Jeff Ittel - Green Prairie Sod

Diary of Jeff Ittel – Green Prairie Turf Week 3, August 15-21, 2011

Monday, August 15th

We started the week cutting sod. We got that covered and moved onto the next thing. The storm from Saturday night lifted some netting. The guys went out and pinned it back down. The soil held the netting down actually very well. Jeff was saying that when they planted the ground had sufficient moisture. The soil was firm enough to hold the netting as it was cut into the ground. Matt from Greenspan said we may need to water the field before we net to firm up the soil. The .6 tenths of rain we had earlier was just enough moisture to make planting and netting almost perfect. Planting, there was very little dust but by the time we started to net we were losing the moisture. We got the job done and the soil held the netting in. Heather and I discussed a new sales terms notice we plan on sending to our customers. We are limiting how far out we will extend credit to our customers. Jeff went on delivery. Travis and Mike set up the TL irrigation unit in the newly planted field. I keep track of these fields by a simple lettering number system. This field will be labeled L111, L stands for The Lafuse farm. The first number ( 1 ) stands for field number one and the next two digits ( 11 ) are for the year the field was planted. The field we are harvesting now is L208. Lafuse field two, planted 2008. I just mentioned the guys set up the TL. This is a linear irrigation unit. This machine is self propelled. It has a small diesel engine that runs a hydraulic pump. This pump drives the wheels on the unit. These units are supplied with water by pulling a soft hose down the field. The hose is 600 feet long and 5 inches in diameter. This unit covers a width of 650 feet. We have it set to travel three and a half feet per minute. It puts on about a quarter inch of water at this speed. This unit is perfect for newly seeded fields. It covers a wide swath and lays down a very gentle layer of water. We continued planting. We spread the starter fertilizer on the remaining acreage and the fertilizer company applied corrective treatments of phosphorus and potash. The corrective treatments were variable rates spread across the field. Hopefully we are bringing these fields into a more uniform growing medium for sod.

Tuesday, August 16th

We cut sod and had multiple deliveries. We ran the TL. We continued with the final tillage passes on the fields we are planting. We worked the ground in sections not wanting to get to far ahead of the planter. We felt that if we got to far ahead of the planter we would lose a lot of moisture. We implemented our terms letter and I renewed a safety newsletter.

Wednesday, August 17th

Cut and delivered sod this morning. We continued watering with the TL. Planting and working ground continued as well.

I met with a group about upgrading a baseball field in Oxford. They want to try and have this project completed by October 15th

Thursday, August 18th

Cut and delivered sod this morning. You know that keeping the main thing the main thing gets a little tough. The main thing is sod and it’s where we make our living. Sometimes it gets in the way of getting jobs done. This year just as in years past we stayed on task and continued harvesting sod all the while we finally completed planting. We started working ground back in July, just after wheat harvest. Subsoiling, chisel plowing, disking, field cultivating, soil testing, fertilizing, and finish grading multiple times. Today we finished planting 82 acres of sod. Doesn’t sound like a lot but it will take us a while to harvest it. Our harvester has a cutting width of two feet. I may be the most patient guy on the planet. It may take two years or more for sod to mature enough to harvest. In fact we have a field H108 that we hope will finally hold together. I am going to give it until the spring of 2012 if it isn’t ready by then I will finally plow it under. We continued running the TL. I fertilized H108 in hope of moving into it this fall. We set up irrigation out there also. Jeff and I met with a contractor working at the new Talawanda High School. Tim from Henderson Turf has the seeding job there, but he needs some help with preparing about 30 acres of ground around the school. The site appeared to be pretty free of construction debris, so I think I’ll give Tim a bid on ground prep. These school jobs are bid so tight that there isn’t much room for extra expenses. My ground prep would be an extra expense that will need to fit in the budget of the contractor. This means that the contractor will make less money on the already tight bid.

Friday, August 19th

We noticed that the grass seed was starting to come up. Planted last week and coming up this week. One good rain and I think we will be set with a very good planting season.Travis harvested sod and Jeff delivered it. Ran the TL. Spread a little fertilizer trying to green up L108 for the upcoming fall harvest. I’ll need to do some broadleaf herbicide application this fall in H108. Fall is actually a good time to control broadleaf weeds. I’ll use some 2,4D and dicamba to clean up the field. I’ll also apply some chemical to clean out the cool season grass in the Zoysia field. I’ll plan on the treatments after the next good rain. Mike got the water pump back on the Case tractor. We decided to work on the power steering cylinder, it was starting to leak. Won’t need the Case until we start working ground for wheat planting.

TL shut down this evening, the fan belt broke on it. I shut down the pump and closed the valves. I’ll get it fixed in the morning.

Saturday, August 20th

We take sod orders by appointment on Saturdays. I came in and cut sod for three separate orders. Surprising that the customers were here early and I didn’t have to wait on them. I put a new fan belt on the TL and ran it until about 4 pm. Shut it down and went to a wedding for my nephew Jeremy, the son of Green Prairie’s very own Mike Michael.

Sunday, August 21st

Took the day off… no watering. Went to the Spencer Family Reunion. We’ll start the TL on Monday. All this watering and we haven’t reached the end of L111 yet. It’s about 3200 feet long. Hopefully tomorrow it will finish it’s run. It would be great if it would rain and we could pull the TL out and put it up for the year. When it starts to rain, irrigating comes to an abrupt and welcomed end.







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