Thursday, October 3, 2019

Bob Dole's Chauffeur

I was Bob Dole's chauffeur on Tuesday.

Before anyone thinks I've suddenly begun Ubering former presidential candidates in my spare time, I should probably confess that the Bob Dole I was carting around was actually 50 bags of Bob Dole seed wheat.
I made a couple of trips to Miller Seed Farm on Tuesday. Bob Dole was my first passenger. On the second trip, I picked up 50 bags of Zenda seed wheat.
Randy started planting wheat on September 25.
There are four zones of ideal planting in Kansas. Romulo Lollato, K-State Extension wheat specialist, has done research and concluded that sowing date plays a major role in crop yields. Planting after recommended dates can mean a whopping decrease in yields of up to 3.5 bushels an acre per day.
  • Zone 1: Sept. 10-30
  • Zone 2: Sept. 15 to Oct. 20
  • Zone 3: Sept. 25 to Oct. 20
  • Zone 4: Oct. 5-25
Since we live in Zone 3, our start date falls within the recommendation.
Randy saved two varieties of wheat during our 2019 harvest - Larry and Zenda - and that is the wheat we started drilling this fall.  We binned some of the wheat as we were harvesting this summer in our on-farm storage. Later, we took the retained wheat to Miller Seed Farm for cleaning and seed treatment.
It went back in our home bins until we were ready to plant. It is augered out of the truck into the drill boxes. The wheat we save at harvest can only be used by our farm.
This year, we are planting 1,575 acres to wheat which will be harvested in 2020 (if all goes as planned).

This is the first time we've "invited" Bob Dole to our farm. It's a new wheat variety developed by Kansas State University and released in a public-private partnership between Syngenta and Kansas wheat farmers through the Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Wheat Alliance. The hard red winter wheat variety, which is distributed by Agri-Pro, was first introduced in Kansas during the 2018 season.

We always plant seed wheat in fields closer to the on-farm storage bins. Before Randy puts the bagged seed wheat in the drill, he cleans out the other seed. He starts baling it out with an old coffee can and ends up using a shop vacuum to get the rest.
While Randy planted the Bob Dole wheat, I went back to Miller Seed Farm for our other seed wheat variety - Zenda. It was released in 2017 by the Kansas Wheat Alliance.
 New varieties of wheat are developed in efforts to resist disease and improve yields.
About the time Randy got done loading the Zenda into the drill, it began raining.We've gotten about 0.60" in the past couple of days, so wheat planting is shut down for the time being.
The newly-emerging wheat that was put in the ground a week ago is loving this moisture.


  1. Always love your descriptions of a new activity on the farm. Best wishes for a successful yield.

    1. As I told someone on Facebook, there's plenty of time to think about descriptions when you're driving back and forth to the seed farm!