WELCOME TO RIVER DAVES PLACE

Midwest Farm Tour 2.0

Tractorsdontfloat

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Well, ladies and gents, the original version was pretty well received. And I have been asked to either continue it, or do a new one for this season, so here is the start of version 2.0. if you haven’t read that thread, feel free to look it up and enjoy. If you have, most of this should make sense.

The intent here is just like the original. To tell my story. I will gladly answer any questions you have. What I do for a living, to me seems very mundane and ordinary, but I understand not everyone understands what it takes to grow food for the world. I am not trying to talk down on anyone or belittle anything, just telling the story. So, if you have any questions, regardless how trivial you think they might be, ask away and I’ll try to answer. And I hope this becomes enjoyable to read and we learn something along the way.

Currently, the snow is almost all gone around here already, thanks to a warm spell and a decent rain. We continue to work in the shop getting equipment ready for spring. Lately, it’s been mostly semi trucks and trailers. Brake work, and general DOT inspection work to keep them on the road. Today we were servicing one of the tractors, and starting to mount the liquid tanks that will haul the fertilizer during the planting process.

This set of tanks is made by Demco, and is their side quest series. They mount on the tractor using an arm that mounts to the frame in front of the cab behind the front wheels, and on a shaft that mounts with a bearing directly onto the rear axle of the tractor.

The initial hub that mounts to the rear axle.
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The plate that attaches to the frame in fron of the cab. And the arm that attaches to that plate. Note the arm reaches up higher to allow clearance for the front dual tires.
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This is the rear shaft with the bearing hub mounted to the initial hub in the first pic.
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The tank hangers on the front of the tank mounted to the front beam.
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A couple shots of the tube that the rear shaft slides into to hang the back of the tank.
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And last, a shot of the left tank hanging on the tractor outside the tires.
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snowhammer

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Looking forward to this year's write up!!
Why hang the tanks on the tractor? Wouldn't it be less tear on the tractor and also more capacity to haul it in a tank wagon?
 

Tractorsdontfloat

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Looking forward to this year's write up!!
Why hang the tanks on the tractor? Wouldn't it be less tear on the tractor and also more capacity to haul it in a tank wagon?
The planters we run are fully mounted on the 3-point hitch. By having the tanks on the tractor, it becomes a fully contained unit. I can fill, turn around and travel between fields faster and cover more acres with this setup in my opinion. That and cost is significantly lower with my setup.
 

Tractorsdontfloat

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With the closures of the schools around the country, I’m sure Agricultural education is one of the last programs to get any sources of learning. That is, other than many people who have never been taught any different are learning that their local grocery store gets its supplies from someone other than their back rooms.

Anyway, I want to let anyone who has kids stuck at home know if you have any Ag related questions, feel free to use this thread to ask away. I will try to help give as factual, meaningful info about farming to give a little education to the masses.
 

Wedgy

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Well Done! I live on the South Plains, in the"Dirt," Levelland Texas. The 100 acre Family Farm is over in Anton, here in Hockley county. Not much Family left here, the land is leased out. When I visited 35 years ago, Uncle Buck had already retired from working the Farm, it was all in grass. I think it was called the Land Bank, back then. Now it's CRP. My Pops joined the Marines right after Pearl Harbor. the youngest of 4, the only Kid not born on the Farm. So I missed out. LOL.

Farmers take on a lot of risk, My Cousin works for a Farm credit Bureau. What you do every year on Faith is put everything on the line. Most people have no clue.
Thanks for being a U.S. Farmer. Keep up the good work.
 

buck35

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TDF , how's this going to affect you're business? As a fresh fruit grower I'm wondering if there will be customers and buyers . I understand you have a completely different deal ,but tied to fuel production as well. Hope all is well ,the cherries are about to bloom here.
 

Tractorsdontfloat

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Corn price has been sub break even for way too long already, but the drop lately has it at a dangerous level. We are being careful with spending, and working with the buyers of the ethanol plants we sell to. Not a lot of good news in our business currently, but hope. Seed is bought, bills are being paid and spring is coming. Always optimistic.
 

charlyox

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TDF, I hope you are doing alright during this pandemic. I see on the news about farmers crops rotting and dairy farmers dumping milk when there is so much need for these products now more than ever. I know a lot of it is because schools and restaurants being shut down but people still need to eat. I really enjoy reading your threads. Stay safe.
 

