Friday, October 29, 2010

Field Maintenance on the Farm

After the winter wheat has been seeded (if you listen closely enough I am sure you can still hear the collective sigh of relief not only from us, but other area farmers as well), we try to get as much field maintenance work done and often have to work around the Fall rains.  Sometimes we don't get very much accomplished due to the wet weather. 

Believe it or not, fields like anything else, require continued maintenance every year.  Each Fall we try to put in drain tile so excessive ground water can be carried out of the field and keep it from getting swampy. By not having these mud holes in the spring when we are trying to seed can speed up the time frame of getting the crop planted sometimes by a week or more. Timing is everything when it comes to getting the crop in the ground. 

Here are pictures and  videos of the actual process for putting in the tile.   On this particular field, it is rented ground and we are incurring the expense of putting in the tile. We own this tiler so this helps bring the cost down by not having to hire a company to do this task.  Some landlords will pay for the upgrade, some will not, so we feel incurring the cost of this project is worthwhile.  By installing tile it will improve the ground and allows for better crop yields and of course, this makes the landlord happy (so come lease renewal time, they are willing to renew the leases).

The roles of tile on the trailer

Jay & Cody unrolling the tile

Tile being laid in the ground

Tile being laid in the field, this is a labor intensive process


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Work on the Palouse

Fall work has begun in the "Palouse" and here are some videos that I took of the winter wheat being planted on our Genesee farm.  At the time of this blog (Tuesday, 10/12/10) we have now moved down to the Tammany farm, which is about an hour away from our home and we hope to be done seeding in a couple of days. 

Our rotational crops on our farm are winter wheat, spring wheat and then a legume (usually garbanzo beans).  As mentioned in earlier blogs, this is to help soil health, weed control and pest control by rotating crops. Winter wheat is planted now in the fall and will be harvested next August.

In these videos I had just come home from work and saw the tractor and seeding drill working around our house.  We live on the Palouse, which is a rich farming area that encompasses parts of Washington and Idaho.  Our rolling hills mainly grow wheat, pea, lentils and garbanzos.  Anyway, I hurriedly changed clothes and literally ran up the steep hillside to capture the videos and pictures as this was the very last patch to be done on our farm before moving down South to the Tammany farm.  I was standing on the hill behind our house and this is my brother-in-law, Jay in the tractor which is both seeding the wheat as well as fertilizing it at the same time.  We can plant about 200 acres a day if one person is in the tractor and one is on hand to keep the drills filled with seed and fertilizer.

Here is a  video clip of Joe in the tractor pulling a spike tooth harrow implement in the same field .  The purpose of this piece of equipment is to ensure the soil has covered the wheat seed and  to spread out the crop residue from the recent garbanzo harvest.  It is sort of like using a rake to cover the seeds when you plant them in your garden and smooth out the soil, only of course, on a much larger scale. =)

This is what a freshly seeded  field looks like up close.  The  red seeds
are  treated wheat kernels. Note the crop residue from the previous
garbanzo crop.  This is like "composting" and  it helps the ground to
keep moisture in the soil and reduce erosion.
The seed truck and fertilizer truck on hand in the field to fill the drill

A view of the harrow implement

A view of the rolling hills of some of our farm ground 

A view of our house from the top of the hill that I climbed when
I shot the footage of the tractor seeding wheat.
It's a great hill for sledding  =)

The weather forecast is great, sun and no rain for the rest of the week.  This means we will finish seeding the winter wheat this week.  It's a relief to get the seed in the ground as in this part of the country, it can start raining and not stop until the snow flies.  So everyone hurries to get the fall crop planted as "Mother Nature" can be somewhat unpredictable.  Procrastination is not in a farmer's  vocabulary when it comes to getting the crops planted or harvested, as our livelihood depends on timely work to be accomplished.  When the snow flies, then we can relax! =)