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April showers have brought out the rock pickers.

2 Min Read
Kyle Stackhouse took the backhoe out to pick up rocks.
Kyle Stackhouse

We didn’t receive the 4 to 6 inches of rain like some nearby, but about 1.5 inches was timed just right to keep us on the sidelines.

Last fall, we made the decision to chisel plow a couple of fields we don’t really like to chisel. They were compacted and nutrients were stuck in the top few inches of the profile. The reasons we don’t like to chisel these fields is also buried in the soil, or at least they were! Rocks! Monday it was dry enough to take the backhoe out and pick up rocks that were unearthed by tillage.  We aren’t talking monster boulders, but on this trip across the field it didn’t make the priority unless it was at least the size of a basketball. The largest one was probably the size of a dorm room refrigerator.

Danny, a high school student who has been putting in some time, spent the entire day driving back and forth across a 100-acre field picking rocks. Our kids also spent an afternoon picking up smaller rocks in the field beside the house. It looked pretty good until I worked the field down again. When I asked the kids about their warranty, they just rolled their eyes. They want to charge me by the rock. We'll see how that turns out. Weather permitting, there are a couple other fields that need attention. If we don’t get across some of these fields to pick up the smaller rocks, spending a few dollars to rent a roller may be a consideration. Beating the rocks into the ground would reduce the risk of damage to the draper head this fall.

I also sprayed some fields last Friday and this Monday. Conditions were better Friday than Monday, but a couple of these fields were going to get away from us. I didn’t make tracks, I just didn’t like the feel in a few spots. We’re not at the point of the 80-20 rule yet. Hopefully we can wait until 95% of the field is ready. However after last year, it won’t take long for guys to push that rule down and roll across some fields they probably shouldn’t!

If we can get the weather to hold out, I think we can plant Monday, maybe if we push it, we could plant a comparison plot late Saturday.

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

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