We are glad to see Spring 2019 come to the Jamison Family Farm. With a break in the weather, we are very busy preparing for our 2019 haying. Equipment repairs and maintenance are underway; this past weekend, we finished fertilizing. Spraying for broad leaf weeds will come a bit later as they begin to grow into our hay.
I posted the pic below on our Facebook page... The wind blew my hat into the fertilizer spreader and the spreader gave it - it's best effort to spread the hat, ouch!
The fertilizer spreader is a Lely spreader; probably 50 years old. It is rusted at the bottom and on it's last leg. The charts are useless for metering fertilizer due to metal lost to rust - but we make do. My boys and I (several years ago) spread bags of fertilizer on each setting. We recorded the PTO rpms, width of spread, ground speed in MPH and the amount of time it took to empty the given amount of fertilizer. From this, we calculated pounds of fertilizer spread per acre. We still use 50 lb bags of fertilizer and based on our calculations, we can just about apply and come out of the field within one bag of having the exact amount. We could hire spreading of our fertilizer, but prefer to apply it ourselves; we want an exacting amount as prescribed by our soil sample recommendations based on expected yield. VA Tech does our soil analysis. Accurate fertilizing is important to making First Quality Hay. Below is a pic of one ton of nitrogen 46-0-0.
Typically fertilizer is applied with respect to N, P and K - which is nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potash (K). One can buy a blend, such as 10-10-10, but our soil recommendations never call for even amounts of N, P and K. So we buy each separate and apply as needed for each field.
One would think that with all this gibberish regarding accurate metering of fertilizer on our fields via soil samples, calibrated spreader, etc., that we would use some kind of high tech GPS to guide our spread. I suppose we could, however, we have found that a drop of toilet paper here and there shows the way. Don't know if the Engineers at John Deere had it in mind, but the throttle lever on our fine JD 5055D has proven to be an excellent dispenser for the TP. We don't have GPS on the Jamison Family Farm, we have TPS!
Other chores are building more kicker wagons. We expect to have six total wagons ready for haying this year. Each wagon holds at least 130 square bales and if we are good at tossing into the wagon, 150 bales. Best case, we should be able to move 900 bales of hay off the field as we bale without any field labor other than driving the tractor and changing out wagons. Above is a very good running gear we are stripping off the old deck and runners for a new life as a kicker wagon.
We have plans to build a new barn that allows these wagons to be parked inside and at the same time for unloading later. The goal is to get the hay timely baled for First Quality Hay and out of any potential weather. Our new barn will let us unload - sheltered and dry. In years past, it could be a race to get the wagons unloaded before rain moves-in; this barn will be a welcome relief from that situation. We can put 130-150 bales on a wagon in as little as 20 minutes; a game changer when a thunderstorm is threatening and getting hay off the field and under cover ASAP is a must.
If you've been on the Jamison Family Farm, you know it is divided by a highway. "Below the road" and "over the hill" are terms thrown about on the farm; you've heard them too. We have focused our efforts mostly on fields below the road, including the bull pasture and the 10. In addition we have a really nice stand of timothy over the hill on Crown Hill and the Orchard Field, however, there is much more acreage to be reclaimed and put into hay. To expand, our dilemma haying "over the hill" has been two fold, one - we need more hp than the mighty IH Farmall 756 Gasser can deliver to drive our Krone mower conditioner on these hills.
The second challenge is to bring loaded hay wagons off these hills safely without being pushed to the bottom! Note - we would only hay on the ridge lines, tops and mild slopes - not the steep part you see in front of the tractor!
The remedy is more hp and more weight; hp to sufficiently drive the Krone and massive weight compared to a loaded kicker wagon to resist push and maintain traction and control moving hay off the hill and to below the road. We have been shopping for a suitable tractor in multiple states over this past Winter; Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky - all of which we have traveled for a look-see at a potential tractor buy. For various reasons, none of the below made the cut...
However, after much travel, effort and empty handed frustration, we finally found and bought another tractor - one suitable for haying "over the hill". It is 100 hp, has a cab, heat and AC. It will weigh-in around 13,000 lbs. If we put fluid in the rear tires, it will come-in at close to 15,000 lbs, almost 8 tons. We're not sure May the Hay Dog can wedge herself into the cab along with the driver for a command view...
The tractor is not new and has about 4,800 hours; it is in excellent condition and delivers the mail on all points we set-out during our tractor purchase quest. This tractor is located in...
Our "new to us" tractor will be trucked-in to the Jamison Family Farm sometime between now and May 1.
I'd like to tell you what we bought, however...
Stay tuned to our next blog where you will read...
More info on this tractor, it's make, model and pictures. I'll give an update on our haying efforts unfolding over the next weeks and months - as we strive in 2019 to make First Quality Hay...
Disclaimer: This blog entry and all others are checked and edited by May the Hay Dog... woof!
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