Tractorsdontfloat

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TDF, I hope you are doing alright during this pandemic. I see on the news about farmers crops rotting and dairy farmers dumping milk when there is so much need for these products now more than ever. I know a lot of it is because schools and restaurants being shut down but people still need to eat. I really enjoy reading your threads. Stay safe.
Thank you. Yes, we are extremely busy getting stuff ready to start planting, but we are staying safe. This food issue is a real struggle, and low gas price and low usage means low ethanol usage, and extremely low corn price, so times are definitely difficult. The American people will persevere. stay safe and healthy.
 

Riverbound

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Those tractors could use some Lucas products let me know if you’re interested in buying it wholesale and delivered to your farm. 👍
 

monkeyswrench

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Hello there, gorgeous ladies. Mine (the one I run) is on the left, my bil runs the one on the right. Planting commences early next week.

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Good luck this week. Hope the mechanical gremlins stay away, and your "social distancing" is productive.

Most people don't realize out this way what it takes to do things. They take for granted the labor and costs before the food or supplies even hit the road to go to market. Heck, each one of those tractors could pay for my house and property a couple times over, and still buy a new pickup.

I hope, through this current debacle, some percentage of Americans will see things differently. Maybe take less for granted. Be it food on their tables, items in stores, maybe just the ability to see family they aren't able to.

The most painful lessons to learn are the ones we tend not to forget for a long time. I think it's true individually, and I think it will be true as a country as well.
 

Tractorsdontfloat

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WOOOHOOOO its almost planting time!

Do you use grain carts to fill the planters in the field?

Thank you for taking us along for the ride!
not specifically a grain cart, as in the one we use at harvest, no.

We get most of our seed in pro boxes that hold bulk seed equal to 50 units, or 80,000 seeds per unit. We have two different seed tenders that we use to deliver seed to the planters. One with a hopper that holds roughly 350 units of seed, and has two separate compartments so often we have two different varieties in it at any time. The other one holds the pro boxes right on the tender, and holds up to 4 at once. Both have conveyors that allow me to fill an entire planter from one location, or can fill a central fill planter in a timely fashion. Both also have scales so we know how much seed we have in the planter to monitor seeding rate as well.

Heres a few pics of them. The black boxes are the pro boxes. They have a gate on the bottom and a sloped bottom to easily empty completely without effort.

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Tractorsdontfloat

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Evening solitude. I enjoy spending all day in a tractor cab, but once it gets dark, it becomes so peaceful and relaxing when it gets dark. If I hadn’t already been in the field since 6 am, I’d stay at it for hours yet. Monitor lights do get tiring to look at though.

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This is those monitors in the daylight

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monkeyswrench

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@Tractorsdontfloat do they make flip up dimmer screens for the monitors? They seem overwhelming, but dimming them on the controls would be a pain. A tinted screen setup would be a quick deal, just hang them on.
Cool technology involved. I have trouble running a brush hog and getting my runs lined up, you're running 30ft wide and lining them up :oops:
 

Tractorsdontfloat

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@Tractorsdontfloat do they make flip up dimmer screens for the monitors? They seem overwhelming, but dimming them on the controls would be a pain. A tinted screen setup would be a quick deal, just hang them on.
Cool technology involved. I have trouble running a brush hog and getting my runs lined up, you're running 30ft wide and lining them up :oops:
I’m sure they do. The screens have settings for day and night. Being new screens, I haven’t taken the few seconds to set the brightness on them down for the night settings. Not like I’ve got anything else to do. The tractor dries itself.

My brother-in-law drives my second planter, and because he can, spent the morning earlier this week setting the programming in his screen. He planted about 130 acres , and with exception for running to the corner of the field to fill with seed and fertilizer, all he had to do was push one button on the screen to tell the tractor which way to turn. He never touched the steering wheel or any other function, The tractor slowed down, raised the planter, turned around, set the planter back down, and sped back up to the set speed. Next thing you know one guy will be running all the planting. All he will have to do is drive the tractor to the next field and fill the seed.
 

monkeyswrench

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I’m sure they do. The screens have settings for day and night. Being new screens, I haven’t taken the few seconds to set the brightness on them down for the night settings. Not like I’ve got anything else to do. The tractor dries itself.

My brother-in-law drives my second planter, and because he can, spent the morning earlier this week setting the programming in his screen. He planted about 130 acres , and with exception for running to the corner of the field to fill with seed and fertilizer, all he had to do was push one button on the screen to tell the tractor which way to turn. He never touched the steering wheel or any other function, The tractor slowed down, raised the planter, turned around, set the planter back down, and sped back up to the set speed. Next thing you know one guy will be running all the planting. All he will have to do is drive the tractor to the next field and fill the seed.
For some reason, the movie or short story, Maximum Overdrive comes to mind. Although I love how precise modern technology is, I can't help but feel we as humans are losing our abilities. A machine can run all night, and put a humans pace to shame, but it has no feeling.

