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Burying the Hatchet on #Harvest12

September 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Yesterday was one of the best days a farmer who experienced the drought and Harvest or 2012 could ask for. It was a beautiful day in the low 60’s with a nice breeze and it was the beginning of the end of Corn Harvest 2012.

Yesterday, we began to spread dry fertilizer on our farm fields using GPS and VRT technologies which allow us to replace the virtually the exact amount of nutrients the crop removed from the ground in virtually the exact spot from which it was used.

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This picture shows a fertilizer spreader using GPS and VRT technology to accurately an efficiently spread dry fert on my farm.

Today, we begin to bury the hatchet for 2012 and begin anew. Today, we turn over a new leaf, well hundreds of thousands of them to be exact, by tilling the ground and prepping it for a great 2013 crop year to come.

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Today is a great day.

Making Farm Safety #1

September 10, 2012 2 comments

For generations, Farming and Ranching has been considered one of the Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in the US. It’s no secret that large animals can be very unpredictable, farm accidents occur both on and around the farm, and now and again there are farmer vs vehicle accidents on our nations roads. While many farm accidents are avoidable many are simply a hazard that goes along with the job. Murphy’s law. without a doubt. exists in Agriculture.

Being a farmer and a father of three, safety is a top priority on my farm. Accidents can, do and have happened over the years. Let’s just say after an accident long ago, we are very lucky to have my Dad here with us today. That being said, its understandable to say that my family is very safety conscious and, from time to time, takes additional measures to help ensure our own day to day safety on our farm.

Our latest example of increasing safety on our farm is a simple one, A right side step for our tractor.

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On many front wheel assist (similar to a 4×4 vehicle) tractors, there are steps on the left (drivers side) for the operator to get in and out of the cab. However since there is no cab access on the right side, there are no steps and nothing to stand on to access the right side of the tractor. This presents a problem when a headlight needs to be changed, when washing the tractor or when simply cleaning its windows. In order to complete those tasks, I normally have to climb up the rear of the tractor, then climb onto the rear outer tire in order to reach the lights, or clean the upper parts of the windows.

That’s until these parts came in the other day
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Here is a picture of what the right side of the tractor looks like as if it were New from the John Deere Factory in Waterloo IA.

(See how a new John Deere MFWD Tractor is made by clicking here)

The Muffler is on the right, and part of the fuel tank is showing below.

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With two of us at work, a few wrenches, and about a half hour, here is what it looks like now.

Side view of new side step and railing.

Front Right of Cab with new step and railing

At the end of the day, I can honestly say that I am very satisfied with the step, how easily we were able to install it, and the increased safety it offers. The only thing I will change on it is the color of the hand railing. This winter, the green railing will be removed, repainted to match the muffler’s black color and replaced so it wont stand out quite as much.

Yes, this example of increased safety was relatively inexpensive, quick and easy to install, but that is exactly the point. The Majority of the most valuable safety measures are indeed cheap and easy to install, yet seem to be commonly overlooked. Another example of a cheap and easy safety measure is a simple SMV sign which I wrote about on this blog a few days ago.

Check it out by clicking here: “While Harvest Speeds Up, Please Slow Down”

In closing, I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to look around their home or at their place of work and identify at least one thing that could be a safety hazard and address it. Weather its big or small, weather someone else notices or not, you will make a difference to someone. The someone who didn’t accidentally get injured thanks to a moment of your kindness.

God Bless

Goodbye Old Friend

June 28, 2012 5 comments

Today I parted ways with and old friend of many years.  I’ve known and have spent countless hours with this friend since I was a little one myself and know every thing about er.

 I basically grew up with this friend but after realizing this friends time has come and gone, I as well as my Dad and Uncle knew it was time to cut er free, and let er go.

Now this may sound a bit silly at first but hear me out, this friend isn’t a family pet, or a family member, or anything to get too terribly attached to, it’s a piece of Iron.

Yeah, I just might have made you say WTH? in your head, or maybe you get where I’m headed here.  Either way, let me explain:

This Old Friend is a 1980s model 4600 Cultivator:

Ever since I was barely big enough to sit on my Dads or Uncles lap in the tractor cab in the spring, this cultivator was behind me, tilling the dirt, prepping the fields for planting, etc etc.  Through out the years, I can fondly remember a few memories made here and there while pulling it through the field.  I learned (as a kid) that even though you have 4 tires on the main frame, if one goes flat, the others will not be of any help getting you to the other end of the field, they work together as a team.  I also learned how to change a tire on that day.  I can remember leveling off plowed ground with it one spring and coming up on a wet spot in the field, but it didn’t look too bad.  While the tractor made it through it just fine, when this old friend hit the spot, it went down..hard, and almost stopped the tractor as well.  I also remember learning a very important lesson about changing the sweeps (the part that actually moves the soil around when in the field).

NEVER, and I mean NEVER, attempt to hold the sweep bolt down with your finger if you are using an Air Wrench to take the nut off on the other side!

 I’m sure just about every farmer knows what I’m talking about there, but incase you don’t, here’s a short explanation on what happens when you spin that nut off the back side:  Since the front of the bolt is constantly  rubbed by soil, it wears flat, and gets very sharp edges.  Now picture, your finger holding it in place then all of a sudden that bolt spins around at an RPM high enough to slice your finger open in a flash.  The usual result is something like

Son of a *#&$^#&^&@#&@*&&^$,

followed by a lot of blood, water to clean the cut, and electrical tape…farmers dont need band aids 😉

The point is, I learned a lot from this old Red Friend, and will miss it.  Well, I suppose I wont really miss it, but I will miss the memories, life lessons learned  and much more that running this rig in the field taught me.

