Once fields dried out and the uncharacteristic warm weather continued through this past week, tractors and other vehicles of many sizes and descriptions began to appear in fields. Fertilizer dealers committed to judge evening FFA contests had to cancel out as farmers ramped up to take advantage of the good working days and get spring field activity done.
There are still those weather sources that say it could be a cool, wet spring, although the latest word from Ken Scheeringa in the Indiana Climate Office is that warm weather should continue into April, maybe just not at such an extreme high above normal. May and June are still fuzzy on his radar screen. At any rate it's apparent people want to get work done when they can. Many didn't get this opportunity last year.
Here's a sampling of what we've seen. As mentioned, we've seen fertilizer applicators, mostly commercial applicators, applying fertilizer on fields. We've also seen a few anhydrous tanks, and know that some people have applied anhydrous ammonia, starting on ground that is typically the first to warm up and dry out in the spring.
Others took advantage of the warm, dry spell to seed grass or a cover for summer pasture. If the field was bare, they sometimes worked it in with a vertical tillage tool. In livestock areas, we've seen manure spreaders of various sizes and descriptions both heading to the field, and actually spreading manure in the field.
By far the most activity we've seen so far is people tiling. Some are simply replacing tile in blow-holes where old tile failed. Others are running singe lines to an outlet to try to help their system work better. Then there are those who are installing an entire tile drainage pattern in a field. Some of these are contractors, many are farmers who have enough acres to justify having their own tiling equipment, either a trencher or a tile plow.
We haven't seen a planter yet, other than in a barn lot, and we also saw a strip till rig ready to run in an area where it's too erosive to make strips in the fall. These people are serious- if you aren't, you don't figure out how to build a 24-row strip-till tool bar on your own that folds and allows you to carry it down the road.
There are also people clearing brush and cutting out trees form fence rows. We've seen some fertilizer applied to pastures. Soil testing is likely going on, we just haven't seen it. And we haven't seen a planter actually running, although we know at least one field of soybeans was planted February 29 in central Indiana.
Good weather in March brought out the equipment. What will April bring? We'll have to wait and see.