Monday, August 31, 2009

Dumping Barley into an Air Bin

Above:  Farmer Fred arrives at the bin site with a load of barley.
Above:  He backs the truck up to the swing away auger as Robbie starts the tractor to power the auger.  The main auger is powered by the tractor's power take off, while the swing away runs on the tractor's hydraulics.
Above:  Note the hydraulic hoses connected to run the motors that allow the auger to take up the grain.
Above:  As the grain begins to fall through the grate, the chaff and dust hang in the air.
Above:  The truck box holds 750 bushels and the auger can unload it in less than ten minutes. 
Above:  The cloud of itchy dust becomes more visible as Robbie keeps an eye on things on the ground. This is Lacey barley which is not as itchy as other varieties, but still barley.
Above:  Farmer Fred has climbed to the top of the bin for close observation as the bin is nearly full. We don't want to overflow the bin and have grain on the ground.
Above:  The bin fills before the truck is empty. This is a headache that we love to have! A favorite quote from my dad "When grain is cheap, it's good to have lots of it." Farmers prefer to face their problems with a smile.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Bin Site

Above:  This time of year, the bin site is a busy place. Notice the auger is set up to fill the grain bin. The tractor below is hooked up to the auger.
Above:  This is the view from the back of the tractor where the auger is connected to the power take off. The auger has no power source of its own and relies on the tractor to provide energy to operate.

The short auger that runs at a right angle to the main line is called a swing away auger. It lifts the dumped grain up to the Sheyenne Westgo 13 inch auger.
Above:  Behind the bin we have the fan system used to dry grain in the bin. Often grain is harvested  at a higher moisture percentage than is acceptable for storage. The fan system is used to dry the grain while in the bin. 
Above:  The air intake is up off the ground and covered to be sure it takes in only air. This system is called natural air grain drying.
Above:  Before the end of the day this 10,000 bushel bin will be full of barley.
Above:  All the barley left on the farm is swathed and awaiting  the combines. We're hoping for sunshine this week.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wild Turkeys come for Dinner and Drinks

There is a flock of wild turkeys in the area that we see from time to time. They thought that they were hiding in the grass, but are readily visible when the photos are enlarged.
There is a harvested barley field across the road with a lake nearby. These turkeys can fly up to the tree tops to roost and like to hide in the grass.
There is a very restricted hunting season on these birds in the late fall. The meat of wild turkey is delicious with a stronger flavor. More like an entire bird of dark meat. 
Because we enjoy watching these birds throughout the year, we are happy to hide and host them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Farmer Fred is OutStanding in His Field! Today-A Soybean Field

Above:  At first glance our field of soybeans looks beautiful and lush. Notice how the plants have filled in the space between the rows. When a soybean field has done this Farmer Fred would say it has a nice canopy.
Above:  Soybeans here are being raised for certified seed. The seed company has marked the field and documented the farming practices used here. 
Above: Farmer Fred spends some time each day out in the GriggsDakota fields checking for problems that could jeopardize the crop.  
Above:  Here he finds a heavy crop with the plants still blossoming. We need time for the pods to develop and mature. An early frost would devastate this crop. The beans must be fully mature to be certified as seed. This is the time of year when farmers watch for cold fronts and hope the growing season lasts through September.
Above:  In most places that he checks, Farmer Fred finds beautiful clean leaves. He checks the underside of a few leaves and finds a smooth clean surface with no pests visible. Notice the distinctive shape and the three leaf pattern of the soybean plant.
Above:  On the  underside leaves of another plant, he finds soybean aphids. Aphids move into fields from the edge toward the center. When their numbers reach 250 aphids per plant with 80% of the soybean plants hosting aphids, the field should be sprayed to protect the beans. We have not reached this threshold yet. Farmer Fred will be checking our soybean fields regularly to see how this infestation of aphids progresses. Remember, the pods are not edible for humans even when green. The bristle covered pods do a good job of protecting the beans inside. However, if the aphids damage the plant leaves, the bean production will be reduced.   
Above:  Another problem is spotted. A few corn plants have grown in the rows. Corn is a weed when growing in a field of soybeans.
Above:  We deal with this problem by roguing out the weeds. It is a term that means we walk the rows and pull out the unwanted weed, in this case corn. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

