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Friday, February 6, 2009

Spring Planting

I am planting spring oats. It is not spring. It is down right cold out. Have been working on this project for a week. I'm not planting for myself as our ground is so wet there is no way I could get near it. I am no-till planting for my neighbors.
A couple years ago I rented a Great Plains no-till drill to plant for myself and a friend. Enough people were interested in hiring me that I bought the drill. I wore that drill out (the dry fertilizer killed it) and just bought another drill this past year. Not making any money farming. All the money is coming from my work for other people. Kind of crazy.
So, I spent a week getting the drill ready. Had to do some wiring. Have just been adding gizmos to the drill one at a time and ended up with quite a pack of wires going out the cab window. I got it all together at the end of last week and went to work.
It has not been working as well as it should. First of all I've been sick all week so have not been in top form. Then the silly things started going wrong. Monday started planting late in the morning. Then I discovered the two bolts that keep the hydraulic cylinder aligned on my drill carrier were broken. Took me way too long to make new bolts, but I got going again with out too much trouble. Then I lost an opener disk and nearly ran out of diesel. That silly White tractor has too small a fuel tank.
Tuesday I got another 40 acres done. I should be able to do twice that in a day. The drill pulled pretty hard, the ground was a little wet. It freezes every night so the ground is pretty goupy in the morning. I almost moved the drill that night but hated to drive after dark.
Wednesday I moved to the next field. Took me way too long to vaccum out the drill. Felt like crap. I was planting cayuse oats at 110lbs per acre, but next changed to Kanota oats at 120 lbs. Kanota are a forage type oat. My customer got a contract for $250 or so a ton. I'm not that impressed as Kanotas don't yield that well. But, I keep my opinions too myself. The field is hard packed fescue sod. Kind of a heavy red clay type dirt. Packed like a rock. I went 50 feet and all the alarms started going off. Rows 1-8 low population. I start checking and the transmission is not turning on the drill.
It has a lawnmower type transmission made by Peerless for Great Plains. There are little dogs that shift the gears. The gears don't slide the little pawls or dogs slide in a keyway on the output shaft and engage the gear you need. They were both broken. I called my friendly lawnmower shop and he knew what I needed. So instead of ordering the parts next day air from Great Plains I went to the lawn mower shop. Wrong parts. I ordered them and they were to be here today. They were not. Uncle harold brazed them for me and a was able to just leave the transmission in third gear. But, then I found a bearing out. Bearing is attached to the drive sprocket. Great Plains dealer said I was only breaking parts he didn't have. Parts had to come from Kansas. So I made-or rather my brother made a mount for me to use a regular flange bearing. Didn't get it done before dark. Next morning I put drill back together.
Checked the seed rate. 1.4 million seeds per acre should be 120lbs per acre. Planted 40 acres yesterday. Then it started pouring. Was able to finish the field.
This morning farmer called me. He had counted the remaining bags of see and divided by the acres and I only put on 100 lbs. So he want me to set the drill up a bit. What ever...
I'm going to sleep...

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