Thursday, May 24, 2007

A few farming fhotos.

It's has been a long and busy spring. I had my daughter take a few pictures of the different phases of planting a crop. She did a splendid job of excluding my ugly face from most of them. I refuse to post the pic of my ample posterior.

First up is a photo of applying anhydrous ammonia. I'm no chemist, nor do I play one ever, but NH3 is made from natural gas and contains high levels of nitrogen. Nitrogen is an essential for growing corn. Without additional nitrogen the plant is limited in its ability to produce yields above that of the naturally occuring nitrogen in the soil. NH3 is a liquid which expands into a gas. In the field application process, the desired result is to get the liquid into the ground where the nitrogen attaches to moisture in the soil. If it is allowed to come in contact with air, it will turn into its gas form and escape into the atmosphere. So the liquid is literally knifed into the soil at a depth of about 7 inches.

Here are two tractors and tool bars one with 17 knives and one with 19 knives, the tanks that they are pulling (one set, two tanks) each hold about 2000 gallon of liquid NH3. How many acres that will cover is dependent on the rate of application. Assuming a goal of 180 bushel of corn, allow one pound of nitrogen per acre x the yield of the soybeans raised on that ground the previous year, (soybeans put nitrogen back into the soil), average yeilds last year were in the 60 bushel range. So we have 180-60= 120 lbs of nitrogen needed to grow a 180 bushel corn crop. Using round numbers each set of tanks will cover about 60 acres. It's a whole different formula when growing corn on ground which was corn the previous year. Corn takes nitrogen out of the soil and does not put any back, so to grow 180 bushel corn it will require more than 180 lbs of NH3. In that case the same set of tanks will only cover about 38 acres.

In the last photo I'm hooking up the hose which takes the NH3 from the tanks to the bar for distribution to the knives.