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January 2011 - Posts - .

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January 2011 - Posts

Where's the crop?

 

I had a walk about some of the OSR yesterday and haven't yet worked out if I should be worried or not. The reason being that one field (about 20Ha) looks near enough bare from the field edge, the good new is that if you walk out into the field there are OSR plants - only their tiny and should the pigeons get hungry there wouldn't be much left. On the subject of pigeons, we now have a larger problem of the flying varity, geese. Luckily they seem to be sticking to the grass fields most of the time at the moment. We also have some problem areas of blackgrass in one of the OSR fields that unfortunetly wasn't controlled satisfactually in November, so it over the next week that'll get another treatment which will hopefully sort it out.

The same goes for the wheat fields that were drilled last (22nd October), they do have a greeny colour to them from a distance, but the plants are very thinly spread. Hopefully some early Nitrogen in the middle of February will give them a boost and we'll be OK.

My next 'big' job around the farm is helping to get the ELS application sorted out, so the next few weeks could be spent colouring, counting trees and measuring things!

Better use more blue stuff next time..

Yesterday was a fun filled day - stopping the sprayer leaking..

The cold weather over Christmas didn't suit it too well and a number of the plastic connectors between the rubber and stainless steel spray lines were pushed off due to their contents freezing.. I'll call it 'contents' rather than water or antifreeze because it must have been somewhere between the two. Before putting the sprayer in the shed for winter I mixed some antifreeze into the water in the front tank, and then pumped it to the back tank before circulating it around all the pipes, induction hopper and booms - thinking I'd done a wonderful job and that I wasn't going to have any frost problems I locked the shed and left it. Then when everywhere was covered in snow and experiencing the very minus temperatures, I noticed some of the pipes had frozen and that some of the spray lines had disconnected themselves. Luckily I noticed then, and took the bung out of the pump so no major damage was caused other than one new pipe connecter, a few pushed apart connecters and some O-rings.

 So as the weather had warmed up yesterday (and for the first time in a while it wasn't raining!) the opportunity was taken to reconnect the spray lines, re-antifreeze the whole system (with a stronger mix!) and then once the system all had antifreeze washed through, remove the filters and filter bowls and take out the bung in the pump and a couple in the spray lines (I should have done this last time!)... So hopefully if it freezes again between now and when its needed the sprayer won't be affected!

 

LAMMA 11

 

I'm only a week late with this one!

So, last Wednesday I dragged dad off to LAMMA to have a wander round seeing as he hadn't been before - although there wasn't anything particular we went to look at; it was mainly a day spent catching up with people I went to Harper with who now work for machinery dealers or manufacturers or were also just looking round. Luckily we only ended up queuing for about 40mins to get in, so were into the show by half 8. It really is the main machinery show of the year (ok there's Cereals but there's the crop element of that to keep you busy) and it's great to see it going from strength to strength each year. The only problem with its continued expansion is its now a bit of a push to get round it all in one day if too much time is spent talking! So maybe a trip both days next year..

The big question I've been wondering since last week has got to be, that with more and more people and companies attending; how long will it remain free?

Rice as a Spring Crop?
Judging by the amount of water about at the moment (ok, so its not as much as Australia but there's still alot..) we'll be growing rice as a spring crop! Even fields that don't usually have any standing water in them have puddles in low spots, while those that do are worse than ever. So while we had a mini digger on hire the other day for cleaning out the cattle grids I attempted to create a temporary drain in one field corner, it was possibly a little wet and the result wasn’t much more than a sticky, muddy mess - but at least it worked.

The result of very saturated fields is (obviously I guess) very full rivers... I took the picture below today while out checking gas guns - the water level is usually about 3 feet lower.. and there isn't normally a 'ditch' on the bank (the river board decided to clean the banks a couple of weeks ago when it was pretty wet)

Hopefully todays improvement in the weather should mean that there is a good chance it will be rain free for LAMMA tomorrow, but we'll just have to wait and see..

Company Logos?
Not really an agricultural post...Just before Christmas I was kept busy for an evening designing a 'logo' for the haulage side of the farm at home, the main reason being that due to another change in the Health and Safety legislation that states what safety clothing the lorry drivers have to wear while on roadwork’s etc, all of the High Vis jackets that the drivers wear have had to be changed to include an orange reflective band over the shoulder (apparently its more reflective). So the opportunity was take to 'improve' the appearance of the drivers - previously they've had plain high-vis jackets or ones with other companies’ logos on...The reason I bring this up is because the new jackets came back the other day, so I thought I'd take opportunity to show off the outcome of my evening!

 

While on the subject of company logos (and in an attempt to drag this post back to an agricultural related subject) what are people's views on having a logo for a farming business? (I guess a brand for selling local produce would benefit, but what about a basic arable farm?) and also the idea that I read somewhere - possibly FW - that farm workers should wear a Hi-Vis vest at least when working around the yard? - personally I think this would be a good idea in a busy yard, a light weight vest is hardly noticeable to the wearer but greatly improves their visibility to other tractor or loader operators going about the yard, whereas this time of year an actual High-Vis coat is warm, water proof and noticeable.. Any thoughts or comments via the 'comment on this post' link below would be great.

Here's a couple of idea's for a farm's logo I had a while back...

 

Drilling with GPS Result..

Way back in October last year I blogged about using the Demo GPS (JD's Greenstar Universal) steering system I had fitted to the 6420s while drilling, and how the was a need to be slightly 'brave' while sitting there letting it steer while watching the tractors position over the normal mark left by the drill's standard markers. However, I've finally managed to get back to the field when it hasn't been covered in snow and I've had a camera with me.

So here is the result...

  

... It seems that although at the time I was fairly convinced I was missing bits with each pass due to the position of the tractor over the normal marker line, I was wrong, and as the picture shows there are no missed bits. I actually think there is less overlap than where I've steered manually in other fields.

Overall then, I think there was a need to be slightly brave and let the steering system get on with it rather than switching it off if it looks like it’s not as accurate as an operator normally drives - it’s probably the other way round; more accurate!

Christmas, check. New Year, check... now can we get back to normal?

 

Having no real excuse for not posting anything since before Christmas, I thought I'd better write something today.

It's nice to get back to normality after the seemingly country stopping snow, followed by Christmas and New Year and the additional bank holidays.. Having said that, normal seems to be repairing a number of things that decided to break over the Christmas period.

Apart from the repair jobs I'm actually relatively on top of the maintenance and odd jobs around the yard so it's not been too much of a problem that our tractor driver has been off the last couple of days with the Flu that seems to be going around - I'd even say it’s been useful as I've not had to find anything to keep him busy while I've been attempting to get up to date with the ploughing. However, having finished a rather sandy field I’ve ground to a halt until the ground dries out, so tomorrow looks like a day cleaning the empty grain silo and servicing the feeder wagon JD2140... at least we’re not having to thaw everything out anymore!