Category Archives: Blogs

Spraying, harrowing, sweet talking sales folks and staying ahead of the drill

Days are blending together. I was finally going straight back and forth in the harrows last night so was able to update AgExpert FM Pro with my spray records of the past few days. Broke the 1100 acres sprayed, oh, plus the 190 with the sweet New Holland 275 Front amount Boom sprayer from FarmWorld in Humboldt. Great unit but we’re very happy with our Deere sprayer. He will give us a quote to think about. With exchange, the settled landed price in   Canada for a 2015 sprayer like this new 2014 is about $100k difference. Absolutely nuts which explains in part the slow down in new equipment sales.

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Home Quarter Seeding and unexpected Weather

Today was a perfect example of how the weather can change very quickly. I was up at 4:30 this morning with not a cloud in the sky and the sun shining beautifully. I was excited to be working on our home quarter, land that was broke by our ancestors well over a century ago. I find it the most enjoyable for a number of reasons, like usually finding an old bridal ring from years gone by hooked to a seeding shank, but mainly because the boys can be there to help and come for quick visits and it’s easy for Marie getting meals and extra coffees to us. Here is Logan delivering my coffee and some breakfast but did not go home until he road beside to make sure everything was working properly and checked the seeding depth. He’s crazy about seeding, so will likely be looking to take over my job soon enough.
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We are seeding canary seed today. Got loaded up and set by 7:30 and then Lane headed to get sprayer ready so he could spray the field we will be moving to tomorrow, Moores Home (a farm we bought 4 years ago and the name sticks). He radioed me and said he was hoping to get his tank sprayed before it rained. I was behind the bush by our yard and not really looking to the sky rather making sure everything was working as it should. When I came out from behind the bush I could see what he was talking about. Within 1/2 hour it was spitting on the window and for a while came down pretty good. ‎Fortunately it was not enough to stop me but made a mess of my windows and the fertilizer I was trying to‎ auger. Lane got 1 tank on in not so ideal conditions so fingers crossed it will work.
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Working this home land seemed somewhat more special this year. Our Uncle Kenny (dad’s brother) has recently retired and has been helping us out and it is so great having him around. He has so much life experience with fixing things and ideas that he is very valuable to have around. Makes me think a lot about what it would be like if Dad was still alive. The part that makes it special this year is Uncle Kenny asked if he could get a bucket of black dirt loaded on his truck the other day. I said sure and of course asked why, thinking it was for his garden. He said that Dad’s and his Mom’s Graves have sunk a lot and he wants to fill them up and plant some grass. It warms my heart (and brings a tear to my eye) when I think that the dirt I’m working is now, in a small part, with Dad and his Mom in their final resting spots. Thanks very much to Uncle Kenny for doing that and being more than just someone helping us out.   

Miss you Dad, this fields for you, (sorry it’s the itchy canaryseed!)‎

Back to Seeding and Start Spraying

Got started seeding again today. It has been just over a week since we finished the peas. Today is Soft white wheat used for ethanol primarily. Seeding up by Englefeld on one of Harold’s fields. Me and a young Moose just minding our own business. As you can see i did have neighbors this morning, nice to have someone to watch even if they are little different shade of red. They were done their qtr in no time and pulled out leaving me with the moose. IMG_20150512_082106

Noticed this huge whirlwind as well this morning, something I remember as a child but don’t see them any more with all the direct seeding and no dust to blow. It didn’t last long but it was big for awhile. IMG_20150512_101816

Lane has started spraying so things really kick into high gear for him, not that’s he’s been bored but now juggles harrowing, spraying, rock picking and keeping the seed and fertilizer to me. What we thought was going to be an early spring is turning out to be the new normal, which is mid may. We are slightly ahead of last year but not by much. Time to kick it into high gear!!!

Peas germinating and -2 overnight

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A quick coffee with the landlords as we inspected the peas this morning. We hit -2 and north of here was -5!  The peas are Colin along nicely with close to an inch tail on some of them. Will watch them closely over the next couple days to spray them right before they pop out of the ground.

Always neat to watch the first seeds of the year grow.

Pea Rolling

Yesterday was getting back into the field for us. I left early in the morning to pick up a land roller to roll the peas (pushing all the small rocks in to the ground and leveling the field, our combine headers appreciate this task). The night before I asked Landon if he would roll for me while I picked the larger rocks on the field. He was up at 5am and in our room wondering if it was time to go. I remember doing exactly the same thing when I was his age when my dad told me that the next day I would cultivate behind him spraying avadex on our fields, oh how history repeats itself. The only difference is I was in a 100hp tractor (with A/C) and steering a 20ft cultivator down the field, while Landon was in a 200hp Front wheel assist with auto-steer pulling a 45ft roller. He was on a 1 mile long field and he said it got a little boring on those long runs but he was so proud of himself when he finished the whole 160 acres. I have to admit, I was pretty proud too, he handled it like a pro. Struggled a little at first getting lined up after turning but by the end had it figured out.

