What a difference a year can make. This time last year a major part of North Dakota was classified as having Extreme Drought Conditions. This year, not so much. Last year, most of the sloughs and potholes were dry with nary a duck to be seen. This year, not so much. Last year we started planting on April 15th, this year, it was May 4th. This delay puts them behind the schedule already as have deadlines they need to hit to meet crop insurance requirements. For their area these dates are approximately 5/20 for Canola, 5/31 for Wheat and 6/10ish for Beans.
The first couple of days we were here it was too wet to get out into the field, so we kept ourselves busy doing maintenance on the Landoll. The Landoll is a piece of equipment designed for maintaining the fields and keeping them smooth and level. Think of it as a giant rototiller. It has a series of discs and tines that break up and smooth out the soil as you pass over it and as with any piece of equipment things break. So Dylan and I set out to get it ready for the field!
Most of the tines were just loose so we replaced the bolts, those are the shiny replacement bolts in the picture. Some of the tines were broke and some were missing altogether. It took us anywhere from 15-20 minutes per set to get them back in shape depending on how frozen the bolts were and how many tines needed to be replaced. Not a big deal until you see just how many tines there are!
We replaced over $600 in bolts and washers alone and this did not even count the cost of replacing the tines! Farming ain't cheap!
Once that was done, the fields were still too wet so I went out and started cleaning tree rows. The recent ice storm really did a number on the trees and all the limbs needed to be cleaned up before planting could start. I spent probably a total of 5 hours cleaning just this one row hauling countless piles of brush off the field and this was just one of dozens of tree rows they need to take care of.
They also picked up another quarter of land over the winter. A quarter means a quarter of a section. A section is 640 acres which is a mile x mile square, so a quarter is a quarter of that or a 1/2 mile x 1/2 mile square. It had several rock piles on it so they hired someone to come in and move them with a huge excavator and dump truck. Well, it was not long until we received a call that they had buried the dump truck.
So off we went with the quad track tractor to pull them out. I took a video of the process but before I get to that I want to explain the number of videos I have in this post. I think there are 6. In past posts I have been putting in cute videos of Zoey and Dakota but apparently not everyone likes those. I recently received this message from my dear friend Harry.....
Many of the fields have bee hives on them. Beekeepers ask permission to place their hives on the fields in exchange for a few jars of honey each year. It is a win/win for both the farmers and beekeepers. Back in the day I had a few hives until we found out Forrest was allergic to them. That was the end of my beekeeping career. I went to get a closer look at some of the hives and took this video.
The closer I got the angrier the bees got. unlike wasps and hornets, honeybees only sting as a last resort as once they sting you, they die. So, instead of stinging they slam into the side of your face to let you know they are not happy. As I was taking this video, I was getting pummeled by some not so happy honeybees! Someday I might get a hive again, I really enjoyed having them in the past.
The day finally came that we were able to get into the field so away we went! The first step is to load the trucks with fertilizer, urea and seed.
Urea going from the hopper bin into the truck!
Then treating the seed from the hopper into the treater and from the treater into the truck.
Then it is out to the field we go where we load the seeder.
Speaking of seeders, they got a new one this year. This new seeder is 66' wide and can plant 86 rows at one time! Here is another education video on the new seeder in action.
Depending on the crop and the field they can plant about 200-250 acres a day. The seeder can hold 1000 bushels of product so he can go about 6 hours or so before he has to fill back up. The seeding days started about 7:30 in the morning getting everything ready for the day and ended around 9pm with the last fill for the seeder. Chris carried on a few more hours to 2-3 in the morning before going home and getting a few hours of sleep and starting all over again!
This went on for 5 days and we got about 1,200 acres planted. Then it rained. A small amount of rain will not impact the seeding but too much and things get too muddy to seed.
Then you need to wait a day or two for things to dry up. So, we took advantage of the day off and went golfing! I am not a big golfer, in fact I had not been in over 10 years I think when we had a outing for work. In fact, my old boss sent me this picture a week or two ago to remind me of my golfing days. I don't mean to say that my boss is old, just that he is my old boss. Who am I kidding, he is both! (I know you read the blog once in a while, so Chuck, that comment is for you!)
|We were promoting a new meat brand|
So off we went to the Garrison Golf Course! Bob, DeAnne and I golfed while Barb was the score keeper.
|Air Ride Kit|
|Barb and the Sobieck clan|
|Dylan, Barb and DeAnne|
|DeAnne and Bob|