Friday, April 5, 2013
Spring work is happening in earnest all over southern Knox County, Indiana. You can see tractors running everywhere! Ross is applying NH3, as well as John. Ross appears to have his applicator working smoothly, after a few bugs in the system on Wednesday evening.
John is still weighing every tank of NH3 he applies, and verifying that the application rate is on target. He has been getting more accurate application readings today. He was getting frustrated with the Capstan N-Ject system. We paid a premium to have what we thought was this more uniform and accurate metering and control system. But it has required John to more closely verify what his machine is applying. We thought we were buying the most accurate system, and one that required less maintenance. Not so, just yet! Maybe it is just because John has a strong desire to get his work done in a very precise way… perhaps if we were verifying the application accuracy of the old conventional Raven (a brand of NH3 metering equipment) system on Ross’ machine, we would see some variations, too. John has experienced unacceptable results of >6% deviation, but he has reported <2% deviation from the target rate today. I’d say that’s terrific, but he is not fully comfortable that his N-Ject system is going to stay that accurate. Let’s hope he can relax a little more and just enjoy the operation tomorrow.
I spent yesterday evening and all day today spraying the wheat with the herbicide Harmony Extra. It is applied at a rate of .75 ounces per acre. It is accentuated with some 2,4-D at a rate of 4 ounces per acre. Those are pretty low application rates. I can remember some herbicides in my early days of spraying that required a gallon of active ingredient or more per acre. Those rates of herbicides are mixed into a solution in water, which is applied at a rate of 10 gallons of the solution per acre. The water acts as the ‘carrier’.
Today’s herbicides are more environmentally friendly, therefore, they can be effective at those low rates.
On two tankfulls (or 160 acres) I included, at John’s request, 2 ounces per acre of a fungicide. He will apply a fungicide to the wheat later in the year, when the heads are about to emerge from the top of the stalks. Today’s treatment is a test to determine if it is economically helpful to apply two applications of fungicide to wheat. ( I think my french friends apply fungicides 4x per growing season). Anyway, it was a real treat to drive the JD 4730. That air suspension makes it like riding on a cloud. And when you treat a 100-foot swath with each pass, and travel 10+mph, the acres get into your rearview mirror pretty fast.
If the weather remains dry, perhaps 3-4 days will finish the NH3 work.
It was a pleasant 62º today, but there was a tiny bit of frost on the ground this morning. Have a good weekend.