This Week in Ag… 5/4/15

burning brush

Cleaning up brush is a popular spring activity on the farm. Fence rows or ditches may need to be cleaned out after a rough winter. Checking weather.gov for any wind advisories and notifying your local fire department of a controlled burn are both good things to do.
A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT DANGEROUS FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED DUE TO THE COMBINATION OF GUSTY WINDS…LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITIES…AND DRY FUELS. ANY FIRES THAT DEVELOP MAY QUICKLY GET OUT OF CONTROL AND BECOME DIFFICULT TO CONTAIN.

spreading urea

An important step in #plant15 is fertilization. Having adequate nutrients available to the seed from the start helps them to get off to a good start and reduces stress to the plant. The 4R’s are important to farmers and fertilizer dealers, but should also be important to non-farmers alike.

rocks

Picking up rocks is a chore that no one wants to do. However, leaving those rocks in the field could cause bigger problems in a hurry! If a planter was to hit a rock, it could bend or break a planting wheel. These wheels are what make the trench for the seed to fall into. If that trench is not made correctly the seed may not fall in correctly and could lead to unnecessary stress on the plant. This could lead to stunted or no growth at all.

baby woodcocks  AmericanWoodcock-Vyn_080407_0014

Cover crops are used for more than soil health.  An American Woodcock made a nest for her babies in a local field of cereal rye.  Why a cover crop field?  Well that long beak is perfect for pulling up earthworms and earthworms love #healthysoil.  Hear what they sound like here.

spraying cover crops

Ride along in the sprayer with one of our local farmers.  He is terminating his cereal rye cover crops.

treated soybeans

No, these soybeans don’t come out of the field red.  These beans have been treated.  There are many different types of seed treatments available to farmers.  Some of these prevent pests from eating the seed before it germinates and some help prevent fungus from growing on the seed.  The United Soybean Board does a good job talking about seed treatments here.  #1 sounds like many local fields!

tender truck

The seed tender truck delivered these seeds in bulk to a local farmer.  By taking them right from a seed bin to be treated then to a farmer, they are saving on packaging.  Upon delivery they will be unloaded from the truck to the seed tender and then from the seed tender into the planter.  Saving packaging and backs!

tiling pic

Tiling in the Great Black Swamp is very important.  Being able to quickly remove excess water from the soil is important during the growing season.

agridrain

drainage box     drainage2

Photo credit: Defiance SWCD                                    Photo credit: Hardin SWCD

Controlled drainage structures can also be added once a field is tiled.  This top picture shows how the controlled drainage works.  The next 2 pictures are installed structures.

mycorrhizae

Myco-what?  Mycorrhizae are literally “fungus roots” and they typically are a beneficial relationship between the fungus and the plants.  Young plants need to divide their energy between growing above ground and growing below ground.  If the roots are ‘infected’ with a mycorrhizal fungus, the fungus can actually gather water and minerals from the soil and provide them to the plant.  In exchange, the plant provides carbohydrates to the fungus growing on its roots.  Mycorrhizae are especially important in getting phosphorous into plant roots, which keeps that phosphorous out of the tile water and out of Lake Erie.  Some species of root fungus can also help “fix” nitrogen, reducing the need for chemical fertilizer or manure applications.  These fungi are a sign that this soil is healthy and productive!

morning plantingevening planting

When it’s go time you have to be ready!  These farmers were planting early in the morning until late at night trying to get the crop in the ground.  Some farmers start early in the morning and some start after they leave their 9-5 job.  Thankfully, tractors have headlights.  Now if only they could control the rain.

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