Monday, February 21, 2011

A Fairytale Ending?

The little dollops of blue in the wheat field looked like Hansel and Gretel had dropped bits of cotton candy to mark their way to grandmother's house.

Just like the fairytale brother and sister's dropping of breadcrumbs, the Kanza Co-op was marking the path. It wasn't the way to Grandma's house, but it was to show where they been and guide them to where they were going next. On Friday, crews sprayed a combination of liquid nitrogen fertilizer and Finesse herbicide on some of our wheat fields. (By the way, the blue droplets aren't the fertilizer and herbicide. It's a biodegradable marker to help the rig driver know where to make the next pass through the field.)

There were two different spraying rigs in our fields on Friday. One was marking the way with a blue "trail" and the other used white. A "nurse" truck came to the field to replenish the rigs.

This saves time and fuel, since the spray rigs can replenish their supply of the fertilizer without having to drive back to the Zenith base of the co-op to refill.

Just like Hansel and Gretel, Randy is hoping for a happy ending. If we get a little of the rain forecast for later in the week, the rain will incorporate the mixture into the soil. That would be good timing.

On February 11, the wheat field across the road was covered with between 8 and 9 inches of snow. The snow helped insulate the crop from the sub-zero temperatures.

With the quick turnaround of temperatures, the melting snow produced about an inch of moisture for the wheat crop.

There was great debate at the end of the week: Had the 95-degree temperature swing harmed the wheat crop?

If the wheat crop breaks dormancy (wakes up, in layman's terms) and then we get a hard freeze, there's a chance for freeze damage. That would drop yields for the summer of 2011 harvest.

Just like in a fairytale, there are a lot of pages between "Once upon a time" and "They lived happily ever after."

The plot thickens. We'll just have to stay tuned to see how the story turns out.

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