General Agriculture Archives

Soil Temperature – Soil Thermometer

Posted on June 28, 2016 by Leave a comment

Soil Thermometer One of the first things I learned as an agronomist, was the importance of soil temperature. Almost every seed has a specific temperature range where it will germinate best. If the soil temperature is colder or warmer than that temperature range, the seed may not germinate at all. iphone 6 plus cases black This applies to both desirable plant seed and weed seed. iphone 8 plus cases for girls A soil thermometer can be purchased most easily online. There are now a large variety of options to choose from, but the inexpensive simple “dial and probe” soil thermometer is still as good any any. They are durable and can be left in the soil for months. Just be sure to put it where it won’t get stepped on! Two examples of weed seeds that are sensitive to soil temperature in a lawn and landscape environment are common crabgrass and poa annua. Crabgrass germinates when spring soil temperatures rise to 55 degrees or above in the top 1-2 inches of soil. Poa annua germinates in late summer when soil temperatures fall to 70 degrees or below in the top 1-2 inches of soil. rechargable case iphone 7 This is very important if you are applying lawn a herbicide which needs to be applied prior to the germination of these 2 weeds. The soil temperature needs to be closely monitored to make the decision when to apply. The same is true for vegetable or flower gardens. beach phone case iphone 6 It is important to read your seed packet or seed catalog information to glean the soil temperature range for the germination of the seed you wish to plant. An example of this is the difference between tomato seed germination and eggplant germination. Tomatoes need 60-70 degrees, and Eggplants need 75 to 80 degrees. charger phone case iphone 8 Fertilizers are broken down in the soil by soil microorganisms. Soil microorganisms and fungus organisms are more active at higher temperatures as long as moisture is present. Certain microorganisms thrive in different temperature ranges; some at 40-50 degrees, some at 50-60 degrees, some at 70-80 degrees, etc. In order for the fertilizer to be broken down, the microorganisms need to be active to convert the nutrients into forms usable by the plants. personalised iphone 8 case Did you ever notice mushrooms suddenly appearing in the fall all at once. This is an indication that the temperature and moisture conditions were just right to make them grow. The take home message is that for a small investment in a soil thermometer, you can increase your ability to manage your soil related actives where knowing the soil temperature will make a difference.

Tags: , , , ,

Choosing a Sprayer for Your Small Farm Needs

Posted on June 28, 2016 by Leave a comment

On our small farm we needed a sprayer for multiple uses, including several acres of food plots, an acre of orchard and the capability to correctly spray herbicides, fungicides and insecticides in field and orchard conditions. You will not find this type of sprayer at your local supplier and may have to special order such a sprayer. These sprayers will also cost about five times more than an inexpensive herbicide sprayer. This additional cost can be justified if the versatility is required for your operation. full cover case iphone 8 camo

Hardi BNL 50 Estate Sprayer

Hardi BNL 50 Estate Sprayer

If you are only spraying herbicides or other products that do not need high pressure and high water volume per acre, an inexpensive boom type sprayer is all you need. Some systemic insecticides or fungicides could also be applied with this type of sprayer. Today a lot of food plot sprayers are mounted on the the back of ATVs and UTVs for this purpose. However, if you need to apply contact fungicides, insecticides, miticides or other products that need to be applied with high water volume and high pressure to obtain thorough coverage, you will need a more sophisticated sprayer to achieve this goal. For spraying a small orchard it will require high water volume and high pressure to get up into the trees and achieve complete coverage of all the leaves, fruit and branches. This requires either an air-blast sprayer or a high pressure gun sprayer. The air-blast sprayer is the most efficient choice, but requires purchasing a completely separate piece of expensive equipment. A high pressure gun sprayer can be added to a boom sprayer as an accessory for a small orchard. With a gun sprayer your mobility is limited by the length of the hose that is attached to the sprayer. iphone 7 phone cases griffin For spraying small fruit crops like strawberries, or low height vegetable crops like broccoli, pumpkins, potatoes, etc., a high water volume, high pressure sprayer is required in order for the spray material to penetrate the leaf canopy and undersides of the leaves of these crops. Products such as fungicides, insecticides, miticides require high water volume and high pressure. Herbicide products do not require high pressure or high water volume. You will need to understand the capability of the available pumps that can be mounted on your sprayer and choose the proper pump to supply the water and spray pressure you will require.
Adjust your boom height so the spray pattern achieves good coverage

