It's raining outside so I am catching up in the office today, which includes writing this post. I have pushed this off for too long.
We ridge plant all of our crops, which means that we do no tillage in the spring. We do have other tasks to keep us busy though. First we apply dry fertilizer to the fields. We only apply what each field needs, based on soil fertility test done last fall by our agronomist. When we apply the fertilizer rate to an entire field I use a machine that looks much like a lawn fertilizer spreader. The nutrients we mostly apply with dry fertilizer is phosphorus, potassium, sulfur and zinc. Most of our nitrogen fertilizer is applied as a liquid, and most of that is put on during the growing season.
Many of our fields have been grid sampled, where our agronomist takes separate soil samples from small squares inside of the entire field. They may end up with 30-40 different soil fertility tests per field. Then they prescribe different amounts of fertilizer to each area. On these fields I hire our local coop to apply the dry fertilizer since they have the machine that can vary the dry fertilizer rates as they drive across the field. This saves money, fertilizer and improves yields; a win, win, win.
We use a Trimble guidance computer on all our tractors. This is a screenshot of me spraying a field. It keeps the tractor and sprayer on the right path and eliminates overlap. It also controls how much spray is going on the field. If I speed up or slow down it resets the valves so I put on exactly what I want, in this case, 15 gallons per acre (upper center of screen). It also turns the spray boom on and off on the ends, and if the field has a diagonal end it turns them on and off in sequence to avoid any more overlap than necessary.
That's it for today. When I start planting I'll write about that.