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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Working ground

I've had a no-till drill for something like eight years.
I sometimes forget the amount of time and effort it takes to work ground.
I am working on a 35 acre field.
First I disked it.
It took me six hours with a 13ft heavy cover-crop disk and the 2-155 tractor which is around 155-160hp. I used 52 gallons of diesel. There was a total of 160 acres on the counter which includes the ten acre field I did because it was close by and the five trips I made though the garden.
I was accused of working the tractor a little hard. I would have to agree. I usually drop down a gear to conserve fuel.
When your 2-155 is using 9 gallons an hour it has been my experience that you are, "working the snot out of it."
My brother said he used 5 gallons to disk with the new 2-155 but he was running in 2-wd because of the CV joint problems.
I have switched to harrow and roller and see the fuel gauge is not dropping as quickly. It is 12ft harrow but I running it with the front loaded up pretty heavily with dirt.
I only want to harrow once but I'm leaving some ridges so I think I will have to go twice.
Today I need to plant another hillside for my neighbor so I'm going to let the sod dry out here at home.
We are at the point where I am worried about conserving moisture.
The heavy clay river bottom soil will dry out badly if you don't break up the surface this time of year. The water wicks out though the cracks in the soil. It doesn't take a lot of tillage to seal it up. But, it was too wet to control weeds on the field and so there was too much material to just work the ground with a spring-tooth and roller.
I have no-tilled river-bottom ground in these weather conditions and had failures.
I was going to plant for a kid who has been scrounging for ground and so is farming land no-one else will farm. (See Ed Winkle's post from yesterday)
I have been "on the way" to look at his field for two months. I finally made it yesterday. I was going to plant it yesterday but it was at the end of a long lane in the hills and I didn't know if the drill would fit.
The field was red clay with a thick mat of Bentgrass, moss, deer droppings, and mouse holes.
He was pretty determined to plant spring wheat.
I told him he had too disk it.
And that he should plant oats and not wheat.
Wheat is too expensive to grow and have a failure.
I try and avoid giving advice. I felt bad about not looking at the field earlier. I thought he had "real" farmers giving him advice. I think he would be better off to disk the field and summer fallow it then to spend money on fertilizer and chemical and have a crop failure.
Bentgrass and moss is always a sign of low pH. I doubt he can afford $65 per applied ton of lime.


  1. Moisture conservation, not a concern here right now. The ground is whiter than it was a week ago. Blizzard yesterday, snow melting today, ground getting muddier. Planting window getting narrower every passing day. If it wasn't for the weather what would I have to complain about?

  2. I heard from the UFO guy that the Russians say we are headed for a new ice age.
    I find it hard to change from the mindset where it is going to rain tomorrow to hoping it will rain in three days.
    Going from snow to mud to planting in a week would be a difficult transition.


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