Hunting & Fishing for Stories & Photos

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Kansas Wheat Harvest 2011 - Part 3

Once wheat harvest was finished, Heath had to start spraying. One of the practices that Heath has helped implement is no-till farming. The basic idea is to conserve moisture in the soil, they don't disc up the ground to kill weeds. Instead, they use herbicides. This year, when the wheat crop only had about 3 inches of rain, they were able to reap fairly good yields from their practices. The downfall is the cost of the chemicals.

For me, the biggest downfall of spraying so far was the nearly eight hours we spent trying to repair the main pump on the sprayer. It wouldn't seal appropriately so we had to keep taking it apart, and then reassembling it. No one planned to stand in the sun for eight hours - my burned and peeling neck is proof! We finally got it to work and a couple days later after it rained we headed to Garden City for some errands. One of the stops was the spray shop... it turns out that one half of the pump is just plain wrong. The next time the seal fails, they can replace the defective part, which should fix it for good.

The broken pump spraying herbicide all over.

The two halves of the broken pump.

Last year's corn stubble Heath was spraying when the pump broke.

We also started having a little fun chasing coyotes and prairie dogs. Nichole's dad has been on a prairie dog eradication program, so where there once were hundreds, there now are just a few. I did get a chance to unlimber my Larue AR-15 on a couple. My longest confirmed kill so far is 238 yards... and Mattox got to watch! Sadly, it's hard to get a good photo of a blown-up prairie dog, or at least one suitable for posting so I just have one of Mattox and me after the fact...

The prairie dog whackers.

Less time on the combine has also given me a chance to take some photos of the other critters on the farm: barn cats, burrowing owls, cottontails, and cattle.

Barn cat.

Cottontail rabbit.

A burrowing owl in the farm pasture.

BoyFarm heifers with the farm buildings in the background.

Old boots lining the fence along the county road.