What a roller coaster in the last week! Temperatures swung from -17 into the 40s. Most of the snow melted, but it is snowing again as I write.
Brad, Corky and I embarked on a half-day journey though the Fort Wayne Farm Show on Tuesday. Held the second week of January, we go nearly every year. This year it was just the big boys as the kids' home-school group was in session. We are still learning the new locations vendors were moved to after they mixed things up last year.
We had hopes of solving a few problems we had been having. Specifically, we are looking for a better method to deliver starter fertilizer on the planter. We also wanted to follow up with an agronomist for new hybrids/varieties. Personally, I was hoping to find pricing on steel-frame storage buildings for a comparison with wood structures.
We pretty much struck out on all three.
We didn't really find anything we liked on the starter fertilizer issue. The unit we have now is mounted directly on the front of the planter row unit. It does an excellent job of placing the fertilizer at the proper depth and distance from the seed. However, if soils get hard, it adds additional resistance that works against the springs, sometimes resulting in shallow planting if we don't catch it and increase the tension.
The information we wanted on seed is coming out in the next week or so. We are looking at a replacement for the famous food grade Pioneer 93B82 soybean, which has had a run spanning more than a decade. We hope to get an allocation of some to try. Additionally, we would like to get some plot seed of non-GMO corn slated for sale in 2015.
I didn't get any hits on steel buildings; I guess we'll have to pick up the phone and make some calls. I was hoping to see some companies at the show so we could get a quick feeling on whether they would be a good fit to work with.
Related: Efficient Farm Shop Tips
The most intriguing items of the day did revolve around planting. The first was the hydraulic down pressure on planter row units. We saw this last year, but it was the initial release. We wanted to see how it would work. The electric seed meters also piqued an interest. The Horsch planter was also interesting, as it eliminates "pinched rows" which have been shown to rob 3-8 bushels per acre. (Of course, if you're using a wheel tractor with duals, additionally, you will need a track tractor in order to eliminate pinched rows.)
As technology continues to improve, we should be able to give seed the best possible conditions to thrive in. There is only one problem: cost!
We left the show with only two things: a new grease buster that attaches to an air chisel and a bag of candied nuts. I guess that's not a bad day!