With this Farm Week in Pictures 2013 is halfway over. Corn and soybeans are growing and will be entering the reproductive phases soon while wheat dries down for a summer harvest. As the first half of the year closes take a look at what we’ve been doing the past week.
Seems like a front blows through everyday now. There has been at least a 30% chance of rain about everyday for a couple of weeks now.
Clouds have been interesting to watch all week as they have been constantly changing. This corn field has grown several inches in recent days.
Dad and I ventured out into our corn yield contest plot with some sticks of PVC and survey flags to mark out where we wanted some fungicide sprayed on the plot. Fungicide applications at the V6 leaf stage have been shown to give a yield bump to corn crops. R1, the first reproductive stage, also shows a response. Some studies show applications at both stages produce the most yield. So why don’t we put fungicide on all our corn? Well it isn’t free for one thing. And even though fungicides may have other plant health benefits other than actually treating diseases we tend to shy away from what I call “recreational” applications that may put undue selection pressure on certain diseases causing the treatments to lose efficacy. We also ran about 20 acres of fungicide elsewhere in this field to see what it will do in comparison to the corn we have growing under normal practices outside the high yield contest plot.
By the end of the week this same corn was shoulder high!
TeamworkCheck out the little balls on these soybean roots. They are a good sign that soybeans and other legumes are doing well. Soil bacteria called rhizobium japonicum form a symbiotic relationship with soybeans. The bacteria are able to fix Nitrogen from the atmosphere allowing the soybean to utilize the vital nutrient. In turn the bacteria get some food of their own from the roots of the soybean. A soybean crop may actually use more N than a corn crop, but we generally don’t think of it that way because corn must have applications of Nitrogen fertilizer since corn cannot fix N like soybeans can. In fact soybeans fix enough that a general rule of thumb is you can count on up to 30lbs of N per acre available for a corn crop following soybeans.
Getting DumpedHere I’m unloading a truckload of soybeans harvested in 2012 at the local elevator. Only a few loads of beans remain from the 2012 crop.
The grain head and combine were pulled to the shop for a quick inspection before wheat harvest. Other than a few adjustments to settings on the combine pretty much everything should be ready to roll. Harvesting our wheat this year will be the last thing these two pieces of equipment do on our farm. The combine is being traded out for a 2011 model, and the head is being replaced with our first draper head. Can’t wait until fall to play with the new toys!
Grandpa and I walked into the wheat to grab enough grain to get a moisture sample. At week’s end the grain tested at 22% moisture. We were hoping that by Monday we could start harvest, but it has rained off and on the entire weekend. Looks like harvest might get pushed back another week. We want to plant soybeans right behind wheat harvest in the hope of harvesting two crops in one year from the same field, but at some point it’s going to get too late for that. We may put in an early cover crop if we think soybeans are too risky.
Stay tuned for July!