To loosely quote a conversation between my Uncle and I this past week,  I stated that it is just a piece of Iron, which is true, but he replied (in not so many words)

 Its more than that.  Its your heritage, your memories, it’s where you came from, it’s what got you to where you are today, it’s a part of who you are.

Today, Im finding those words to be very true.

To me this picture says it all.  Years ago, when I was a kid, this tractor and cultivator were perfect in every way.  Today, the tractor and soil finisher in the background are the widely considered to be the preferred tools to use.  I’m not saying either is good or bad, just that everything has its time.  And for this old Friend, its time has come on our farm.  So maybe, someday, my kids will look back on the tractor and soil finisher in the background with memories of their own, just as I am doing now.  Maybe, they will have their own stories to tell their kids (and you), as I do.  But one thing is for sure, they too will eventually have to say:

Goodbye Old Friend, and thanks for the Memories

What’s in a name? “The Farm Bill”

Whats in a name?  The answer is everything!  A “Name” includes someones or somethings reputation, personality, perspective, etc etc.  For instance, if you go to purchase a Chevy, Ford or another brand of Truck, you expect to get a quality Truck.  When you visit your local cafe you expect to sit down to a good meal.  When you hear the words “Farm Bill” in the media or elsewhere it would be logical to expect the bill to revolve around Farming, Right?  Wrong.  Let me explain:

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As you can see in this chart, the “Farm Bill” mainly consists of government funding for Food stamps.  80% of it to be exact, which translates to 82 billion (with a B) dollars!

So if 80% of the “Farm Bill” doesn’t go to “Farm” purposes then the other 20% must right?  Wrong again.

Of the 20% of the “Farm Bill” funding left after Food Stamp funding is removed, another 6% is taken out for Conservation purposes.

So we started with a “Farm Bill”, removed 80% of it to cover non farm costs, in the form of food stamps, then removed another 6% for Conservation.  This leaves a mere 14% of the initial “Farm Bill” to actually be put to use on Americas Farms to increase our nations food security.

Where do the truth in advertising laws kick in here?  If you bought that Truck from above, and 86% of it turned out to be a Car you may not be too satisfied.  If you went to that cafe and realized 86% of it was a bar, you may be disappointed.   So why is the “Farm Bill” still named the Farm Bill?  Well, its simple, it always has been and probably always will be, even if its incorrect. 

If you had the chance to rename the “Farm Bill” what would it be?
      (Leave your comment below)

Thank you for reading, and God Bless!

Wordless Wednesday on the Farm

June 13, 2012 1 comment

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At first read its funny but there is a lot of truth in this sign.  While many people want to move to the country to get away from it all, few realize there are some unforeseen things that come along with living in the country.  However, there is no better place to live! 
God Bless you all.

Friday Farm Flicks

April 20, 2012 2 comments

Any of you who know me well, knows that I have 3 main things in life which I love.  First and foremost, my Family, then Farming and Photography.  It may be reasonable to say my family is tired of me taking pictures of them, and I have also been accused of taking pictures of everything (Which I will admit to being at least a little guilty of).  Anyhow, I’ve decided to put those 3 loves of mine together in a (hopefully) weekly update to my blog called Friday Farm Flicks.   The pics I post will be mainly related to the farm, nature or other outdoors type things we have done either as a family, or on my own, throughout the week.  For the most part, each picture will have a brief explanation under it explaining what is going on in it and may even include a why as well.   From time to time I also may include some other pics I’ve found interesting which are taken by others, but proper credit will be given to them.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I will. Thank you!

Todays posted pics come from the last few weeks that lead up to and through the planting season.  Enjoy!

A great morning sunrise over our farm before the 2012 Planting Season Begins

Prepping the planter for planting the 2012 Field Corn Crop

Updating the Planter Monitors Software (via Laptop and USB Drive) with information which will allow us to plant more seeds per acre on higher potential yielding acres and less on lower potential yielding acres of Corn

Patiently Waiting for Warmer Weather before Plant '12 can start

One of two kittens given to us my a neighbor. We are bottle feeding them because they lost their mother at 2 weeks old

Our very Curiuos Pug, Copper, keepin a watchfull eye on the kittens, Cubbie and Sox

Seed orders sorted, stacked and ready to go. The Black Boxes contain enough soybean seed to be planted over 50 acres and are 100% reusable, therefore reducing the impact of paper packaging on the environment.

Leveling off the Chisel Plowed Ground to get it ready for planting. It's not normally this dusty, but things are really dry this year

Starting out planting in our first field for 2012. If all the planter (yellow) boxes were full (except for the large ones in the middle which we use for soybeans) we could plant over 50 acres on one fill of Seed Corn. If we were to fill the big boxes as well we could go another 230 acres (or 270 ac/fill) between fills.

Wrapping up planting in our last field of Field Corn for 2012 with my little helper. (hiding in the cab)

After completing Corn Planting for 2012, Dad is vaccuming out the planter so we can switch to planting our 1/2 acre of Sweet Corn.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out our pics.  Check back in the fridays to come for more!  Thank you and God Bless!

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