Springtime in Osada – March and April…

These are funny months – there’s always a burst of activity in the first 2 weeks and then nothing for the rest of the month. If you recall from my previous post, I was deliberating about which planter to buy and when to buy it. March presented some seeding jobs and true to the old maxim – “The Lord giveth and the Management taketh away” – as fast as they appeared, they were disappearing. To get some money into the bank you just have to grab one – there isn’t time to assess which field or what crop. I grabbed one for field 15 because I knew that field well. I then found that the contract was to sow Sugar Beet. In so many ways, that was the decision taken for me – I had to buy the planter then and there. Fortunately, by then, I’d rationalised my thoughts and I was going modern despite the extra cost. We’d get the Kubota PP1450V and totally drain the bank balance!๐Ÿ˜…

Here’s the 4240 carrying out that first plant in field 15…

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…Immediate impressions of my new purchase are good. If you’re wondering why I’m not using the ridge markers – The lime makes it so easy to see where I’ve been๐Ÿ‘Œ

The rest of the week was spent cultivating my own fields 3 and 14 where the Oilseed Radish had sprouted…

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…These fields will be sown with Sunflowers next month. I also took a couple of fertilizing jobs with the new sprayer during the second week and there were also a couple of weeding jobs,

April and we will be very busy – But only for the first 2 weeks ๐Ÿคฃ We kicked off with a sowing job for a neighbour in field 10 – Sunflowers, which was handy because I could then carry on and sow my field 14 just across the road. I also went on to sow field 3 with Sunflowers too…

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I checked on my Barley crop in fields 1&2 – They’re coming along nicely…

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…and I fertilized the Wheat in field 40. Then I rolled the newly sown fields 3 and 14…

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The neighbours had a weed issue in their Beet field and I was happy to help with that…

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The second week of April and time to sow field 12. This was going to be a Corn crop but I had a ‘Senior Moment’ and forgot to change out the seed type – so we’re going to have three fields of Sunflowers! Not a big concern – both crop types give a good return and Hell! – I Love Sunflowers – They were the motif for our wedding๐ŸŒป๐Ÿคต๐Ÿ‘ฐ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘ I’ll just have to rethink next year’s planting plan๐Ÿคฃ

To close out that second week, I rolled the seeds into field 12 and then I applied fertilizer…

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That was really the last of the serious activity in April. I spent sometime checking the supplies in the barn during the 3rd week…

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…and we’re ok for now despite doing several fertilizing jobs and all the seeding.

I’m expecting a lot of weeding in early May but not too much else. Then, almost before we know it, we’ll be into June and harvesting Barley… The cycle never ends when you’re farming! ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘

November – Shorter days and a last chance to tidy up before winter sets in…

At the end of last month I bought field 40 and removed some surface rocks. I really wanted to get a crop in the ground on this field as soon as possible and Winter Wheat is the way to go. I spent the whole of the first week of the month preparing,..

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…Sowing…

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…and Rolling…

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…Looks like it’s going to be a foggy night, but that’s the Wheat in the ground ๐Ÿ˜Ž

The second week of November and I was surprised to find that one of my Neighbours still had a field of Corn that needed harvesting, so I got on with that…

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…Then I turned my attentions to the ongoing preparations of field 3 – applying Lime…

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…I also sold my stored Canola.

Moving on to the 3rd week and time for an Autumn clean and to prepare for next Spring. My larger fields, 40 and 12, prompted a review of fertilising arrangements. The Rauch has served well on the smaller fields and using Oilseed Radish to pre-fertilise has worked well but that won’t always be possible – field 40 has not yet been fertilised at all, so it’ll need 2 applications at different stages of the growth cycle of the wheat. I realised that by choosing to go down the liquid fertiliser / herbicide route, I could rationalise my equipment. I already have the John Deere sprayer which I could use for both but being an older machine, it is quite bulky and only covers 9 metres in a pass. Ultimately, I decided that I would trade in both the JD Sprayer and the Rauch Spreader and get a newer Sprayer. I was also going to stock up on Fertilizer and seed. The first task was to move the Herbicide from the vehicle shed into the store shed…

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…Then it was off to the dealer to sell the Spreader and Sprayer before hooking up the Bale Wagon and going to get the liquid fertiliser and seed…

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…That was then all stored away…

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…the supplies will share the shed with the seeder and a planter when we get one.