Adjust your boom height so the spray pattern achieves good coverage

If simply spraying pre-plant, pre-emergence, or post applied herbicides or other products that require low pressure and low water volume a basic boom sprayer is all you need. iphone 8 plus apple case red These sprayers are available normally from local suppliers and are relatively inexpensive. They usually come with flat fan nozzles for applying herbicides.
Adjust your pressure to meet the needs of your situation

Adjust your pressure to meet the needs of your situation

Maintenance for sprayers is relatively simple. Keep the sprayer inside, if possible. Storing the sprayer inside helps reduce exposure to moisture and sunlight. Sunlight will fade the paint and will contribute to the gradual degradation of the hoses. Moisture encourages rust. Keep any mechanisms that require lubrication greased or oiled at least annually. When overwintering in climates with freezing temperatures, the water in the sprayer pumps and lines should be replaced with an antifreeze mixture as required by the manufacturer. There are a variety of nozzles that are available for sprayers, depending on what you need to spray. iphone 6 wolves case For herbicides, the flat fan nozzles that come with the sprayer are probably all you will need. If you are applying other products, hollow cone nozzles or other types of nozzles may be required. Accessories are also available such as a diaphragm check valve for drip free shut off, which shuts the nozzle off at below 10 PSI (pounds per square inch). This feature stops the nozzle from dripping once it is shut off.
Choose nozzles that fit your needs

Choose nozzles that fit your needs

Most boom sprayers have folding booms and this is a great feature for storing the sprayer. The outside booms fold up and criss-cross on the back of the sprayer. bmw iphone 6 plus case
Features: Orchard Spray Gun, High Pressure & Folding Booms

Features: Orchard Spray Gun, High Pressure & Folding Booms

When you add additional equipment like a sprayer, disc, or bush hog to the back of a sprayer it adds weight to the back which must be counter balanced on the front. We have added weights to the front bumper of our tractor. Other options are to add a fluid inside the front tractor tires or add weights to the front tractor wheels. If you choose to add fluid to the tractor tires, a qualified tractor tire dealer can do this.
Adding weight to the front of the tractor

Adding weight to the front of the tractor

Always read agricultural chemical labels, tractor owners manuals and equipment manuals prior to attaching and using an agricultural sprayer.

Tags: , , , ,

Simple Germination Test

Posted on June 26, 2016 by Leave a comment

The simple seed germination test provides you with the information to decide whether to plant the seed you have or buy new seed. When you buy new seed to plant in the current year, the seed packet or bag of seed, will tell you the year that the seed was packed for and the germination percentage. Seed companies are required to furnish this information. Seed for sale is normally harvested the previous year and will normally have the highest germination percentage. Standard seed germination rates for vegetable crops range from 40% to 80%. However, the germination rate can be much higher. I am holding a new packet of turnip seed with a germination percentage of 96%. stone roses iphone 7 case If the seed is not planted in the year it was packed for, it will normally lose viability or percent germination. Seed is a living thing and usually only needs water, and room temperature to germinate. The longer the time between seed packaging and seed planting the lower the seed germination percentage will be. ranvoo iphone 8 plus case If the seed is stored in cool temperatures and moderate humidity, more of the seed viability will be preserved. Some seeds deteriorate faster than others. Just because the seed is a couple years old, it is not necessarily ready to throw in the trash. There is a simple germination test that you can do to test the current germination percentage. iphone 6 purple glitter case

How many of these corn seeds will germinate?

How many of these corn seeds will germinate?

Take about 20 seeds and place them in a moist paper towel (not wet) and fold the paper towel so all that seeds are contained within the moist paper towel. Separate the seeds so they are not all bunched together, because you will want to count them in about 5 days. iphone 6 plus case marvel Then place the paper towel in a quart ziplock bag and seal the bag. Place the bag near a window where it can get some light, but not direct sunlight, where it will maintain room temperature of 70 degrees more or less. iphone 8 case pocahontas After 5 to 7 days you will gently open the paper towel to observe how many seeds have germinated and how many have not.
Wrap the seed in a moist paper towel and place it in a ziplock bag

Wrap the seed in a moist paper towel and place it in a ziplock bag

To calculate the germination percentage divide the number of seed germinated by the total number of sees evaluated. In this case we have 11 corn seeds germinated out of 20 total seeds (11/20 = .55 or 55%). If normal germination was 80%, we need to plant about 31% more seed in order to achieve a complete stand (80-55)/80=31. iphone 6 plus leather case torro Most of the time the seeding rate is printed on the seed packet or tag. The seeding rate includes the space between the rows and the space between the seeds in the row.
The simple germination test

The simple germination test

If the results of a germination test shows the germination percentage much lower than normal, the seed may also lack seedling vigor. In other words the seed may germinate but be unable to push the growing point up through the soil in difficult conditions.

