Sunday, October 14, 2018

The big washout

The winter wheat was put to bed on September 27.  Within a few days, we were getting regular, large rain events.  Roughly, there were 2" on 30th, 2" on the 1st, and 2" on the 6th.  I lost track after that.  By October 14th I was able to walk to field and see what had happened.

The worst washout went right through the Red May.  This is actually high ground, and fairly flat.  But it was just a ton of rain.

I think this is the Krymka and Goldcoin.

The high spots look pretty good.
This is the oats and peas with red clover at the North end of the field.
Below are some glam shots from October 9th.  Thankfully, a lot of wheat survived. Wish I had a packer, I think that would have saved more of the planting in the low spots.

This is all Vavilov.  It was too wet to walk out and see the WN2.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Newman Field Winter Wheat planting

After waiting the entire summer for good planting conditions, a single day in late September finally presented itself.  The high areas of the field on Newman Road were in very good condition and worked up very nicely.  I only needed 2 acres so I could pick and choose.

The Vavilov plot measures 354.5' x 45.5' and is on the West side.  I drilled in 46 lb 2.8 oz, or about .77 bushels.  It worked out to 2 bushels per acre, which is right on target.

Immediately to the East I put in the Wisconsin No. 2.  This measured 354.5' x 88.5' and it used up 107 lbs of seed, or 1.8 bushels.  It worked out to 2.4 bushels/acre.  I don't know why it ended up so much more per acre than the VTR.  There is no good explanation for the discrepancy, since all the settings were the same.  

I put this year's winter test plot out in the Newman field, since it was the only good soil I had available.  It's in a ten-foot wide strip to the East of the WN2.  I decided to continue growing out the Krymka, Goldcoin, and Red May.  At the South end of this strip I put in single strips of all my Turkey Red strains, so I can see them growing together.  From North to South (photo is facing North), they are:
  • Stephens Turkey Red
  • Ehmke Turkey Red
  • Vavilov Turkey Red
  • Wisconsin No 2
  • Nebraska No 6
  • Montana No 36
To protect the test plot I filled up the hopper with ordinary Ehmke Turkey Red and planted a protective strip around everything.

In the background is the Marquis field from this Spring, which has been planted to oats and peas plus red clover. This was all planted way too late to be much benefit, but there was no possibility of planting it sooner due to the rain.  Basically, I spent the entire summer waiting for the field to be dry enough to work up and plant.  Many fields in our area were not planted this year due to the excessive rain.

I went over the field carefully with the spike tooth harrow to work in the seed and increase soil contact.  I kept it pretty light so as not to contaminate the plantings.

The next day I realized that I really want to see that Early Noe again.  So at the Northeast corner of the entire plot I drilled in about a tiny test planting.  This photo is facing South.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Nebraska No. 6

I threshed out the Nebraska No. 6 wheat from the test plot today.  This is another selection of Turkey Red, created in Nebraska during the early 20th Century.  I did not see anything too interesting and will not be growing it out.

Nice berries.  I got a yield of 206 grams.

Montana No 36

I threshed out the Montana #36 today.  This is a strain of Turkey Red developed for Montana, presumably by the University there.  I grew it out to compare to my other strains of Turkey.  It was not too interesting and I will not be growing it out.  However, I did put a small row in the Newman Rd test plot next to every Turkey that I have.

Nice looking berries, some good plump ones with nice color.  Not as nice as WN2, but nice. Yield was 325 grams, which is good for seed from the archive.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Haynes Bluestem Harvest

The Haynes Bluestem was a real pleasure.  It's the first wheat I harvested this year that was standing up 100%!  Very interesting stalks.  They are arrow-straight and a foot shorter than the winter wheat or even the Red Fifes in the test plot.  The heads, culms, and straw just make a really neat package.  The harvest overall looks a bit "thin" but I'm very impressed with how the berries look and taste.  I also measured the plot and will do a yield calculation after threshing.  Anyhow, I really want to continue growing it out now!

