on the AB line. I think I need to set the look-ahead feature up a little more but I can't remember how to do it. I think this is why I have so much trouble following it with my drill.
Life is way too complicated.


  1. And just think, the only thing a farmer used to have to watch was the backsides of a couple mules!

  2. Off topic here, but have you ever taken on what was supposed to be 40 acres of custom tillage, only to find that it is barely 25? Not a big deal except that it is 12 miles from HQ and you have to move there four times with large equipment over narrow Benton Co. roads with poor shoulders (poor shoulders & Benton Co. are synonymous!)and blind curves. You see, stuff like gay marriage IS a priority "here". Road maintenance...not so much!

    Sorry for the rant & hi-jack. A bit frustrated with custom farming right now!

  3. Gorges, Watching glowing arrows and computer screens in a tractor is somehow wrong...

    Orin, you know I basically do custom work for a living...So if they say it is 45 can you charge them for 45? I took on a job last year that was supposed to be 80 and was barely 50 which is not the same as 25/40 but then they didn't pay me for six months... 8 stinking trips to get it smooth and planted and then they didn't even harvest the hay! And road maintenance. They are putting in sidewalks in Amity, but they won't grade the shoulders anywhere else so if you get off the road for a car and you hit a pothole it about knocks your teeth out.
    Oh, I could go on and on...
    I was working for the neighbor disking his pasture and he decided to turn the manure gun on for awhile. Right on my next land and inches from the tractor. So, I went back home. The field is now so rough you can't drive across it.
    Just they way it goes!

  4. I'm an amateur custom farmer I guess. I quoted it by the hour!

  5. Orin, actually I don't do that much custom farming. So, I guess I got a little carried away. I stack bales, cut hay, and no-till. Last year I did some actual custom farming, as in working ground. The people really talked me into it, which is why it was pretty annoying when no check showed up. I said I would do it for $20 per acre per trip and I would not go over $120 an acre. It worked out to around $75 per hour. I didn't charge for all the trips, but we don't have any tillage stuff bigger than 14 foot. No one would tell me what to charge or what they charged but it was ok. Personally, I like to charge by the acre or bale or ton rather than by the hour as if things go well you make a lot more money. But, I don't know if that is the right way to do it or not.


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