Filed under: Farm, John Deere, repairs, Tractors | Tags: farm, JD 4650, John Deere, machines, repairs, tractor, tractors
Called the mechanic, he’ll order parts, should be back in working order soon.
What is broken is the drive shaft for the front wheel drive. It is not a real hard fix, so when we can get the parts it should go back together quickly.
Filed under: Corn, Farm, Minnesota, planting, Soybeans, Tractors, weather | Tags: Corn, farm, global warming, heat dome, history, machines, Minnesota, Planting, plants, Soybeans, summer heat, weather
Are the farming practices of today actually lowering temperatures? That is the question that came up at a recent marketing meeting as we considered the prospects for yields this summer in the face of dry conditions in Southwestern Minnesota.
It’s a known fact that asphalt, concrete and roofs are raising the temperatures in our cities. There has been an effort made to add green plants to the roofs of our country. Green spaces and trees are encouraged in parking areas and along city streets. These efforts are as yet making little headway in the heat dome associated with large cities. Could the reverse be working in farm country?
We were told that the last time Southwestern Minnesota had a 100 degree day was back in 1983. I remember from my childhood that 100 degree days were possible, but not abundant. Still no summer was complete without a few. Today the carpet of green in corn and soybean country is something that is new in the modern era. For the 100 degree days to go away in the face of increasing global temperature, something must be happening.
When the pioneers came to this area the hills were covered with the green of the prairie. The lush green of spring and summer always gave way to a dustier grey green and then tan and brown as the year went on and spring rains decreased. Late summer temperatures could build up as the browns of autumn allowed the earth to hold heat.
Then the farmer broke the prairie and planted mostly wheat and oats. These crops, like the prairie grass before them used the rains of spring and summer and then were harvested leaving fields either black or brown from late summer into the winter. Farmers needed the wheat for a cash crop and the oats to feed their horses. Corn was rare here although present, wheat gave a better yield. Livestock was still a major part of the landscape and pastures were needed to feed a few cows and the horses.
As corn yields increased, wheat became less popular as a cash crop. Corn had previously been a crop for human consumption, now it fed an increasing number of chickens and pigs, both animals that thrived on seeds. As modern machinery moved in, we learned how to chop up and store the whole corn plant making it feasible to use as a winter feed source for cattle. The production of young cattle moved to river valleys and western, drier areas where cultivated crops had a hard time growing. To ready cattle for market, they were moved to corn country, or the corn was moved to them.
A major change in technology, the tractor, made further changes in the way farming was done. 16,000 plants per acre was an incredible population in corn fields of my youth. There was no way to keep the weeds out of the field short of manual labor, and many corn rows were still planted far enough apart so you could get a horse between the rows, 38 to 40 inches.
With todays modern machinery, the use of herbicides to reduce weed competition and careful use of fertilizer, farmers are planting over 30,000 corn plants per acre in 30 inch, 22 inch or even 20 inch rows. Even soybeans are planted in narrower rows, between 7 and 15 inches, to shade the dirt between the rows and hold the moisture and keep weeds down. Both corn and soybeans stay green longer into the fall than did wheat and oats, thus reflecting heat that otherwise would reach the ground. The result is a steamy jungle in the fields. The plants are drawing moisture from the soil and “sweating” it out. This moisture seems to be holding down daytime highs and raising night time lows.
To show you what difference green plants can make, just look to our deserts. With no plants to cover the ground, daytime temperatures can soar over 110 degrees, even in northern deserts. At night temperatures drop dramatically, sometimes approaching freezing. Add green as in our forests, and daytime temperatures are decreased and night time temperatures increased. One of the major factors used to slow desert growth is the introduction of trees. It has been proven that deserts increase where trees are removed.
So are todays farming practice actually lowering temperatures? It sound possible. Perhaps we can look to farmers, ranchers and foresters to help us hold off global warming.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Animal care, family, Farm, farm animals, fertilizer, food, food safety, genetic modification, GMO, organic, P & E, planting, Politicians, rain, tillage, Tractors, weather | Tags: Agriculture education, children, family, farm, Food, machines, plants, repairs, science, weather
Farming, like any other profession has its own lingo, and much of America does not understand it.
I just got off the phone with a gal doing a survey on farming practices who was having a great deal of trouble with her farm english. It was very hard to understand what she wanted to ask because she was murdering words left and right. You had to listen carefully and try to interpret what she wanted to say. I hated to ask her to repeat any of her questions because her pronunciation of words did not get any better. To be fair she did not sound like she grew up speaking another language, she just could not pronounce these words because they were strange to her. Kind of like trying to pronounce those strange names you find in the Bible.
