Moving Hay Bales

After baling the hay, the round bales need to be moved and stored. We do not have a shed for storage. So we line them up end to end on an old drive way. Moisture is the biggest problem with hay storage. This year we put the bales on pallets, keeping them off the ground to let air circulate under them. Then we added a long tarp that is tied down to protect from rain.


How to Make a Round Bale

We are making a big round hay bale with our New Holland baler. The hay is mostly alfalfa, orchard grass, and brome grass.


The next video will be how we moved the bales and store them.

Blue or Green Tractors

Our new/used blue tractor was just delivered last week. We traded two for one. And now have all green except for this lone New Holland. The bright blue really sticks out. I told William, “Its like when your purse doesn’t match your shoes. Just don’t go together.” He didn’t get it.

Do you have a mix and match line up of equipment or all one color?

Farm Kids & Tractors

Z is hauling cattle manure that has piled up over the winter onto a corn stalk field before it is planted to soy beans. Using a John Deere loader tractor and a CaseIH on the spreader.

A Farm Family Week

A Week in the Life of My Farm FamilyJohn Deere Tractor

We are a family of 5 (William, me, and 3 kids; 16, 14, & 13 yo). The following is what we did this past week in addition to the daily cattle chores and school work.

Wednesday May 4:

Cultivated ground- 65 acres; planted corn – 170 acres; evening Planning Commission meeting

Thursday May 5:

Helped two heifers have calves; Planted corn – 105 acres; Artificial Inseminated a heifer and cow; Rained; evening Zoning meeting

Friday, May 6:

fields too wet; did book work; washed show heifers; after ground dried planted corn – 15 acres; hauled manure

Saturday, May 7:

cultivated 22 acre field then moved to another field to work gulleys; planted corn in two fields – 90 acres; cleaned the barn; hauled manure

Sunday, May 8: Mother’s Day

After church cultivated 29 acres; planted corn 120 acres

Monday, May 9: Wedding Anniversary

Assisted cow having a calf; planted corn 65 acres; replanted corn on sections of two fields; hauled manure; Artificial inseminated a heifer; went out to eat for anniversary

Tuesday, May 10:

Double disked 30 acres corn stalks where cows over-wintered; planted the field; replanted section of another field; worked on cattle fence; hauled manure; washed show heifers; drained Buttercup’s udder

Wednesday, May 11:

Made 3 trips to pick up more seed corn for replant; replanted on sections of 2 fields; hauled manure; trimmed hair on weaned heifers; washed show heifers; had a rain shower; electricity went out because of storm to the north; went out to eat because couldn’t cook and celebrate finishing corn planting & replant

Thursday, May 12:

Picked up load of soy bean seed; switched planter units over to beans; ect.

Precision Doesn’t Mean Precise

Precision Ag is not precisely for everyone. Most times I doubt it is for me. It is definitely a love/hate relationship. The clinics that the dealership hosts GreenStarbefore planting and harvest to help with settings are nice but by the time I get home I barely remember the touch pad sequence to enter my farm name. I need a visual aid while I’m in front of the screen.

Let me just say the manual sucks. William and I were trying to set a page to show a coverage map. I read the dead weight manual while William worked the screen. We did every step in the book but it still would not show the map. I finally figured out that instead of selecting enter, the map on the screen had to be selected. THIS STEP WAS NOT IN THE BOOK. After that episode, our marriage still intact, I knew there had to be a better way. And there surely was more farmers out there with the same frustration.

What did I come up with? Video. Most farmers are guys, guys are visual. That’s what William says. Videos are the answer. Either I had to make videos using the #@$% touch screen or find somewhere it had been done. I found two sites. One for GreenStar by a John Deere dealer in Kansas. They have youtube videos that show the touch pad operations from the cab. Their youtube channel has 25 tutorial videos to help operators know which selections to make to set the monitor. The other is for Ag Leader. The made their own videos. Here is the link for those tutorials.

Take it to the cab. Hopefully most of you will have smartphones to be able to see the videos on your phone. The picture might be small but you can hear the steps to follow. Or the ag nerds can take their ipads but they might not admit they need help. Those with ipod touches can download a video converter to watch the tutorials.

Let me know how you remember all the sequences on your screen; and if these videos help you


Anticipation Builds

Planting season is upon us.

