Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Leave the Barley Standing

The barley in the swaths did not dry down the way we were hoping, and so we are onto Plan B. 
The swathers are not in the field, despite the fact that the sun is shining once again.
We will finish combining what is in the swath.
We are putting the barley into air bins with powerful fans. The grain is wetter than we would normally take it, so we will fill each bin only half full to be sure the air dries it down quickly. It means a little more grain handling, but the plan seems like the best solution for dealing with seed barley. In this difficult season, seed barley may end up a precious commodity. We want it in the bin rather than in the field where damage is more likely to occur. 
The rest of the barley is ripening. Our fields are at various stages of ripeness, because of their seeding order last Spring. This field will be next on the harvesting docket and is ripe, but not dry. Notice how the heads are not all standing straight. Some are angled or bent.
This is when the field looks to be dancing. When Garth Brooks sang:
"And every time I pass a wheat field, and watch it dancing in the wind" he was referring to a field of ripe grain. Every breeze makes it appear to be bobbing and weaving like a crowded cotillion.
We missed the forecasted rain, but there are several more chances popping up.
For now, the barley is better off dancing in the field, rather than resting in the swath. 
As the plants ripen, they begin to turn from green to tan. Beards, which are the wire-like straw attached to each seed on the head, ripens early giving the plant a golden look from a distance. Closer inspection reveals the green stalks and leaves.
When the barley is dry enough to combine, the stalks will be golden to the ground and dry. This allows the straw to pass through the combine as the grain is threshed from the head of the plant and saved in the hopper.
 We may need to swath some of the barley. Some fields are ripening unevenly. We will straight combine as much as we can. Weather radar and smart phones make watching the sky for rain showers obsolete, but we will be watching none the less.
As the barley and wheat fields dance in the winds of GriggsDakota.

song lyrics from "That Summer" written by Don Reid made famous by Garth Brooks

1 comment:

  1. Such a great example of how farmers have to use their expertise to solve problems, and change course when need be, even if it means more work (grain handling!) for them!

    And as always, your photos are gorgeous!