One thing to check off the list

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Brandon went out again on the little Allis-Chalmers tractor yesterday to finish off an important task–ditch maintenance.  We like to keep our ditches free from woody sprouts and trees.  He has been applying a special herbicide to the sprouts in our ditches using the little tractor we call the “suntan machine” and a trailing sprayer tank.  He slowly drives in the field alongside the ditch and directs the spray using a hand-held nozzle gun so that the herbicide is applied precisely to the target.  The herbicide is also selective so that only the woody species are stopped, and the grassy banks are left intact.  Of course, we cannot do this from a corn field at this time of year.  Either this task is done before the corn gets knee-high, or it occurs only from soybean fields.  There are 8 farm locations where this task is necessary.

Brandon prepares to head out with the suntan machine to do the spray maintenance on our ditches.

Brandon prepares to head out with the suntan machine to do the spray maintenance on our ditches. This tractor is a 1961 Allis-Chalmers D-15.  There was a time I can remember when this was our main spraying equipment.  There used to be a spray boom on the back of this tank, which would fold out to about 25 feet.  Using some baling wire and small wooden strips, dad extended it out to 30 feet, so that I could spray 12 rows at a time.  It was a step up from the previous set up, because this tractor has power steering.

 

I’ve been working on getting the crop insurance replant and prevent plant claims finished up.  There was an error in the way the agent entered the planting information into the company’s system, and the papers had to be reworked and signed a second time.  With all the specifics of such information, I’m surprised there are not more errors.  At least our adjuster caught this one before it got too far.

John sprayed some soybeans again yesterday.  He’s just doing patches now within fields, trying to conserve on the cost.  Most of the soybean fields look really great, but a few have some pesky waterhemp sticking up through the crop.  Waterhemp is typically along a field border.  This is our first year that this weed has been this much trouble.  We will search for alternatives next year to reduce the competition from this weed–at a cost-effective price.

Most of our soybean field are clear of weeds, like this one along our driveway. I'm so grateful for that.. because this is the one we see every day as we enter or leave the farm.

Most of our soybean fields are clear of weeds, like this one along our driveway. I’m so grateful for that… because this is the one we see every day as we enter or leave the farm.

The heat and humidity of last week’s days in the 90s have moderated a bit.  The humidity is still a factor, but the temps are in the 80s this week.  This makes work outside a bit more comfortable.  Temperatures in the 80s with plenty of moisture are helpful to our corn and soybean crops!  Often by this time of year, our lawns are dry, brown, and crunchy.  Not so in 2016.  The grass is still growing like springtime.

I hear of other farmers around the country talk about the good fortune of farmers in the “I-states”.  I guess that’s really true in 2016…at least so far here in SWIN!

Even though it is not unusual to have high temperatures and high humidity in Indiana summers, it does not stop folks from complaining, even if just a little, about how ‘sticky’ it feels to be outside.  Yes it’s hot, but we haven’t hit 100F yet this year!  So, why do we whine about it?  I guess we are too accustomed to our air conditioning… and, boy, am I grateful for A/C!  I can remember as a kid those sticky summer nights in our house, when it was very difficult to get a comfortable sleep.   Do any of you have similar memories?

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