Tags: , ,

Appreciate U.S. Agricultural Policy and the Farmers Who Grow Our Food

Posted on June 22, 2016 by Leave a comment

The closest simple definition of basic U.S. Agriculture Policy can be reflected in United Nations definition (see below). I could not find a simple statement from the U.S Government, after searching for a half an hour on the internet. I remember hearing it explained during my classes at the University of Georgia when I was studying for my agriculture degree. selfie case iphone xFood security (Source Wikipedia) The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines food security as existing when “all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. cute rubber phone case iphone 6 The four qualifications that must be met for a food secure system include physical availability, economic and physical access, appropriate utilization, and stability of the prior three elements over time.” In other words, we need food to be: 1) Readily available for the foreseeable future 2) Available at relatively low prices 3) The food needs to safe for consumption 4) The food needs to be nutritious

Honeybees Pollinate CA Cantaloupes!

Honeybees Pollinate CA Cantaloupes!

Formulating agricultural policy for the United States is a complicated process and has evolved over the history of our country. Changes to agriculture policy continue as innovations in technology change the way our food is grown, how it is consumed within the U.S. and how it is exported all over the globe. transparent case iphone 7 plus Agriculture exports contribute positively to our balance of trade. Often we hear of a negative U.S. trade balance because of our imports of electronics, machines, vehicles and oil. Agricultural products are an very important part of our nation’s economy. Changes in agricultural policy due to legislation, the farm bill (including subsidies), the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) , EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and other influences, contribute to the evolution of farming. More than three million people farm or ranch in the United States. Over 22 million people are employed in farm or farm-related jobs, including production agriculture, farm inputs (fertilizer, seeds), processing (wheat into pasta), marketing and sales (wholesale and retail). On June 19th, 2016 you may have noticed the headlines about the failed economy and food policy of Venezuela. Even though Venezuela has some of the largest oil reserves, the people were rioting because they did not have enough food. Transportation of food was under armed guard, soldiers stood guard over bakeries, mobs stormed grocery stores, pharmacies and butcher shops. As I read the news, it made me think how thankful I am that we have the wonderful farmers, ranchers, dairy men and women, and all the other agricultural producers that we have in the U.S. We also have a government that, for the most part, is dedicated to the success of our agricultural businessmen and women. comic iphone 7 case The political stability of a county is really based on the overall health of a well fed population. Without a well fed population, it could be political and economic chaos. In the U.S., most of us take for granted that food will always be available and have not thought about a limited supply of food. This is different than not having enough money to buy available food. Can you imagine a time when there would be no milk, bread or eggs (the staples for every run on the grocery store during an emergency)? In this country it is unimaginable. Farmers in the U.S. need to have the availability of government backed programs in order to remain in business. Let me give you an example. Once I was given the opportunity to buy my own farm. When I did a ten year forecast, it became obvious that within ten years of up and down profitability, I would need to plan for at least one year of total crop failure, not only zero income, but the loss of all my input expenses for that year. When I factored in the income needed to repay the debt for the “lost year”, my financial future did not look so good. I passed on the opportunity. Farmers are at the mercy of the weather which is totally out of there control, with few exceptions. An exception would be if the farmer has irrigation. Farmers need economic breaks to “weather” the bad times, so they can consistently continue to produce food for our county. We need farmers to continue to be in business. Many times we hear, in a negative way, that mainstream farms are made up of “Factory” farms, when the truth is that over 95 percent of U.S. farms are owned by individuals, individual families, family partnerships or family corporations. iphone 7 plus phone case thin Farms have had to get bigger because prices for most agricultural commodities have not risen along with the prices on nonagricultural goods. The only way for farms to remain profitable is to become bigger and make less money on a per unit basis, but grow and sell more volume. The individuals, individual families, family partnerships and family corporations are predominantly the same people who once owned smaller farms. The less innovative, less ambitions, less hard working, poorer managers have left the business, as within any industry. embroidered iphone 7 case Without these surviving experienced, innovative agricultural businessmen, your food supply would not be what it is today. Yes, there are those that will belittle the large “Factory” farms, and claim that we should all go “organic” or “buy local”, but the food security of our nation is dependent on main stream agriculture. Recently farm programs are now also including smaller farms, to encourage farming at almost any level, so local growers and organic growers can also benefit from some agricultural programs. iphone 6 plus cases ted baker It is important to support all agriculture to meet the needs of our county.

