Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring Seeding Accomplished (well almost)

It's Tuesday evening as I'm writing this and we finished seeding the garbanzo beans last night around 7:00pm on Monday.  We are done seeding for the most part.  Whew.....

The weather forecast was showing rain for the rest of the week  so we really wanted to get finished.   The last few days around the Palouse have been very busy with seed trucks and tractors out in the fields racing against the weather.  I'm not sure about the neighbors, but we finished are are very thankful for the 1/2 " of rain received today.  This is perfect and we could not have ordered a better weather forecast.  We do have about 12 acres left to seed with sunflowers, but that is not critical.

One Monday, I was working around our home place, spraying Round-up for weed control, so I grabbed my camera to take a few pictures of brother-in-law Jay who was doing the seeding on the Genesee farm.  As I mentioned in the last blog about the "nurse truck" , well I was able to snap some pictures of this event. Here they are as shown above.  The nurse truck is equipped with  an auger that dumps the seed into the seed box.

Joe was at the Tammany farm spraying the garbs planted down there.  Garbs require some special attention in that you have one shot and one shot only to control weeds.  If weather conditions are not right, sometimes the weed application is not optimal and the end result is a weedy field (farmers don't like messy weedy fields - and Murphy's law seems that if you have something go wrong, it is ALWAYS by the highway and visible...   =)  I would compare it to having a nosy relative drop in unexpectedly and your house was really messy)  =(    A clean weed free field is a source of pride to those of us that farm, it means we try to carefully tend and take care of  our ground in the best manner we can.   So the process is like this: the farmer tries to time spraying a "pre-emergent" on the garb ground just before the garb plants are set to pop up out of the ground to control the known pesky weeds that will plague this plant.  Once the plants are out of the ground, there is not an  FDA approved product that can be sprayed to control the weeds, so it is a gamble on whether or not the farmer will have a nice clean, weed free field to harvest or a weed infested field which will yield lower and the farmer most likely will get docked for the less than optimum product. 
So that's all for now folks!  I'll also be photographing this crop on my "Diary of a Crop" as well.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Garbanzo Seeding at the Tammany Farm

Joe and I went down this afternoon (Sunday) to get "my tractor" from the Tammany farm.  I like playing out doors and want to work more on the yard.  So when Joe asked if I wanted to go with him to go get the little blue tractor, I said yes! (to read more on that, see the At Home on the Farm page).  Once on our Tammany farm, we passed one of our fields that was being seeded to garbanzo beans and I thought I would share the process, sort of a Garbanzo Seeding 101 lesson.  I still find it interesting as well as amazing at how we constantly must change to work better, faster, more efficiently not only to keep our farm financially healthy, but to leverage the farmers time in the field in a better manner.  In esssence we have to do more with less, just like the rest of the businesses (Ag or non Ag) related.

Garbanzo Seeding 101
Step 1: The garb seeds arrive at the farm via one of our semi's and if you look at this picture, you will see that they are dumped from the bottom of the semi onto a conveyor called a belt-a-vator (sp?) 
The belt-a-vator then transports the seeds up into a smaller seed truck (called a nurse truck) that will go out into the field where the tractor and seeding drill are.
This is what the garb seeds look like.  They are pretreated to help protect the seed against soil borne diseases.  (They look sort of like Trix cereal and are very colorful). 

Step 2:  Next comes the cute farmer to drive the tractor.
Step 3:  The cute farmer then drives the tractor and seeding drill around and around the fields to plant the seeds.
Step 4:  This part is up to "Mother Nature" to help us farmers out with warm weather and adequate moisture.

Step 5:  Assuming "Step 4" is sucessrfully followed by Mother Nature, the farmer will carefully tend the crops and protect them against weeds and insects.   Watch for Step 5 (harvesting) in a September blog!  Maybe I'll even have a new camera (hint to the farmer hubby - there is a model at Costco that I like) that can take small movie clips.  So there, now you have learned how garbanzos are planted, go celebrate and buy some "Hummus" at your local store! =)

Monday, April 12, 2010

We're ready to go, but the tractor had other ideas...

As I was driving home from work last Friday, I saw the tractor, the seed truck and the anhydrous ammonia truck in the field.  Oh boy, it looks like we're able to get back into the field again!  The snow was gone and the ground was dry enough to begin seeding spring wheat.  So I parked my car and hopped out to snap a few pictures for the blog when I spot brother in law, Jay walking to the tractor and then I saw....
a repair truck!  Ugh, this is not what you want to see in the field as a breakdown is the bane of all farmers.   There is never a good time for repairs,  but the worst possible day is, you guessed it, a Friday afternoon because there is a very good chance that nothing will get done until parts arrive, which usually is Monday, maybe Tuesday.   So with 40 acres left of spring wheat to get in the ground, we are waiting for the parts to arrive.   Now as I'm writing this, it has also started raining, so it appears there is now plenty of time to get the repairs done.

Joe headed down to the Tammany farm  first thing this morning with a semi loaded with garbanzo bean seed to hopefully get started seeding.   So if you like hummas, you will be happy we are planting quite a few acres of garbanzo beans. =)    The one thing I've learned about farmers is they are patient and can take the unexpected in stride. Breakdowns and weather are just two of the things they encounter trying to do their job, but that is okay, this breed has perseverance.

P.S. - in case you are new to this blog, the Home page is what we are doing on the farm, the At Home on the Farm page is about our lives as farmers - sort of an up close & personal peek into our personal lives, the Recipe section, a Diary of a Crop, and a the Ag view with facts/figures about the inconsistancies from Food, Inc.  So as always, please email me if you have questions or leave a comment and glad you stopped by.  I hope you will come back soon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Springwork Temporarily Interupted by Snow

Weather on the Palouse is a fickle thing, especially in Spring.  So with that being said, we are patiently waiting for drier, nicer weather in hopes that we can get back in the fields again.  The spring wheat  has been planted on the Tammany farm, we moved up to the Genesee farm and were able to get some more wheat planted, but have more to go.  We also have garbanzo beans to get seeded on both farms and those plants need much warmer weather to germinate, so I'm thinking warm spring, warm sunny weather thoughts (so is our granddaughter pictured above).  We are probably about 40% done, so we're not panicking about being out of the fields right now due to weather related conditions and will hope the ground will dry out enough very soon. =)