Heck, I jumped in my buddy's new Kenworth last year. The thing doesn't have a clutch pedal. It is an automated manual though. It knows by sensors what gear it should be in. It just doesn't feel the same. I miss my Pops' old twin stick I guess...born to the wrong era.
 

Bowtiepower00

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Great thread(s)... I’m originally from Iowa, and most of my family has farmed at one time or another. My Grandfather sold seed for FunksG (eventually Ciba-Geigy) and I remember going out with him to weigh plots when I was just a kid, 30 years ago, getting to drive a combine. Memories I will never forget. Incredible how far the technology has come. Keep the updates coming.
 

Tractorsdontfloat

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Corn is all in the ground. Finished that up yesterday afternoon and switched my planter over to beans. First evening I’ve seen my house before sunset in a couple weeks. Jr took over for me about 6:30 and is just getting ready to shut down for the night while I rest. I must admit I try to give him very little to worry about by clening up ends and edges so he can just plant, especially as it gets dark, but I trust he would do just fine if I hadn’t.
 

SLT Kota

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Feeling inspired by Mark and my new youtube farming obsession, I was excited to get my green and yellow wannabe machine out last night. I throttled up past the little rabbit to full choke and she purred to life with the turn of the key, 17.5 horsepower of freedom. I tried shifting to reverse and.... nothing, tried again, still nothing, shifted to neutral (or so I thought) and let off the brake only to surge forward slamming into the cabinet in the front of my garage. Frustrated I hop off to pull the override so I could push it out and see if driving forward would free up whatever was causing my shifting issues but both rear wheels were still locked in forward.

Next I unhooked the trailer, and drug the little "tractor" one yank at a time out of the garage. Winded and out of breath, I hop on to try again only for it to jump forward nearly hitting the side of my house while in "neutral". Back off and a few more tugs gets me pointed in the right direction to at least get moving to see if driving around will help free up my shifting issues. I drive forward a few feet and try reverse again, success! I'm finally on my way to getting some work done but then I look down and notice my front left tire is flat. I'm back off again to get the air pump only to realize it is in the trunk of my car that is at the shop getting new tires.

Feeling defeated I slowly limp the little thing back into the garage, shut the door and go back inside with even more appreciation to what all must happen to keep the wheels rolling on a farm, I couldn't even cut my freaking grass.
 
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Tractorsdontfloat

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Been a busy few weeks around the farm lately. All the corn is in. All the soybeans are in. All the seed corn is planted, except for the last bit of male pollinator rows. Those go in on Saturday. And I’ve already got about 60% of the snap beans in. More to go yet this week, and the rest in the next couple weeks. Kidneys will start going in tomorrow, with plantings spread out every few days till done. Fertilizer spreading on the corn that is out of the ground a couple inches started today as well.

The male row planter for the seed corn is a simple tool bar with just four row units on it. Basically, one male row for every four female rows. We plant some varieties at the same time, others the male rows are planted separately from the females, and in all cases the male rows are planted at half rate and the other half planted a few days later to spread pollination over a longer time frame. It also uses a very basic population monitor. Kinda feels a bit old school.
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The other aspect of these old units is they are what’s called finger pick up units. I’m used to vacuum meters. Old tech, but still extremely heavily used even today. Here’s what this unit looks like internally.
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Tractorsdontfloat

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Well, today I can officially say I have everything planted. For the first time this spring I unhooked my planter from the tractor. And went right to the fertilizer spreader. The corn is all in. (Has been since early May.). Soybeans have been in for several weeks, snap beans got finished Saturday, and the last of the kidney beans finished today. One more snap bean planting after the first crop is harvested in mid July, then I can wash the planter up for the season. Right now? Sitting on the deck enjoying an adult beverage or three.
 

Tractorsdontfloat

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Got a little fertilizer spread the last couple days before Crytabol became the loser, and went back to Canada! Gotten between 1.5 and 3 inches over the last two evenings. Some areas around the state have gotten several inches of rain.

The fertilizer spreader buggy.
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Tractorsdontfloat

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Sorry I’ve been absent for a while. Been rather busy and hectic around the farm this summer.