Our Little Weed Friends Invade!

Posted on June 25, 2015 by Leave a comment

Our Little Weed Friends Invade! Our Little Weed Friends Invade! The good news is that this is a really rich clay loam soil that will grow some great vegetables. ranvoo iphone 8 case The bad news is that it will also grow some really awesome weeds, unless we get rid of these little devils quickly. In general for broadleaf weeds, there are very few herbicide formulations that can be used on a small scale to combat these weeds, but most are very easy to pull at this stage, because most have a simple tap root. iphone 8 case doujiaz On the other hand, there is at least one excellent herbicide product for controlling small grass weeds in any scale vegetable garden. This product is Poast, used along with crop oil concentrate (See Note). iphone 7 case labrador The active ingredient in Poast is sethoxydim. iphone 7 plus shock case Small grass weeds are harder to pull because of their fibrous root system. iphone 8 plus crocodile skin case Regardless of what type of weed it is, it is easier to remove when it is very small. Our plan is to pull these small weeds as soon as possible, add another application of fertilizer and then mulch along the base of our seedlings. iphone 7 phone cases griffin survivor The mulch layer, almost an inch thick, will hold moisture during dry conditions and at the same time suppress weed seed germination by denying light to the soil surface and smothering other tiny germinating weeds. iphone 7 case liverpool (Note: Poast is a product that will not normally be available in big box stores and you must mix the Poast and crop oil concentrate yourself.

Tags: 

Community Garden Plot First Day!

Posted on June 22, 2015 by Leave a comment

Community Garden Plot First Day! Glad to have the plot!! Approximately 23′ X 23′. anker case iphone 6 plus Beautiful Soil! Uniformly covered with the chest high mallow (weeds). channing tatum iphone 6 case The most healthy mallow we have ever seen,

Tags: 

California Cantaloupes!

Posted on June 18, 2015 by Leave a comment

We were traveling near Bakersfield, California and came upon this very large field of cantaloupes. The Romans, in Italy, learned to grow cantaloupes from the Egyptians. The cantaloupe is named after the town of Cantalupo in Italy, so cantaloupes have been grown for long time. iphone 8 plus phone case with card holder Approximately 75% of the cantaloupes grown in the United States of America are grown in CA. Bakersfield is located in the lower San Joaquin Valley, sometimes called the Central Valley. Cantaloupes in the Central Valley are planted from early April until mid summer. The fruits require about 90 days before they are ready for harvest which takes place between June and October. During this growing period the weather is normally hot and dry which makes irrigation a necessity. The low humidity and lack of rainfall helps prevent foliar and fruit diseases. iphone 6 case gel liquid It is important that the cantaloupes are ripe before they are picked because up to 50% of the sugar content is created in the last week of ripening. frida kahlo iphone 7 case The melon is ripe when it’s color changes from green to a yellow / tan color and the “netting” shows a distinct contrast. Melon ripeness can also be determined when the fruit separates from the vine or “slip stage”. The sugar content stops increasing at this stage. The melon will continue to ripen after harvest and become juicer. snugg iphone 7 case grey Cantaloupes should be refrigerated after they are cut open.

California Cantaloupes!

California Cantaloupes!

Similar to other types of melons, there are both male and female flowers on the same cantaloupe plant. iphone 8 case soft touch The male flowers develop first, followed by the female flowers. Honeybees are required for pollination. Honeybees are brought to the field by a beekeeper and placed surrounding the whole field of cantaloupes. The placement of the bee hives helps achieve uniform pollination and helps maximize yields of premium fruit. Since the honeybees require pollen and nectar for their survival, the honeybee hives are removed after blossoming is completed. The honeybees are then moved to another location, where another food source is available. The beekeeper is paid for this service which is critical to the success of so many agricultural crops in CA.

Tags: , , ,

California Pistachios!

Posted on June 17, 2015 by Leave a comment

California is the largest producer of pistachios in the United States of America. tiger iphone 8 case The pistachio is a native tree to Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey, and has been cultivated since about 7000 years B.C. otterbox iphone 7 cases The acreage of pistachios in CA continues to grow and as of 2014 there were about 225,000 bearing acres. The first commercial crop in CA was harvested in 1976. It takes about 6 years for a young tree to begin to bear fruit. There are both male and female trees which are needed for pollination. Pollination is wind born and does not require honeybees. The trees bear in alternate years with one year having a heavy crop and the next year a light crop. It takes about 15 growing years for a crop to be profitable, however trees can profitably bear for more than 50 years.

