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September 21

 

wheat feildThis field is going to be planted to wheat probably in October. As you can see there’s only wheat stubble or straw here now. We’ll leave this field alone until later in the summer when the soil will be prepared for planting. I don’t like to plant wheat every year in the same field because diseases can cause trouble, but this will be a seed production field and it won’t be used for grain production. That means the seed that is harvested next summer will be cleaned and bagged for other farmers to plant in the fall of 2001.


chisledIn August our field was tilled using a large tillage tool called a chisel. This lifts and turns the soil, which loosens the soil but it leaves a considerable amount of wheat stubble to protect the soil from erosion. You can see how rough the soil appears. There are a lot of big clods.


feild-cultivator-bestThe next tillage operation is a field cultivator, which further smooths and conditions the soil. With each tillage operation more residue is worked into the soil making it easier to plant.

 


field-cultivator-sweepsLet’s look a little closer at the field cultivator. These silver things are called sweeps or shovels. They run under the soil and that mixes the soil.

 


cultivated-field-dry-clodsWe’ve got problems here. These are huge clods. We won’t be able to plant the seed in these conditions. The machine that plants the seed, which is called a grain drill won’t work very well in these conditions. Do you know why we have these clods? I think our field was chiseled when the soil was too wet back in July. The chisel lifted big slabs of soil to the surface and bingo... we’ve got clods. Now we have to smooth them out and that’s going to require some rain and more field cultivator operations in the future. Let’s compare what the soil looks like before and after the first field cultivator operation.
field-cultivated-vs-chisledYou can see on the right side the field appears to be rough and there’s a lot of residue. On the left you can see the field is a little smoother and there’s not as much residue standing. The left side has been tilled with a field cultivator.

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