The last week of November and I took a ploughing task for a neighbour…

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My new sprayer was delivered and I parked it in the vehicle shed…

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…This Polish made Unia Sleza carries the same 1000ltr quantity as the old sprayer but is more compact. It covers 12m in each pass, so offers an improvement. A lot of modern sprayers can cover double and even triple that width but there are still a lot of smaller fields in this area so they may not be able to work everywhere.

Now I’m ready for Winter. There’s still some Wheat, Oats and Sorghum to sell in December when the prices are best. With luck I may earn enough money to get a planter in time for the coming spring!๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘

October – Sunflowers and Corn replace cereals on the harvester menu. I want to fit in as much harvesting as possible in order to make progress towards buying one of the larger fields. But before I get started, there’s the matter of the weeds in my freshly sprouted Barley crop. I hooked up the weedwhacker and set about the task…

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…Interestingly the field info said small weeds and suggested using a Hoe – which is effectively what this row weeder is! Note that the John Deere 4240 has got its ballet shoes on for this job๐Ÿ˜…

Then I was off to harvest two Corn fields for my neighbours – Field 21 first…

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…Taking care not to drive into the pond! Then field 58 where I did drop the harvester in one of the tank-traps that pass for ditches in these parts and had some fun retrieving it๐Ÿ˜‚ Halfway through that harvest we had to sit out a rain storm but I was able to complete it before night set in and we had to retire to the farm…

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The second week of October started wet so I couldn’t harvest anything. Instead, I cultivated field 3 in readiness for an application of Lime. Then, with the forecast promising a break in the weather, I took the harvester and tractor + trailer over to field 72 where we had to wait out the last of the wet weather…

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…Then I was able to get on with harvesting the Sunflower crop. This is a big field, so I compartmented it…

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…I find that helps with large fields – otherwise the task can seem daunting. This one was broken down ultimately into 3 rectangles and one odd shaped remnant to finish off. I was able to harvest another Sunflower crop in a smaller field to finish off the week.

Week 3 and it was time to take on another very large field and back to crunching Corn…

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…This field was more difficult to break up as I couldn’t decide on a suitable marker. I initially went with a pylon but in retrospect I probably should have picked the bush on the right of the image as that would have been a little more manageable. Never mind – we ground it out anyway๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ‘

And that was the key to having enough money in the bank to buy field 40. When I checked at the start of the month, the field had been harvested and ploughed but it needed liming. When I checked before buying, I was pleased to see that the owning farmer had applied line in the previous 2 weeks, saving me a job! After packing away the harvesting equipment I took an evening stroll to take a look at my new field…

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…and found it strewn with rocks๐Ÿ™„

The last week of October and, to cover any unforeseen expenses, I took another small Corn Harvest in field 59…

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Then it was time to tackle the rocks issue – running over the field with the stone picking bucket…

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…That took most of the rest of the week as it’s a tricky operation and field 40 is large. in the end, I lifted close to 4000l of rocks! I finished off the month by fertilizing the Barley in fields 1 & 2. That crop is now set to grow right through to harvest time without any further intervention. I had to refill the spreader – one of those unforeseen expenses I was talking about๐Ÿ˜…

November promises to be a busy month to start with. I want to put field 40 to use immediately – I believe I can still sow Winter Wheat in November and that would be a good option – giving grain next summer with straw as a by-product. Later in the month I should be able to sell some of my stored grain which will help with the finances as winter approaches. There may be some cultivating and ploughing contracts too – fingers crossed๐Ÿ˜… See you all soon in Osada๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