Clouds of white

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

CPS is spreading ag lime on the Home farm today.  The 3 spreader trucks are making billowing clouds of white as they travel across the fields.  This product is quarried and ground up into a coarse powder here in southern Indiana.  Soil testing reveals the need for ag lime to raise the pH of the soil.  The management of soil pH is very critical, for it must be in a narrow, correct range in order to maximize productivity.  Once applied, the pH will typically remain stable for several years.

Today, the spreaders are GPS-satellite controlled.  Soil samples were taken after harvest, and were done on a methodical, grid-based way.  Therefore, we have a ‘map’ of more specific areas that show how much lime is needed in each portion of each field.  This grid-sampling method targets the application of this ag lime in such a way that the pH needs of the soil is treated in a very precise way.  This is more accurate than using one sample per field, and then treating the entire field according to the single sample.  Other names for this targeted approach are “precision farming” or “site-specificapplication.  The rate used for this farm today by the trucks varies from 1 to 3 tons of ag lime per acre. 

A loader fills one of the spreader trucks with ag lime.

Big, tri-axle dump trucks deliver the bulk ag lime to the fields and place it in big piles.  From there, it is loaded into the spreader trucks for the precision application.

The truck drives a specific traffic pattern across the field. The satellite receiver recognizes the location, and the on-board computer controls the rate of application according to a map of the pH of the field. The spreading mechanism can vary the rate as it travels through the field. Therefore, the precise amount of ag lime is applied in every spot.

The application trucks often are followed by a big plume of white.

John and Philip cleaned the 4730 sprayer today, and ‘winterized’ the tank, pump, and boom using RV antifreeze.  They are cleaning other implements and readying them for winter storage.  The warmer days of this week (63F today) are making this kind of washing possible.

John washes one of the MacDon headers, readying it for winter storage.

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