Really, it is no wonder that folks with no connection to the farm do not understand us. We deal daily with names like FSA, SCS, CAFU, EPA, USDA and PCA. We go to places like the Commodity Classic and Farm Equipment shows. Farmers deal in dollar amounts that would make the head of the average person spin. We fertilize, apply pesticides, insecticides and fungicides, we deal with too much rain and not enough rain, and all so we can pay off our loan at the bank and feed our family.
Farmers talk of tractors and combines, rippers, chisels and disks, they discuss spraying and cultivating. We speak of organic, minimum till, no till, plows and erosion. Farmers know horse power, breeding schedules, days on feed, days to maturity, bushels per acre, chemical rates and livestock nutrition. Livestock producers know about sires and dams, sows and boars, rams and ewes, gilts, colts, geldings, barrows, chicks, hens and toms. Farmers deal with politicians, activists, genetically modified crops, inbreds, pure breeds and hybrid vigor. Farmers can fix many of our machines with duct tape or a welding torch, can rewire delicate electronics, and some even understand computers. No machine on the farm is complete without a well supplied tool box, and no pocket without a pliers, knife or a few odd screws. We on the farm live a complex life that our city cousins would like to understand, but have not lived, and so they can only marvel at our differences.
We hide ourselves behind jargon and numbers. What you really need to know is that farmers care about what happens on the farm. We raise our families here. We drink the water and breathe the air. We depend on the soil to feed us and our family for many generations to come. Farmers and their farms come in many sizes, but we all care deeply about what we are doing. We are here on the land because we cannot think of anything more important to do with our lives.
Despite all of the strange words we use, we are just like you, trying to build a good life for our families. So if you do not understand us, ask. We want you to know. We are not trying to hide things from you. You, our customer, are important to us also.
Filed under: Farm, John Deere, Tractors | Tags: farm, Ford, ford 8n, John Deere, machines, toy auction, toy tractor, toy tractors, Toys, tractors
What can I say, I’m a sucker for auctions. I really don’t need an excuse to go to one, I just love auctions. Mostly it’s just watching other people buying all of that useless stuff. Yes, I’ve actually bought some of that useless stuff myself, but not very often. I usually know what I want to buy and how much I’ll pay. I had an auctioneer friend tell me once, that I didn’t want to buy things, I wanted to steal them. I ask you, what’s so bad about getting a good deal? Well I got a few things at the last auction I went to that were a bit useless, but are nostalgia for me. That’s why I bought them.
Last Sunday’s auction was a toy auction which this auctioneer sets up annually. Usually it takes toys from several people to make the auction big enough, but this one was special since most of it belonged to one man. In his retirement years he had spent time repairing and customizing toy farm equipment, so not all of it was original, but if you know that you can spend accordingly. It was a really large auction.
I went hoping to find wind up trains. They are not easy to find, but I always hope. No joy, only electrics. But I stayed to watch and check out the prices on some of the toy tractors. For a farmer, tractors are a very important tool. We’ve all had our favorites. Some folks will be out to collect as many different ones of certain brands as they can. I only want the ones that were special to me.
A number of years ago I got my collection started with an Allis Chalmers C. I bought that at a store because it was the first tractor I remember driving. My Grandfather Julius taught me to cultivate corn on that tractor. The first toy tractor that caught my eye at this auction was a Ford 8N like I remember at my Grandfather Harry’s farm. I probably paid a bit more than I should have, but it was the only 8N there.
There was a bit of a dry spell in the auction for me as I bid on things, or let them pass. Then I saw an International Harvester Feed Grinder. I spent countless hours grinding feed with a variety of feed grinders as I was growing up. The animals had to be fed, and we had the raw materials to make feed for them.
I also picked up a John Deere 3010 or 4010 with a roll bar and roof. It was obviously a repaired toy, but it was the only one with a roof there. Sometimes you buy them because they are different.
At this time the auction has been going on for over 4 hours. Some of the buyers have either spent their limit, or have gone home. The price on the toy tractors has been going down. Up for auction is a John Deere 4430. My dad bought a 4430 on a pre-order, John Deere would tell you about them, but would not show you a picture of them. When he bought it, it was kept covered until release day. I had to have it, and I thought it went cheap.
The last toy tractor I purchased that day was a John Deere MFWD Row Crop. This looks enough like the 4630 we had at one time, and the 4650 that we still have, to fit the bill in my collection. The decal says it’s a 50 series. It was still in the box, and went cheap enough so I bought it.
Buying at auctions for me is more about the search than the purchase. I have a few more things I’d like to find, but don’t expect me to be a bidder at every auction I go to. After all, I really prefer to get a good deal on my purchase.