CA Pistachios in June

CA Pistachios in June

Botanically the pistachio is classified as a drupe. iphone 8 cases with card slots The edible part is the seed. iphone 8 blue case Pistachios bloom in March in CA. The shell expansion occurs after pollination and begins to harden in June. The nut develops in July. By late July and early August the hull or husk splits, but the nut remains intact. The nuts ripen in at the end of August and into September and at that time the husk or hull becomes loose. Shell splitting begins about this same time. Harvest usually starts in early September and lasts from four to six weeks. iphone 7 plus bike case The nuts are harvested with a mechanical shaker. The nuts are immediately processed to preserve the highest quality.

Tags: 

California Almonds!

Posted on June 17, 2015 by Leave a comment

California produces 100% of the almonds in the United States of America and 75% of the almonds in the world. Spanish Franciscan Padres introduced almond trees into what would become California, in the mid 1700s. iphone 8 plus phone case space The almonds are grown in the Central Valley in California. Almond trees start to bloom as the weather gets warmer in January and February. Almonds are not self pollinating and require at least two different varieties to successfully produce fruit. Honeybees are required for maximum pollination. After pollination a fuzzy gray/green hull begins to grow which will contain the almond kernel.

Fuzzy Green Almonds in Mid June

Fuzzy Green Almonds in Mid June

The hull continues to grow, harden and mature until July. iphone 7 phone cases 360 shockproof Next the hull will begin to split and open. From mid August until late October the split will open exposing the almond shell and causing it to dry, as well as the kernel inside the shell. iphone x transparent case To harvest, the trees are shaken with a mechanical “tree shaker”. glass case iphone x The nuts are allowed to dry further on the orchard floor and then swept into rows where they are picked up mechanically. During hulling the shells are separated from the kernels. winnie the pooh phone case iphone 8 After harvest, in November and December, the almond tree begins to start the whole process over again by developing new flower buds for next years crop. Right now the biggest challenge to growing almonds is the extended drought in California which has already had a limiting impact on almond production.

Tags: ,

Landscape Fabric Weed Control!

Posted on June 16, 2015 by Leave a comment

Landscape Fabric Weed Control! Landscape Fabric Weed Control! We are achieving very good weed control using the landscape fabric for weed control. We installed the landscape fabric about 50 days ago and so far it is doing the job. The fabric we are using was chosen based on several criteria, including price, dimensions, light and rain penetration, durability, and ease of handling. We purchased one roll from Costco for about $30.00 with dimensions of 4′ X 200′ giving us 800 sq. iphone 7 plus case hard leather ft. iphone 7 case bape to work with. This seemed to be less expensive than other fabrics of similar dimensions that we evaluated, although it is thinner than some. minnie mouse case iphone 7 plus This fabric allows both light and water to penetrate the surface. It is easy to cut with a pair of simple kitchen scissors, but is quite durable in resisting punctures, and tears. We walk on it regularly. iphone 7 phone cases skiing I would estimate that it provides about 75% shade, which still allows enough direct sunlight for weed seed germination underneath the fabric. iphone 7 case glass The weeds that germinated underneath have been unable to penetrate the fabric, with the exception of yellow and probably purple nutsedge. We have yellow nutsedge. If nutsedge appears anywhere in our lawn or garden, we pull it immediately. game boy phone case iphone 7 The nutsedge will pull through the fabric with minimal damage, if any, to the fabric. It is our intention to re-use the fabric as long as we can, as we reconfigure the garden from season to season and year to year. We can foresee layering new fabric over old fabric. iphone 8 case with credit card The fabric is held down by landscape staples which are about 1 1/2 inches wide and 6 inches long. These can be a little bit pricy purchased in small packages, but the cost per stable can be reduced greatly if purchased in larger quantities from a supplier that sells to commercial landscapers. You will use more of them than you might first estimate. We do walk on the fabric, however it is important that you do not walk on it so close to the root zone that you compact the soil, especially when the soil underneath is wet or very moist. When you walk on the fabric you still need to do so when the soil is dry or limit your travel to narrow pathways like you would if the fabric was not there.

Tags: 

Next Page »