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Diary of Jeff Ittel - Green Prairie Turf, Week 2, August 8-14, 2011

Published Aug. 15, 2011 | Discuss this article on Facebook

Monday August 8th

It was another slow Monday for sod cutting. We only had one order and the customer picked it up. I ordered some off road fuel for the irrigation pumps. We have two pumping stations on the farm. These pumps are from an old fire protection system. We got them down in Shandon from the old Segrams storage facility. They are a matched set of 220 hp Cummins diesel engines. They are hooked to large gear heads that are mounted to  14 inch deep well turbine water pumps with a 10 inch discharge. We in turn plumbed the 10 inch into the 8 inch waterline that we have buried throughout most of our acreage. When we pump water we can pump a lot and they use a lot of fuel.

Jeff and I decided to change cultivators.  We needed to work the ground a little deeper. We had some weeds coming up that the finish cultivator wasn't taking out. We try to work the the ground shallow so we can conserve the moisture that is in the soil. When we work it deeper we lose the moisture. There is a benefit to deeper tillage in that if we get a heavy rain the ground can soak up the moisture. Heavy rains are few this time of year so it is better to conserve.

We were going to use the big Case tractor to pull the cultivator, but the guys discovered a water leak. The water pump needed to be replaced. We got one on order and hooked the Ford up to the implement. Jeff started working ground in the problem areas and the guys worked in the shop.

The fertilizer company spread the lime on the fields.

Jeff and I met with the fertilizer manager and finalized the starter application.

Tuesday August 9th

We had .6 tenths of a inch of rain Monday night. This made working the ground easier today. The storm also knocked out our phone system, Internet, and the DTN weather. We got everything up and running except the weather station. Since it rained the guys started with a little house keeping. They finished trimming some shrubs around the barn and hooking up a downspout by the office door.

An order came in for some Zoysia so the guys started on that.

Travis worked ground and Mike picked up rocks. Jeff went on the sod delivery.

Wednesday August 10th

We had a small pickup order. The fertilizer was spread and we started to plant that afternoon. It takes awhile to get both planters set but we finally got them close to the rate we wanted. We are working ground picking up rocks and planting. We are working in a 48 acre field. We plan on putting down netting on 20 acres of this field. the netting comes in 16 foot rolls and can cover 7 acres. We usually don't net. With our supply being so low we needed to take this course of action. We have netted before and don't really care for it. This netting will help young or under rooted sod hold together in the roll. We can get the crop out quicker but you end up taking more soil. The main question we always get is don't you lose a lot of soil? The answer is yes but we try to hold that to a minimum. By proper cultural practices and time we can hold that to a minimum. Letting the the sod mature into a second season of growth before we harvest is best. There is more root and less soil in the roll. Netting though enables us to harvest sooner. With our supply being so low we need to insure we have a crop to continue to harvest. When our mature sod runs out we hope that we can go directly to the netted field for harvest.

Thursday August 11th

One delivery and a few pickup orders.

Continued to work ground and plant and pick up rocks.

Dr. Tim Bowyer a plant breeder from Patten Seed Company came by to check out my Zoysia field. Earlier this summer we planted about 6 acres of zoysia. The stand looks terrible. It was a corn field last year and I think there was some carryover of herbicide this year that may have affected the stand. The stuff will spread and fill in but I am looking at three years before I can harvest.

Matt from Greenspan Turf brought up his netting installer and the netting. We have netted before but it had been 15-20 years since we did it last. Matt got us started and we began to install the netting. Then we follow along with a crimper mounted to our piggyback forklifts to crimp the edge of the netting into the soil. When these fields are finished being planted the last thing you want to do is drive on top of them and rut them up. This netting thing is pretty stressful. From the start until the grass germinates and pops up through the netting you worry. You hope you don't rut the field so deep that you can't roll out the rut. We are only taking about a quarter of an inch of soil when we harvest. The soil needs to be rut free. Next if the weeds come up before the grass it may lift the netting off the ground. It's no fun cutting the netting off the spindles and pto shafts of the mower. Then we worry about high winds that may lift the netting. The best thing that can happen is that we receive a nice gentle rain after planting.

Friday August 12th

One delivery and a few pick ups for sod.

Finished seeding and netting this afternoon. The field looks nice.

aturday August 13th

The same storm that came through Indy and took down the stage hit us as well.  We had some netting lift but we should be able to pin it back down on Monday. We had .2 tenths of an inch of rain.

Sunday August 14th

Went to church, helped Michele in the nursery during service.

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