Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Newman Rd Spring Wheat planting

April 9 turned out to be planting day for spring wheat on the Newman Rd field.  I only planted Marquis as market wheat.  The other plantings were test plots for growing out seed.  As I've come to expect, waiting for good planting conditions is sketchy.  We had a reasonable drying trend, but then it rained more on Saturday than I had hoped.  Sunday was not very sunny, but then Monday the sun came out.  By Wednesday there was snow and rain in the forecast.  More rain and cold after that, for at least ten days.  Ergo, plant on Tuesday, or wait another two weeks.

Here are the two test plots, at the South end of the winter wheat planting.  In the foreground is Wisconsin Wonder oats (Wisconsin Pedigree No 1), measuring 27.5' x 15'.  To the right and further back is the strip of Haynes Bluestem, now in it's fourth year of growing out.  That plot is 102' x 15', and it has 2013 grams of seed in it (126 lbs/acre).  This was all done with the Earthway.  I could have used the big drill on the 330 to plant the bluestem, but it would require a lot of messing around with the vacuum cleaner and still using the Earthway to fill in at the ends.  I have found that the van brunt drill is not that great when it gets down to the last few seeds--the seeding rate plummets.  So just running the earthway back and forth for 25 minutes is really the best option.

Last year I planted 115 grams of Haynes Bluestem and harvested 2368 grams, almost exactly 20:1.  I hope we can do as well out here--the soil is not quite so good as in my garden.  But 20:1 would yield 80 lbs, which would be pretty nice!  Enough to plant 1/2 acre in 2020.

After planting the Marquis and the small plots for growing out seed, I vacuumed out the wheat seed and filled up the hopper with oats and peas.  I also added some split peas that a supplier was throwing out (all organic btw).  Set the rate to notch 29 and made a few passes on the perimeter of the wheat planting.  I hope to get a summer cover crop in the entire field soon.  But I will have to wait for the wet areas to dry up first.

So the Marquis just went parallel to the winter planting, towards the East.  I basically planted until the slope of the hill got into wetter ground.  This ground was also weedier, because I could not work it well last year.  I stopped at around 95 lbs of seed, which turned out to be 86' of width.  86' x 354.5' = .7 acre.  I was using notch 27, and the planting rate calculates out to 135 lbs/acre.  I would have preferred a little more, around 150/acre.

The Haynes Bluestem, looking west.  The winter wheat is off to the right.

Notch 27 for the Marquis resulted in 135 lbs/acre.

It was 2017 Marquis seed.  I sold every bushed from the 2018 harvest!

I got the tractor stuck after working up the seed bed.  I messed around with some stones and boards, but could not get it to budge.  So I left it for a few hours while I went to plant with the 330.  Later in the day I went back and got it out with the help of a neighbor.  He pulled the drag out of the way with his small utility tractor.  Ultimately, we wrapped a chain around the left tire, attached the chain to a tree, and backed it up until we found solid ground.  What a mess--this is the third time in a year that I've gotten the tractor seriously stuck in this field!

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