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Old 11-27-2009, 05:49 AM
 
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Its been pretty warm here, and one thing we are trying to do this year is get as much Spring time tasks done in the fall as we can. This means spreading manure before the December 1st cut-off comes up, and doing some plowing so next Spring we can concentrate on getting the crops in instead of busting sod.

I think of all the tasks to do on a farm, one of the most pleasurable is plowing. I am not sure what it is about it, but I just love to plow. Perhaps it is breaking open the sod and seeing what the farms have for soil, or perhaps it is finding lost treasures. So far my plowing adventure this fall has turned up three buried potato harvester chains, a few harrow shanks and an old horse logging chain. Another thing I like is the solitude. You shut the doors on the tractor to knock down the engine noise, and without the annoying sound of a PTO churning, you can actually listen to the radio as the sod flops endlessly over. Finally there is the lack of a time restraint since the soil dictates how much you get done and not your allotted time. Here the ground is very rocky and ledgy so while I go as fast as I can in the good ground, I often have to shift into first and pick my way through the ledgy ground.

It is also nice to see how far we have come in farming too though. I have been plowing some very steep ground (15% grades) and I remember being a kid being scared that the tractor pulling the haybaler and wagon was going to spin out on the hill and not make it. Yesterday I was plowing UPHILL dragging a 7 bottom plow behind me over ledge rock as I did so. Without the advancements in tractor technology there is no way I could have done that 10 years ago. Since this is the same ground my forefathers have plowed up, I think they must look down from heaven (we have historically been a god-fearing family) and grinned as the 9th generation of farmers continue to bust the same sod after all these years. I still have no idea how they could of plowed with a horses and walk behind plow though...god bless them though for making the fields way back then, that we farm today.
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:36 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
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Most people do not understand the rigors of farming in the 1800s let alone in the 17th century as mine did. With land like yours, your forefathers either didn't plow the ledge rock or they had a team of sure footed mules. On flat land they could have used a team of dray horses.

Thank God for Deere and the lives it saves. Our ancestors died from over-exposure to sun and mold spores.
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:48 AM
 
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Our cemeteries here show that the men in the family either died as children, or lived to a ripe old age, while the majority of the women seemed to die in the mid-20's and early 30's...from bad child births of course. It seems that with us, when a man died in his 20's and 30's it was considered especially bad because their headstones often tell the tale as to how they died. For instance two say "killed by a fallen tree", while another says "fell off his horse". I suspect back in the day when this stuff occurred, and his wife and children relied on the output of that man for sustanance, it was incredibly important.

Another odd thing I have noticed his how often the word cancer is brought up. When someone died of cancer, it was often cited as such, and this was deaths occurring in the 1800, 1809, 1815, etc.. I am not sure when they started noting cancer as a disease, but it was a long time ago!

In another instance we had a great uncle that died from appendicitis. He went to the Dr in the 1920's or so, and the Dr told him a Dr in Portland Maine knew how do an operation to cure it, "but it takes three days to get there, so you will die before then." Our Great Uncle did just that the next day when his appendix burst.

Definitely a tough time back then. Sometimes I find myself complaining when the AC doesn't work, or in rock strewn fields like this that I cannot snap the GPS on and fall asleep! (LOL)
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:30 PM
 
Location: CasaMo
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A few years back, I asked a friend of mine to bring his tractor over and plow up a patch of low ground in a creek bottom for a pumpkin patch. I was amazed at how dark the soil was and it had a very fertile scent to it as well. The sod was thick that we had to run a disc through it several times to get it tore apart.
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Old 11-30-2009, 11:08 PM
 
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You know you have good black soil when a freshly plowed field with the sun shining resembles black frosting.

Very little of my soil is that heavy,but there are farms about 7 miles away that have that soil.

Ground like that would be fun to farm------highly productive, hardly no rocks, and tiled out.

You usually gotta pull 1 less bottom when plowing there compared to elsewhere.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:28 AM
 
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It is amazing the amount of HP that it takes to plow. I was only pulling a 7 bottom, and yet when one plow failed to reset, you could hear the engine relax a little, then strain as it reset itself and all 7 were cutting.

I really love plowing and enjoy how everything has to be just right for it to work, but when it does it is mesmorizing to see the sod roll over acre after acre. It has been a good Fall, 120 acres plowed up in the last few weeks so I have been in my happy place for sure. The best part is you can still rebuild a plow for 50 bucks in parts...that is unheard of today in farming!

I could plow all day, and if the lights on the tractor would allow me, to plow all night. Just something basic about it, knowing what your plow is doing by the sound of the engine, discovering buried items like potato chains, logging chains and harrow parts...yep I love to plow. Must be a farm boy huh?
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:40 AM
 
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I always loved to do fall plowing as the stress was gone,

Fall plowing meant the harvest was done and your only " stress" was to get done before the frost sets in the ground.

Just before dark yesterday , two tractors pulled into the neighbor's field. The renter had just finished combining the corn,chopping and round baling the cornstocks, and hauling them off yesterday.

He had an older 4 wheel drive Case with 7 bottoms and an International with 5 bottoms. They plowed til about midnite.

Plowing here in Minnesota is very rare past late November cuz usually the ground is frozen, so I imagine they are under a little stress to beat " mother nature"

It is about 50/50 here.
( moldboard plowing vs chisel plowing)

As you get into the heart of cornbelt country, moldboard plowing is very rare.
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Old 12-02-2009, 09:16 PM
 
Location: CasaMo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marmac View Post
You know you have good black soil when a freshly plowed field with the sun shining resembles black frosting.

Very little of my soil is that heavy,but there are farms about 7 miles away that have that soil.

Ground like that would be fun to farm------highly productive, hardly no rocks, and tiled out.

You usually gotta pull 1 less bottom when plowing there compared to elsewhere.
The dirt is black in the lower spots, but walk up to the top of my ridge and it is rocky enough to discourage disc mowing. I built rock walls for landscaping with fieldstones. Doesn't cost a cent.
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:01 AM
 
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We typically disc up existing fields, but of course when we crop rotate we pull out the plow. In this case we got a new farm as a rental and so we are putting it into corn to break up 70 years of compaction from haying operations. It is rare that we plow up this many acres...and never in the fall. We farm under the CSP rules of the NRCS so deep tilling is discouraged for the most part. We have gone through some pretty good lengths this fall to discourage soil erosion this fall and next spring after the snow melts.

Our biggest deadline in the fall just passed, the December 1st cut off for manure spreading. We got our pit pumped out so I guess we are ready for winter. Of course this is Maine, winter is coming no matter if we are ready or not. (LOL)
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:43 AM
 
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Speaking of pits pumped------a farmer whose place I drive by has a lake about a quarter mile east of his place ( shallow, no fish,not used for recreation)

I noticed last month a Harvestore Slurry Store went up for manure storage.

I guess EPS ( enviormental protection services) didn't like him spreading manure daily.

Anyway, he was eligible for govt cost sharing and the govt paid for most of it.
He only ( sarc) had to come up with $50,000 of his own money and the govt kicked in over $100,000

That is one,big, investment just for storing manure on a 70 cow dairy farm.
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