Bill Pickart, former Master Farmer, seed rep and farmer, will be reporting on crop conditions and other observations this spring and summer from his home in Carroll County. He will be contributing a new feature called Friday Field Walk, debuting on the Website May 3.
Tuning up for his new assignment, Pickart rode with a current seed rep in his area recently. He was looking for anyone who might be out doing early fieldwork and he was surprised at what he saw.
On their way to Silver Lake he saw plowing, but with horses, not tractors! There were two teams of two horses, he noted. He saw them still within the boundaries of Carroll County.
"It was quite a sight," Pickart says. "They had LED lights on their broad-brimmed hats!"
He also saw some more expected farm activity, but no planting. This was before any showers that fell over the past week. He saw an anhydrous applicator running in one field, and a field cultivator in another. Both stirred up lots of dust.
Most people appeared to be waiting to see what the weather would do. The slow, cool start to spring has held some people back from getting into the field as soon as they normally would. He heard one report of someone putting on anhydrous ammonia, but conditions were preventing the soil from sealing well behind it. Lots of dollars can evaporate into thin air without good sealing during applications.
While not a problem in his area, some anhydrous applicators were spotted in central Indiana applying where soils are wetter. In the past, extension agronomists have noted that pre-planting anhydrous ammonia applications can be responsible for creating soil compaction at deeper levels if the soil is not dry down several inches deep. Whether that compaction shows up or not may depend upon weather conditions during the growing season.