AdFarm Pinto Beans: Still hold Promise

Above:  Farmer Fred is checking the Pinto Beans for white mold.
Above:  The beans are looking good, but white mold has been showing up in the area. Crop consultants advise spraying. 
Above:  The heat and rain that has given us this heavy crop causes heavy dew. The thick upper growth means these beans never really dry out and are at risk for white mold.
Above:  Infestation of white mold could quickly cut the yield potential. The beans have filled in the area between the rows and we cannot drive our sprayer up and down the field without causing too much damage. Farmer Fred called to have the crop sprayed by air.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Harvest Meals

When the sun is shining and the grain is ripe, we do not stop to eat. Meals are brought out to the field twice a day. Everything in the bag is prepared in a way that makes it easy to eat with one hand, so we can grab a bite on the go. Here is a look into the food preparation.
Meals usually include a sandwich. Often home grown beef is the main ingredient. We keep a stockpile in the freezer.
Today the beef is grilled to smokey perfection.
Home made buns came out of the oven this morning.
The sandwiches are wrapped in aluminum foil and warmed in an oven for a few minutes. That will keep them hot on their trip to the field.
Fresh buns are not the only bread we use. Farmer Fred stops at the discount bread store to stock the freezer. We try to vary every element of the meals to add interest to the long hard days of work.
Lunches usually include fruit and vegetables. Today it is peaches wrapped in a paper towel to catch the drips. Fruit and vegetables are washed, prepared, and sent in a ziplock sandwich bag unless they are to be eaten whole.
Here is a tip on how to neatly pack frosted cake or brownies in a bag lunch:
Place the piece of cake on waxed paper or foil.
Cut off the bottom of the piece horizontally and cover the frosting. The cake bottom is now on top and the frosting is a filling in the middle.
Wrap carefully and you will not have frosting sticking to the paper. If you have brownies or bars that are too thin to slice horizontally, just cut the piece in half and stick the frosted tops together. This trick means you won't have to lick your frosting off the paper or foil wrapping!
The food is packed into personalized brown bags, then delivered with a cooler of water, Cokes, and iced tea. We try to deliver food at Noon and 6:30 PM. Often the evening bag will contain an extra treat to keep us going through the long evening.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Checking the Corn Plot

Above: Farmer Fred went up the hill to check his corn plot.
Above:  Our earliest variety was seeded with two different planters. The cob on the left was seeded with our old planter. It is less mature than the ear on the right, seeded with the new planter. It is a 78 day variety.
Above:  Notice the darkening silk on the top of each cob. This indicates a maturing cob and we are optimistic that this corn will be fully mature when it is harvested as grain.
Above:  Notice the contrast between the early maturing cob on the right and the immaturity of our longest season variety of corn. It is an 87 day variety.
Above:  With light colored silk and slim cobs, this variety is a long way from maturity. As noted on posts throughout the summer, it has been cool and dry. Corn matures best when it is hot and humid. Farmer Fred predicts that it is unlikely this variety will fully mature before it freezes. 
Above:  The corn plot gives us a picture of the performance of seed varieties, equipment, and helps evaluate various agronomic techniques. The information garnered from plots will influence our future farming practices and investments. 

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Family Roots on the Farm

Because GriggsDakota includes former homesteads and family farms, we often have cousins who come for a farm visit. These folks came from Iowa for a visit on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

The boys are ready for adventure!
The combines are in the shed today which was disappointing, but still fun with Farmer Fred.
Cousin Eric worked here as a teen to help pay the college bills.
Evan investigated the tractor, the auger, and the semi.

Hop in! Holden is ready to drive this rig back to Iowa.