The Evolution of a Modern-Day Farm Wife

Posts tagged ‘Kansas wheat’

Fertilizing the Wheat

When I was a single gal living in town, I had big plans to have the nicest, greenest yard on the block one summer.  We won’t focus on how it turned out–especially since it barely rained that summer and I depended solely on rain to water my yard.

Regardless, that spring I went out and bought a decent sized bag of fertilizer and a handheld spreader.

I cranked, and cranked, and cranked, and cranked while I spread the fertilizer all over my yard.

I thought my arm was going to fall off, but I felt accomplished because I could tell where I had applied that fertilizer.

You could actually see the little white granules covering the ground.

Little white pieces of evidence.

Little white pieces of evidence.

Fast forward to 2015 and Adam has been pretty much doing the same thing except at a much, much larger scale.

He’s been busy spreading urea (dry nitrogen fertilizer) to some of the wheat fields during this first week of 2015.

Generally the guys like to apply urea to the fields in December, BUT it was too wet this year.

Spreading 5 tons of urea at 10 miles per hour.

Spreading 5 tons of urea at 10 miles per hour.

So January it is!

I had a little boy refusing to take a nap yesterday, so I strapped him in his carseat and set off to see what Adam was up to.

I couldn’t help but imagine how muscular my arms would be if I used that handheld spreader to broadcast the urea on the area Adam was covering.

No, wait.  That’s crazy talk!

Adam was using a spreader that holds five tons of fertilizer.

FIVE TONS!

It has all kinds of interesting functions that I don’t fully understand but gets farmers really excited.

And it requires none of my muscles, which makes me excited!

One of the functions that I do understand is that it has a variable rate dry spreader.

Basically, you can punch in some numbers which will increase or decrease the amount of urea that is spread over an area based on soil tests.

So, the areas that need more urea get more, and the areas that need less get less.

Isn’t technology wonderful?!?

You can also punch in a number and the spreader will apply a blanket application.

That’s what’s being done here.

THE Spreader

So while Adam cruised up and down this wheat field at 10 mph, the amount of urea was evenly applied.

Take a look at the aerial footage of how this all works…

We’re hoping it’ll now snow so the urea will get wet, dissolve, and work its way into the soil.

Once it’s in the soil, this will get to the roots of the wheat plants that are just hanging out in the fields during this time of the year.

It's on the ground, now it just needs some moisture to get it moving into the soil.

It’s on the ground, now it just needs some moisture to get it moving into the soil.

When the wheat comes out of dormancy and starts greening up in March, the fertilizer is in the root zone, and the wheat can grow big and strong.

The variable is that we need moisture to make all of that magic happen.

And if we’re going to get moisture, it might as well be snow.

And if it’s going to snow, it might as well REALLY snow!

Here’s to a lot of snow this next week!

For the sole sake of the soil and wheat, of course 🙂

Meals to the Fields…

While the crew is out harvesting wheat all day, my mother-in-law and I like to lay by the pool and eat our bon-bons while working on our tans.

In our dreams!

This is as close to a pool and bon-bons for me during harvest!

In reality, while the crew is out in the fields, my mother-in-law and I are doing our part to help make life more pleasant during harvest.

Making life more pleasant during harvest for our crew means keeping them well-fed.

Buns in bulk…

During harvest–although there are some days when the crew will come to one of our houses to eat inside– the majority of meals have to be prepared, packed, and hauled out to a field somewhere.

Meals to the Fields!

Adam told me the other morning that he likes going to a house to eat a meal during harvest–but when that’s done they lose enough time that could’ve been used to cut 23 acres of wheat. And with the constant sense of urgency in getting all of the wheat cut before the summer storms, there’s not a lot of time to stop and enjoy a meal in the comfort of our air conditioned homes.

Enter the proverbial chuck wagon here…

Stopping for a meal in the field.

My mother-in-law, Cindy, has perfected feeding the masses.

She’s a rock star!!

Cindy provides delivery service of quality meals to fields twice a day–shortly after 12:00 and at 6:30pm.

Guaranteed.

It’s like a picnic–for the Duggar family, but with less kids!

I’m her helper.

And while it would be easy to make a massive amount of ham & cheese sandwiches every day, ham & cheese sandwiches every day would get pretty old, pretty quickly.

Order up! Ham & cheese and more ham & cheese…

So Cindy mixes things up.

Yes, sometimes a nice cold sandwich is really all the guys want to eat, but they also like (and deserve) some hot meals.

Goulash, cole slaw & french bread–delivered to the field.

Whether it’s cold sandwiches or hot meals, a heck of a lot of food is made during harvest.

We officially started harvest on May 28th this year. We were out of the fields due to rain for three days.

Between May 28th and today, there have been days where we have needed to feed up to 12 people per meal.

With so much food being made for so many hungry mouths, our kitchens have been transformed into lean, mean, food prep machines.

I refuse to show you pictures!

And with so many hungry mouths to feed at every meal, a heck of a lot of trips are made to town to pick up groceries during wheat harvest.

And with a heck of a lot of trips made to town, our brains start thinking in bulk…

A loaf of bread has 24 slices (not including the ends). That’s enough to make 12 sandwiches.

A Crystal Light package contains enough mix to make 2 1/2 gallons.

We go through two gallons of this stuff at every meal.

About two pounds of ground beef is needed to make enough Sloppy Joes for each person to have two sandwiches.

A family pack of single serving chips contains 32 bags.

Providing variety…

A cookie recipe makes about four dozen cookies.

Expect each person to eat two cookies during the meal, plus take some “for the road”.

The guys like bananas, nectarines, and peaches.

They also like bottled water, and an occasional afternoon (around 3:30) sweet treat like a candy bar.

You can do the math to figure out what our grocery bills look like during harvest time!

I don’t want to think about it.

Some days I think we are harvesting the wheat in our fields just to make enough bread to keep feeding our crew.

In reality, according to http://www.kswheat.com, Kansas farmers alone produce roughly 380 million bushels of wheat each year.

That’s enough to feed every man, woman and child in the world for an entire week!

Now THAT would be a lot of meals to the fields!

So we’ll continue baking, mixing, shopping–not to mention cleaning and dishwashing– packaging, and delivering for our sweaty harvest crew so we can help provide meals for others, too.

A Day In Agriculture

AgWeb.com  is hosting a day-long event called “A Day in Agriculture”  today.  It’s a way to show what impacts 6.5 billion people daily.

There will be videos, photos, live updates via Twitter, audio updates, and blog-like submissions showing what people are doing in agriculture today.

If you get a chance take a look at the video I submitted seeing what we are doing on our farm today and be sure to stop by AgWeb.com throughout the day to see how we are all connected thanks to agriculture.

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