Wanted to throw an update on things around here. Crops are doing well. Corn was at the 6-7 feet tall on the 4th of July. Overall the corn is at or ahead of schedule. Hot weather has made the corn grow faster than it can handle itself to some degree. Fortunately, some of the issues we are seeing are in a variety plot and only small areas.

We got some strong winds in an isolated area of the farm that caused some stallk damage and down corn. Most of it will stand back up, probably already has for the most part, but some will not. Here’s a few pics to show what I mean.

The corn from standing in the field.
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Some of the damaged and downed corn. Remember, this is a small area, not widespread thankfully.
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Some is worse than others in the plots. I put 12 different varieties in each plot. One 12 row pass the length of the field per variety side by side. Most was not damaged at all, but one variety in particular had some significant issues that likely will diminish the stand by a large margin.

This is what that looked like. The stalks were bent over between nodes and will not survive and produce an ear.
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There was an occasional stalk snapped stalk right at the node, but these were very few and scattered.
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Here’s an aerial shot I snapped off the video from flying the field with my drone. As you can see, the one variety that has the extensive damage shows up very noticeable along the left side of the shot, but overall the rest look very limited in damage.
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Tractorsdontfloat

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An update on the seed corn.

The female rows have all been detasseled, and the male rows are mostly all tasseled out. Looks kinda funny, but it is a very specific process to turn two single varieties into one hybrid variety that we grow commercially. once the pollination window is over, the rows with the tassels will be des, leaving only the plants with no tassels to frow and the ears off those plants will be harvested and dried to become a hybrid variety seed for next year .
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monkeyswrench

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An update on the seed corn.

The female rows have all been detasseled, and the male rows are mostly all tasseled out. Looks kinda funny, but it is a very specific process to turn two single varieties into one hybrid variety that we grow commercially. once the pollination window is over, the rows with the tassels will be des, leaving only the plants with no tassels to frow and the ears off those plants will be harvested and dried to become a hybrid variety seed for next year .
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So, you have to "mow" the tops off, leaving every 5th row? That's what it looks like, but...
 

Wheeler

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Lot's of good info. here. Not sure what I'll do with it, interesting though. 👍👍

Back in the day we used one of these to pick corn. 😁

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Tractorsdontfloat

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So, you have to "mow" the tops off, leaving every 5th row? That's what it looks like, but...
Yes, the tops of the variety that is the female get mowed off right before the tassels start to appear right at the top of the tassel. After being mowed, the tassels will stretch out over about two days. Then a mechanical puller is sent through, and pulls the tassels out of the plant, leaving what you see in the pictures. The plants that still have tassels are a different single cross variety, and will produce all the pollen that will pollinate the silks on the female plants, and those females will produce the ears that will be harvested. The males will be destroyed in a couple weeks and will not be allowed to produce ears.
 

Wedgy

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It sounds Expensive!

I went to the Family farm in Anton with my Uncle Buck, 30 some years ago. It was all in grass, and everything was getting rusty. Uncle Buck was kicking the tires on what I guessed was hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2 huge tractors, various implements. Etc.
"I guess I really should auction off all this equipment..." He wistfully drawled. Rest easy Uncle Buck.
 

Wedgy

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He loved Farming. Farm goes back 100+ years. Cattle Ranchers have been hit hard everywhere. I think it's a lot of risk to totally roll the dice every year. Especially on a Dry Farm. Been pretty dry here for a while now. My hat's off to Farmers.

Came home to take care of Mom, and retired here.. Ended up a Puppy Wranger across Hockley County in Levelland Tx,
Yorkies and Poms, Boarding, Animal Husbandry. Training
Not bad Duty, always a Gas. At the second happiest place on Earth, the
Little/Vance Puppy Ranch
Class is in session
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Tractorsdontfloat

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Extremely busy this summer it seems. Crops look good around here. Veggies have been being harvested for a while now. Peas are pretty well done, cucumbers and beans are about half done, and sweet corn is just starting. Carrots and potatoes are a couple weeks away from early start, with storage harvest still about a month away yet. Our kidney bean harvest is about three weeks away yet, but we are steadily prepping equipment to be ready when the beans are. Grain corn and soybeans are two plus months away but looking really good currently.
 

Wedgy

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Good to hear. Not enough rain here thrn 10 days straight of 100 us temps have hurt Cotton badly. Many Farmers are on second and 3rd alternate crops, but even then, still a struggle. Glad you are busy, and doing well this year. Keep on Keepin On! You Farmer!
 

Wedgy

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Stay safe around all the equipment, Happy Friday! And Keep on Farming!!
 
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