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Monday, November 17, 2014

Flat Aggie’s Visit to NW Kansas




I arrived in Colby, Kansas on a lovely afternoon! I chose just the right time to show up as Farmer Justin and his family were finishing up drilling wheat!

 Farmer Justin and his 1 year old son Emerson were trying to finish up the last field before it got dark. 


When I arrived at the field, the boys were just finishing filling the drill with seed and fertilizer.

  I wanted a closer view so I jumped into the hoppers to take a look to see what the wheat and fertilizer looked like! 

After riding with the boys for a couple of rounds around the field it was time to get out and make sure the drill was dropping the seeds in the ground like it should. Justin and I walked away from the drill a ways and got on the ground and started digging to see if they could find a seed.  We’re in luck! We found seeds!!

 Did you know there are 3 major parts of equipment you need when drilling wheat? First, you need a tractor big enough to pull the drill rig, 
then you need the air cart to hold the seed wheat and fertilizer, 
 and then you need the actual drill, which digs a little hole in the ground, lays the seed and fertilizer in the hole and then covers it up so it can grow.
            When we finished drilling the last field of wheat, Farmer Justin and I took a little tour around some of the farm, and got to see what wheat looks like when it comes out of the ground, or what farmers call emergence. 
Farmer Justin says the wheat looks good! This wheat was drilled about 2.5 weeks before I arrived in Kansas. Farmer Justin drilled almost 2,000 acres of wheat this year!
Fun fact: Did you know 1 acre is 43,560 square feet?
            Once wheat drilling was over it was time to start picking wet corn! This is Farmer Justin’s favorite time of the year! You can see that the corn stalk is still green in places. This normally means the corn is not ready to harvest, however, since they are picking it with a higher moisture content  its ok that it’s still green. 

They pick so much corn before its ready to be put in the bin so they can take it to the feedlot to be fed to cows. The higher moisture content allows it to be fed to the cattle without having to add water to it to make it soft enough for the cattle to digest.   If they were taking this corn to an elevator or putting in their own grain bins the boys would be concerned because corn can mold if it is picked at the wrong time and is too wet.
            When I got to the field, the grain cart was loading a truck to send it off to the feedlot. The grain cart will put 1,000 bushels of corn on the grain truck.




 Fun fact: 1 bushel of corn weighs 56 pounds!
I got to ride around in the grain cart for a while and see how fast paced harvest is around their farm! I thought it was pretty cool that their grain cart has tracks instead of wheels! 
            Every once in a while Farmer Justin gets out and crawls on top of the combine to check the moisture content of the corn. To do this he must take a sample of corn from the bin on top of the combine and put the corn into a moisture tester. Then he tightens the lid down so there is pressure on the corn in the tester and then he turns the tester on and it can tell how much water is left in the corn kernels. 
We’re in luck, we can keep harvesting!! Farmer Justin and the boys will spend a lot of time in the corn fields picking all of the corn they planted last spring. Being able to load the grain cart while still picking corn is one way to make harvest go faster. 
Another way to make harvest go faster is his big combines. They run 2 Gleaner combines which can pick up to 4,500 bushel per hour! That means each combine can pick almost 45,000 bushels of corn per day!! That’s a lot of corn!!
            I had a great time in Northwest Kansas and sure enjoyed my time with Farmer Justin and his family! They made my experience so much fun and hope they end harvest well!!
I wonder where I will go next?!

Sincerely,
Flat Aggie