The blue color is long gone by now, but the overall impression is still very distinct.  It's the strongest stalk I've ever worked with, and the heads are heavy and compact.  This is the third year of growing it out.  It should be further along, except that last year the birds really hit it hard.  This year the entire test plot was well covered with hooped bird netting.  What a pleasure to harvest undamaged wheat!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Java Wheat Harvest

The entire test plot harvest has gone quickly without much drama.  Everything is being harvested in the old style, meaning I need to wait a couple weeks before threshing.  This means I have labeled sheaves of wheat stuffed everywhere this week!  I hope to get it threshed soon and have my storage space back.

The Java was productive and healthy.  Unlike the Haynes, it lodged a bit.  The stalk is not as strong as Haynes.  In fact, it feels weak and thin.  The heads are healthy and the berries look and taste great.  I will definitely continue to grow it out.

These are the sheaves from the Winter wheat germination test.  Although it's a pain, I plan on threshing them down and doing a side-by-side comparison of the berries.  It will be very educational.  

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Goldcoin Wheat

I have been harvesting in the test plot off and on for a week or so, as conditions permit.  Today I threshed the Goldcoin.  This is a striking wheat.  The lower straw is thick, strong, and yellow.  The culms are light purple, even after drying down.  The heads are large and awnless.  It's a white wheat, which I have not worked with before.  I definitely want to continue growing it out.

I measured the longest stalks at 5.5'!

The net was 350 grams, which is quite good I think.  The starting seed was 5 grams, planted last September.  It measured 15% humidity, meaning I should have waited a little longer before threshing.  However, I'm short on storage and will probably do more threshing this week.  This will be planted in two months so it's not absolutely necessary to get the moisture down low.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Spring Street

The Spring Street field did not go down the way I expected.  I had planned on combining the two small seed plots (Vavilov and WN2), but as things ripened it became clear that the two Turkeys from the USDA seed bank were maturing slower than the Ehmke.  There was no way to harvest the two small plots first.

So I decided to cut all the Vavilov and WN2 by hand while Ron combined the two acres around these plots.  The hand cutting turned out to be much harder than I thought it would be.  About 30% of the wheat was down, hard, and the remaining wheat was not standing well.  This meant that most of it had to be cut with the sickle.  I had friends come and help, but I still think there was 12-14 hour of difficult work to clear out just 1/10 acre of wheat.  Aaargh.

Julie came out twice and really helped the project.  It didn't help that I still had a regular class schedule at the Y, and other obligations this week.  Tough week!

The last two shocks, which I finally got out of the field more than a week after starting the harvest.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Hay days

I have been cutting and stacking as much hay as I can on the farm.  This is the first year that I am building unprotected outdoor haystacks.  I'm very curious to find out how the hay quality holds up this winter.

I also put up around 110 small square bales in the hayloft.  These are last year's (and older) bales that a friend was wanting to clear out.  Looks like nice stuff.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Begin Test Plot Harvest

I harvested and shocked the Vavilov Turkey Red, Ehmke Turkey Red, and Red Clawson from the test plot today.  The wheat is not quite ripe but I needed to move the bird netting slightly to protect the Java spring wheat at the South end of the plot.  So I peeled off the three plots of winter wheat at the north end, so that the net could be pulled down to cover the Java.  I noticed yesterday that the birds had already started to attack the Java.

These three are not real critical to me.  The Vavilov and Ehmke are just there as controls, and Red Clawson I will probably not grow out.  It's a cross from the late 19th Century, and my focus is on wheat that was not artificially crossed.

That said, the Red Clawson is beautiful!  The red and purple stems are quite stunning.  Maybe I will grow it out another season.

Left to right, Vavilov Turkey Red, Ehmke Turkey Red, Red Clawson

Red Clawson up close

View of the test plot from the North end.  In the center closest to the camera is the Krymka.