Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dusty Haze

"It's another day in the dusty haze." The words of Jason Aldean's country song, "Amarillo Sky," float through my head as I take my morning walk. The dry fields obscure the fertilizer applicator rig as it races across our fields.

Randy is having the Kanza Co-op apply fertilizer to get the ground ready to plant the 2013 wheat crop in September. You have to appreciate the optimism of a farmer. Even while we are swathing and baling the failed milo crop, he's getting the ground ready to go for the next crop.

He just takes the tractor another round
And pulls the plow across the ground
And sends up another prayer
He says: Lord, I never complain, I never ask why
But please don't let my dream run dry
Underneath, Underneath this Amarillo sky. 

I mentally substitute "Stafford" for "Amarillo" even though it messes up the song-writing syllables. And I trudge on, keeping my eye on the spray rig and trying to stay out of the way of the cloud of dust. 
Earlier this summer, Randy gathered soil samples and had the co-op send them to a lab to be tested. When the soil tests come back, it gives a "recipe" for giving the soil its best nutrients for growth. The co-op is applying nitrogen now. When we plant next month, Randy will also use a starter fertilizer, a liquid fertilizer that gets squirted in the row with the wheat kernel. This extra burst of energy will help the wheat seed get started.

But he can't apply enough nitrogen through the planter, so he hired the co-op to apply some this week. Many times, he and Jake apply anhydrous fertilizer themselves. But because the ground is so hard and dry, he thought it would break off the applicator knives. This was Plan B.

In this field, the applicator driver was traveling back and forth for the whole mile, stopping only to get his rig refilled. I actually had a brief traffic jam on my normally wide open road as the applicator truck backed up to the tender truck for a refill.
In some fields, the soil tests also called for additions of zinc and potassium. Where needed, those nutrients are also added to the mix. Randy also had lime spread on some of our ground that needed it. (Click on the lime link to see photos and an explanation of that process.)
The fertilizer is augered from the tender truck into the spray rig and off it goes for another pass.
For many reasons, Randy is praying that the weather forecast for rain this weekend comes true. Of course, most of the nation desperately needs it. But it will also work that fertilizer down into the ground, helping build the soil nutrition for next year's crop.

As Jason Aldean says, "We'll send up another prayer."

This is the prettiest picture in the post, don't you think? May it come true!


  1. Kim, we're in Leavenworth County, and believe me, it's all dust and haze up here, too. Let's pray that weather map comes true by Saturday!

    1. Praying we ALL get some rain! This looks more promising than it has for months, so let's pray it holds together!

  2. thanks for sharing.