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I picked rocks on both quarters while he rolled(taking extra care because I had extra time with Landon running the roller now instead of me doing both fields) and then stayed on the field and watched him finish up. He was sure to radio me when he saw a rock I missed so that I could head over and pick it up. He had a long face when I told him he couldn’t roll the 2nd field, but it is littered with power poles and SaskTel pedestals, so just too many hazards.

We used our CIH 7140 on the roller, which is our general do it all tractor, but was the first to have auto-steer in it back when we used it for spraying. We still have the same auto-steer system (Ag Leader Easy Steer) and it works great after nearly a decade. I still remember the first time we let go of the steering wheel and couldn’t believe it was going to keep our tractor going straight down the field. Now it is just a given that you hit resume and away it goes. Landon, Logan, Gabby and Liam won’t know any different and I wonder what technology they will have when they are running the units in the future. I got a text from my Uncle Doug yesterday and it was of his auto-steer that he just installed on his seeding tractor. He experienced that same feeling yesterday and I am sure he was equally as amazed as we were the first time we used it. I am very glad he decided to go with it as I am sure he will enjoy it and make his seeding that much less stressful.IMG_20150509_155803

Happy Mother’s Day to all those mothers reading today, hope you get to spend sometime with your kids today, or at least talk with them. Nothing more special than our bond with our incredible mother. Love you Mom!

Crash Test Dum… Err no, Test Pilot – Vertical Tillage

Over the past week, well actually 9 months we’ve been testing and demoing a variety of high speed vertical tillage tools to determine first if we need one of these $100,000 + tools and secondly if the answer is yes, which one. I’m currently testing the King Kong as Lance has dubbed it (Kongskilde 9100). JayDee AgTech brought this unit out last Tuesday tethered to a 9560R 4wd powerhouse. These units require higher horsepower to pull them properly to do their job. So this massive 9560R ( that’s 560 horsepower with the R standing for rubber tires vs T which would be tracks) with 800 metric rubber, full auto shift with cruise control, full pivoting swivelling seat and console and ….. Oh wait, back to the real demo.

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These units are about trash management, getting through the straw, levelling the ground, helping it dry and preparing the seed bed. The Kongskilde demo was accompanied by 2 manufacturer employees and 2 JDAT employees to get it set right to meet our needs. That was hugely beneficial to fine tune it. I’m thrashing through heavy oats straw currently (barley straw last week in moist conditions) and it’s doing a great job of turning the soil, and managing straw piles and bunches. At 7-9 mph it trails nicely avoiding strips. It’s a heavy unit, as they all are. When you hit wet soggy low spots where the tractor starts to spin, it’s debatable if you are better to leave the unit in the ground or lift it onto the 8 oversized tires that want to sink as well under the weight of the unit. With the ability to adjust the offset of the gangs of discs it seems quite versatile. Overall very impressed with it. Do we need one? The verdict is still out.

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I’ll move over this afternoon to a very simple Kelly Harrow. Seeing it winged up makes it appear much more complex than it really is. Cleaning up what was a disastrous pea crop and cattail sloughs was its most impressive feat. As was leaving it all level and smooth.

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Last fall we demo’d the Kelly after a Lemken which honestly is my least favourite ( the Lemken that is) The most complex with the most parts of the lot, it arrived brand new with no instruction. After the experience of the fine tuning on the Kongskilde I’m sure the same holds for the Lemken. The Lemken floated more behind the tractor causing strips and was prone to plugging up gangs on wet or heavier straw requiring lifting up and over and circling back to try and level them off.

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So again we ask ourselves, do we need one. And if we did, the toss up would be the Kelly or the King Kong. It’s a pricey tool to sit and be used from time to time.

A huge thanks to Tyler and Bentley at JayDee AgTech as well as Bill and Chris from Kongskilde for their time and attention last week.image

Peas are Planted

May 4, 2015 was the start to #plant15 (for you twitter bugs) on LDS Farms this year. Our family had a bet on when we would start, I had picked May 3 and Logan my youngest son took the 4th. Well May 3 we filled up the drill and headed to the field late in the afternoon to “just get a start” and get it all set for the next day, only to drive into a rain 4 miles north of our yard where we were going seeding.

It wasn’t a big rain just too wet to do anything in the field that day. So I guess someone had it in mind that we needed to go to Fuddruckers and Ruckers in Saskatoon after seeding, see that was Logan’s prize for being the winner of the bet. Seeding the first field went very smooth with no real water problems and seeding into good moisture. The biggest trouble we had was getting the semi close enough to fill. The fields are still very soft for big trucks so had to stay close to the approach to the field. I went till 10:30 that night so that I could fill up in the morning and move to another field with Lane’s help. I finished the peas around noon.

As I was seeding those fields I was remembering past years that we seeded them. It is funny, as this year when it is still pretty wet in a lot of areas and some of our fields, these two were dry and seeded perfectly. I remember not that long ago when the first field I started on this year was the last field because when Lane got there with the sprayer he was spinning all the time. It was extremely wet and it wasn’t at the start of our seeding that year either. Strange, but I enjoyed the 1 mile long field with no turning for sloughs this year.

