Another May Day

Take out the word car and insert the word tractor and I think you understand the psyche of the average farmer. It’s not for any but a few good reasons. We spend far more time in our tractor than we do any other place. We plant there. We mow there, rake there, bale there. We spray there. We haul in our grain there. We do our chores there. We sleep there, although we seldom admit it since we are usually still dragging something through the field at the same time. Nowadays the tractors are connected to the internet. But that’s not where I’m writing this from. I’m writing from the comfort of my office. Bedroom. Whatever I call it. I guess it depends on if I’m at my desk or if I’m in bed sleeping.

I farmed for a whole year back in 1984 to earn enough money to buy my first tractor. Even though I was looking for a John Deere 4020 I ended up buying an IH  856. They are both rated at about 100 horse power, the size I needed to join in my older brother’s operation at the time. I used it to pull a 24 foot wide spring tooth harrow to incorporate into the soil the Treflan weed killer we used to spray on cornstalks going to soybeans. Treflan was used pre-plant to kill grasses and small seeded broad leaf weeds. First we would disk down the last year’s cornstalks with my brother’s JD 4620 and a 21 foot cone bladed JD disk. Then we would mount a pair of saddle tanks 200 gallons each onto the side frames of the 4620 between the front wheels and the rear dual wheels. They held the chemical mixture as we sprayed Treflan from the front of the disk while we were disking the old cornstalks the second time.

The next pass across the field was with my IH 856 and a Noble brand spring tooth harrow to do the second incorporation pass. Treflan had to be double incorporated (worked) into the soil about four inches in. The disking pass as we sprayed was the first, my spring tooth harrowing pass was the second. Then and only then would we drill soybean seed with my brother’s JD 4320 and a three point mounted Great Plains Drill. My brother would always drill going along the longest straightest side of the field and working across to the shortest, no matter which way the hills laid. After we had apparently worn the ground out with all these passes we would go over it one more time with an old JD 50 and a twenty four foot spiked tooth harrow following the contours of the hills so any sudden heavy rains wouldn’t follow the drill tracks up and down the hills.

That old spiked tooth harrow would be broken down and loaded into the back of an old pickup truck to move it from farm to farm. Usually that was my job since I was the last Mfer hired. It took three men and four tractors (four men would have been nice since I had to run both the 856 and the 50) just to drill soybean seed back in those days. Eating up time, manpower, tractor power, fuel, iron, and money to simply get the crop in the ground. Today I do it all with one tractor and a no-till drill. One pass. One man. One fuel tank. One bank account. One long lonely day. That’s if I ever get this corn planted. I no-till that in with one tractor also. The same IH 1466 that pulls the no-till drill I use today.

The sun came up shining bright today. The rumor is the tile laying guys are moving into the neighborhood. At one o’clock this afternoon we are going to have a little get together to arrange the tiling we are getting done. Across the creek and up one of the draws on this side of the creek are needing some additional tiling to compensate for all the water that sinks into the soil with this no-till farming we do these days. Pellets in pellets out. We may resume hauling corn out of the bins also today. The trucker had gravel delivered to the spot we were stuck in the other day. He said something about it being cheaper than semi truck axles. I was thinking the same thing.

Well, that about sums it up. Another typical spring day here in the corn patch. May I have another please.

Then, there …….

Cc

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