Thursday, May 28, 2009

Roading Equipment

Moving equipment 14ft wide even when folded up on roads with two 9ft lanes with a fair amount of traffic and sometimes no shoulder has given me an entirely new perspective when driving around others moving farm equipment. You don’t need to worry about the farm equipment-they are not going to go fast or make any sudden moves-but something about the presence of equipment on the road makes almost everyone in the vicinity in cars behave like maniacs.

Just a couple examples:
1) I was sitting waiting to turn left with my left turn signal on, needed to wait about 20 seconds due to oncoming traffic -and was passed on the left by some crazy at about 50mph. Had I not seen him coming and had decided to turn rather than wait-which would have been doable-he would have been a goner.

2) Some people will pass if there is one extra inch of room and they can clear oncoming traffic by 50 feet. Others will not pass unless you pull completely off the road-even though there is plenty of space and time and I am waving them around.

3) There is a stretch of road about 1 mile long with quite a deep shoulder, so I could not pull over. Witnessed at least 3 suicide passes-Several times I had 1 car pull behind another while the first was still passing me. Once a 3rd car actually pulled in behind #2!!! How does #3 not know that #1 or #2 aren’t cutting it close? Scared the hell out of me just watching it.

Notes for my friends with sense:
1) The law actually states you must slow down to the speed of the vehicle you are passing before overtaking it. Please do this for your own safety, and I must say getting passed unexpectedly at 75mph when you are doing 19 scares the poop out of you.

2) When you are around farm equipment-watch the other drivers as closely if not closer than the farmer. When overtaking someone on the left see if you can get a view up to the right-for some reason people pulling onto roads don’t feel they need to consider that someone may be passing that piece of slow moving equipment-thus pulling right into your path.

3) Dirty looks or any other gestures at the guy on the tractor don’t make the tractor go any faster.

4) It is not always possible for equipment to pull over, sometimes it can be too soft of shoulder and equipment may get stuck-or dropoff may damage the equipment. Also be prepared for equipment to unexpectedly move over even farther into opposite lane if there is a mailbox or some other roadside obstruction.

Corn is Planted!!

Corn here is finally planted. It was a long, tough, but exciting week last week. I think I counted about 20 hours sleep over a 5 day period, just now getting my life back in order to have time to update this blog. Tuesday and Wednesday last week were spent spraying. Thurs and Fri corn planted pretty good but was a little wet, corn planted Sat and Sun was really into nice conditions. Moving equipment 30 miles to the new farm was interesting to say the least, my next post will have some observations about driving around farm equipment, I have a whole new perspective after this week. I finished planting the North farm around noon on Sat, as I was preparing to move home the thunder started and I got rained on pretty good on the way home. We ended up not getting any rain at home and I was able to continue planting late into Sat night-I felt like the luckiest guy in the world to finish that close ahead of a rain and to be able to plant another farm that evening. Would have like to started bean planting this week, but it is starting out just like corn season-with rain forecast for 5 of next 7 days.

Here is a video from inside the tractor.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Corn Up-But More Delays

The corn planted April 25 is up. Bad news is it has been wet since then. It has also been cool so corn sat in cold wet soil for a while. We were able to get out and get that corn sprayed yesterday, but then in the evening we got another 3/4 of an inch. I was really hoping to start planting on Monday the 11th, but looks unlikely now.

Some of the larger farmers around are really starting to worry, and looking at renting extra equipment to plant as quickly as possible once the weather does break. 2008 was the latest spring I had seen in my short farming career. Looking back at last years records we started planting corn on May 2 and finished on the 7th. Now on the 8th we have barely started. We are now getting to the date where yield will really start to be impacted. I heard 1973 was a disaster and a lot of corn was planted mid June, but it was a terrible year with 40 bushel yields.