Cleaned out the peas and headed for home. We now had the daunting task of changing all the openers on the drill. They are the points that open the ground and gently place the seed in the furrow. The openers we had on had seeded over 23,000 acres so it was time. With the help of Josh (our after school and weekend helper) we did it in about 3 hours while thunder rolled in the distance, or maybe that was Lane in his new toy that he was playing with, but I will let him tell you about that.  We now have the drill ready for wheat which will be the next crop we go to, but with a 1/3 of an inch of rain, we have a rain delay so Lane and I are headed to town to take our mother out for breakfast, you see it is her birthday and rarely do we get this opportunity.  Gotta run…IMG_20150504_184806 IMG_20150505_174409 IMG_20150505_174415

Go time delayed with hail and rain

Being on the cusp of seeding, we needed to keep ourselves busy which honestly, that’s not that difficult. We took the rock rake (a tool that rakes all the rocks into a convenient row for the rock picker to pick up), the rock picker and the cultivator to Picklers quarter to clean up a line fence we demolitioned last year. It’s always great to get projects like that done before we start seeding as once we’re in that mode, these odd jobs are hard to tackle. And the good news is we can now seed that area now. I was bugging Lance that he loves to pull superbee grain trailers so this was him with 2 units behind the John Deere 6140 hauling everything home.

I heavy harrowed 40 acres before the rain and hail started, which coincidently started just as Lance was reaching the field with the drill to start seeding field peas. Disappointing but we didn’t end up with much rain so we’re ready to start mid-day tomorrow hopefully. Walking to the road for Lance to pick me up after the rain, this miraculous sight in the sky sucked most of my IPhone battery. Tonight I spent the evening trenching water by hand on Picklers enjoying the peace and quiet before the storm (which is to say seeding).

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Almost there!

After a wet weekend, we couldn’t have ordered a nicer week this week weather-wise.  Temps in the mid 20’s and brisk SW winds worked to dry the ground very well this week. However a trek across the field at home to take some debris to the rock pile proved that we still need some drying to occur, but it will come.

Today off to gather some seed that was purchased from fellow farmers.  But in true accountant like style I am doing it as a back haul while taking a load of oats in that we grew last year to our local elevator – gotta make every trip count.  Our decision to grow 8 different crop/varieties has got me questioning it now.  It is going to mean a lot of clean outs this spring and a lot more juggling of supplies to the field.  Our cropping strategy though is to try and find a crop that not many others will grow and therefor might be more valuable and in higher demand.  We are still growing the traditional hard red wheat, 2 row malt barley, peas and canola but this year we have added soft white wheat (used for ethanol and some milling), 6 row barley (used for a Japanese tea market), some non GMO canola (I know I said it but their is a premium to grow it so we thought we try a bit) and of course,  good old itchy canary seed (it’s for the birds).

Our hope is to start doing some field prepping this week end, maybe harrow a field we are growing peas on and pick some rocks/stumps from a couple line fences we cleared over the last couple years.  With any luck we will be starting to seed sometime early to next week.  Our family has a bet on when we will start.  My guess is May 3, but Logan’s is not far behind at May 4.  Landon took the gamble and said it was going to be wet for a while and took the 15th.  I sure hope he is wrong, but with the weather and mother nature, you just never know!

Rainy Weekend

This week ended up being a pretty nice week weatherwise. I kept putting things closer to the shop so that they would be accessible to the shop without getting muddy if the rain came, but it didn’t, until Saturday morning. As luck would have it Lane and family headed to the farm to help prep equipment and get ready for spring. Rain started around 11 and did not let up until we got nearly an inch. It could have been a lot worse. Not far north lots of pictures of people with inches of wet heavy snow.

This gave us some time to get the sprayer ready, as it was in the shop and generally just have some discussions about our plan for #plant15 (twitter hastag).  The rain meant we now have water again in our shop, as we have a tank set up that collects rainwater and so we got the pressure system primed up and the hot water heater going so we can now come in for dinner with clean (warm) hands. The pump was a bit stiff so needed some TLC to get it running again. I guess we shouldn’t leave it unused for 7 months.

We are getting closer to having everything ready. Most of the equipment is now ready and the liquid fertilizer has all been stirred up to get the crystals out of it that form with long term storage. Pumps on tanks

We had a casualty this week, it was one of the pumps decided to fail. It was a Briggs & Stratton engine that neither of us liked ever since we bought it and as we suspected it didn’t last that long.

Another project that big boys do on rainy days is add “bling” to their trucks. Before Lane left for Regina we installed a new LED light bar on the semi. This will be very useful during those late night harvest runs and early morning hauls in the winter. Looking forward to trying it out.

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The forecast looks great for the week. With any luck hopefully be putting some seeds in the ground by next weekend with #plant15 underway.