Big question is when to start? Do you get the corn in the ground while you can? If you wait will it be too wet later? Will there be a cold snap? Don’t want to run the rotary hoe. Will waiting decrease the chance of diplodia? Let the early planting suckers get it. Everyone has an opinion on when to start. No one wants to be first or last or wrong. Even read a tweet by Jim @tractorattack “Tried the ol indian trick of bare butt on ground. Holy mother of …. ground is dang cold. Not planting this week I guess” Hadn’t heard of that one before but it’s just as good as any other indicator.

We started on the 10th, in a field that can be a mud hole. Then we chose to plant other fields like it that have nasty wet areas that rain can easily prevent us form getting into for awhile. It’s actually a relief to just start.

Here is a video of us planting the field on the 10th. The tractor has auto steer but we ran the markers as a back-up for our fist time. This is the post William refers to in the video: Love by the GreenStar Light


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More on the Frigid Farmer

What do farmers do in the winter?

Before I talked about farm shows and cleaning out bins. Another thing farmers do in winter is go to farm auctions. They go with the idea of picking up a bargain for something they need/like to have. Farm auctions are usually for some retired farmer selling out his life-long accumulation of stuff. Generally 4 rack wagons of junk: gas cans, rusted tools, ect. Then his old equipment and tractors. But this farm sale that we went to was extremely unique. The guy wasn’t retired. He just quit farming and rented out the ground. His tractors and equipment were disgustingly new. (no twinge of envy here) You don’t see auctions like this in a coons age.

You may remember my predictions for this year about a purchase of a tractor in our future. We were looking at a couple of tractors on the sale. But we did not end up going home with one. The prices went too high for what we were willing to pay. Our search continues. Below is a quick video of the sale. The last tractor shown is the one we bid on. The last bid on it was $151,000. Like I said. We’re still looking.

[youtube width=”540″ height=”385″][/youtube]

One more thing. Do you recall in my Carhartt review about what I said about the Carhartt conventions at farm sales? Oh, yeah.

In the comments, tell me if you would have bought that big green machine.

What will the new year hold?

4 Predictions for 2011

These are my totally unrelated, random predictions for the new year. I am not one to believe in fortune telling. But at the close of next year you might be thinking, “That girl’s got a gift.” Or farmnwife needs some professional help.

New Tractor:

In the crystal ball, I see a new/used tractor chugging across our fields before we start planting in spring. William really wants to use planter shut-off on the units to save on seed.  He also wants to put the planting data on Green Star to add to the yield maps. We’ve got to keep up with the Niemeyers. [youtube width=”287″ height=”146″][/youtube] our current planting tractor

Paleo Diet:

Okay. This one will likely make you scratch your head. This year the paleo diet will gain in acceptance directly taking on vegetarianism. I don’t follow this eating plan but I have listened to Robb Wolf’s podcasts. He is on to something even if he is a little out there.

Farm Land Prices:

Farm land prices here in the mid-west are the highest they have ever been, hovering around $9000/acre for good black dirt. William thinks it will go to $10,000. My prediction is it may get there, but the high will be in 2011. Prices will then slide south most likely because of interest rates and a few other factors.

Big Green Combine Blog:

Going out on a limb here. I foresee this blog hitting it big this coming year. Imagine it: National recognition, servers crash, speaking gigs, book signings, the O’reilly Factor. And I don’t even like him.

There you have it. I know what you are thinking. Did she really put all this on the internet? You betcha. Now I need to go write a book.

In the comments, tell me what you think of my predictions and what my book should be about.

Frigid Farmer

At a photography class, a friend asked me, “What do farmers do in the winter?” An excellent question. I proceeded to give her a list of work and activities that are accomplished on our farm in the cold winter months. This must be a burning question for others who lack a farm acquaintance to ask. All farms are different. I can only speak for what happens on our grain and livestock farm.

One thing farmers do in the winter is go to farm shows. I’ll say right up front. I am not a looker. (Did I just say that?) I don’t like to look at farm equipment, just to look. Big yawner. Now if we are looking to buy, I’m there. When funds are to be exchanged, that turns my head. Farm Shows are held in convention halls to exhibit what’s great and new. We had not been to one in a while so, I tagged along.  This one was not a big show like the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville. But it is big enough that it took 4 hours to wander around the halls. We did purchase brush clippers and a grappler. The clippers hook on to a loader tractor and cut off trees up to 9″ round at the ground. The grappler fits over the bucket of a loader and helps stack the wood. We always have brush to clear.

So to sum it up, we looked at tractors, atvs, trucks, trailers, cattle chutes and sundry equipment. We talked to a few friends we ran into. A few unexpected exhibits were jewelry and back massage people.

Keep checking back to see what a frigid farmer does all winter long.