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Irrigating corn Kyle Stackhouse

Irrigation: One last time?

We missed key hurricane-related rains, so we’re watering crops once more to protect seed size and test weight.

We had started up irrigating crops again a couple days before Labor Day. Then it rained on Labor Day and we thought we were done.

But ten days later, having missed any significant precipitation from the remnants of last week’s hurricane, we have decided to go one more time. No, we’re not adding any pods or blooms. We’re just protecting seed size and test weight. Weighing the cost at $2 an acre inch, putting another ½ to ¾” of water is relatively inexpensive insurance. Experts pretty much have said to water until the leaves are all yellow and falling off.

Previously, albeit early for our neck of the woods, we had targeted Sept. 10 for the first day of harvest this year. It did not happen. I pulled a couple ears mid last week and they tested 29%. I pulled some more Wednesday night and they had dropped to 25%. Hopefully we can have a smooth soft start up and get the combine rolling full speed early next week.

Dryers up to speed

We completed servicing and testing the dryers this week. Everything is set to go. Two tankers of propane were delivered last week (price is significantly higher this year). Old crop corn carried over has been shuffled around and measured for the purpose of 2017 production evidence.

The air system delivering corn from the dryer to storage bins seems to have fallen off in terms of capacity. The airlock was inspected and within tolerances. I found a few small air leaks in couplers and made repairs. I also found a pipe (that runs in the dirt on the ground) that was starting to wear thin, it has been replaced.

In checking with the manufacturer, we found we can increase pump speed by changing one of the sheaves and likely upgrading the motor. That will be the next step taken if capacity isn’t up to snuff this fall. Fortunately, we have a spare motor in the barn, which will save us about $2,000.

The equipment is fueled up and we’re ready to head to the field. If uncle Sam is correct, It’ll be a better harvest than we have expected.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

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