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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Surface Pro 2 Used on ATV

Yesterday I used my Surface Pro 2 mounted to my ATV.  While Ram makes a mount, nobody makes a protective box.  Get with it Otterbox.  I made my own box out of vinyl and wood.  I used corrugated box as padding.  THe tablet slides into the box from the top. The Surface Pro 2 needs an external receiver for GPS.  I used the Garmin Glo, the same thing I use for my Ipad.  It worked well for as long as it lasted.  I got 4 hours out of the battery.  The way I have it set up it goes off about every 10 minutes.  That is not a problem because a touch of the finger brings it right back.  Global Mapper is my mapping software.  The display is visible except when the sun hits the screen.  It was easy to read when I shaded it with my hand.  The only GPS I have with great visibility under all conditions is my Garmin 76. 

I will probably not use the Surface Pro 2 as my primary sampling GPS because of battery life, but I am happy it works.  It will be a good backup system.  I would imagine this would be more useful when you only need the display intermittently.  I does have an internal camera if you are scouting and need a picture.  It would also be easy to record a waypoint or a line to show where the problem is.  I could see using this for mapping because there would be no need to transfer information.  I can see big advantages to a farmer accustomed to Windows based systems to have a Windows tablet in the field.  I have $1250 in this setup which includes the tablet, a keyboard, a bluetooth mouse and a screen protector.  The Surface Pro 2 comes with a stylus which I find excellent for most uses.  I like the mouse for map drawing because I fell like I have better control. 

This would be a much better setup if Otterbox made a bo and Microsoft could match Ipad on battery life, but it is useful as it is.

Surface Pro 2 mounted to ATV

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fall Nitrogen Application

I always get nervous when I see anhydrous tanks on the move in September.  I hope they were just moving them from one facility to another.  I feel compelled each year to remind readers the fall application of nitrogen should wait until after soil temperatures are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  In fact, I discourage fall application south of I-72.  We have had too many wet years when denitrification caused all the fall applied nitrogen to become unavailable.  Yes we have soil tests to prove it.  If you must fall apply, use nitrification inhibitors and wait until Thanksgiving week.  If you are really in a hurry, at least check your soil temperature before you apply.  You can check the Illinois State Water Survey Website to see if the temperature is close.  I advise checking field by field at 10 AM because there can be a lot of variation.  Soil temperatures are in the 70's right now. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Corn Leaf Dust Devil

I have always wanted to get a good picture of a corn leaf dust devil.  Here it is. They often signal a change in weather, but the weather forecast is to continue the weather we have enjoyed all week.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Soybean Planting early in Brazil

By Eduardo Paim: 
Here in Mato Grosso already started planting soybeans in upstate and in irrigation areas. Other poor areas are not 1% planted.   The rains are coming earlier and are not expected to miss. We have producers saying that the disease called rust is present in plants that call here "guaxa soy," which are plants that grow on the edges of roadways when the seeds falling from truck transportation and close to the harvest areas. This year the rust was alive on these guaxas plants because we had a year with 12 months of rains that offered moisture to keep the plants alive. Diseased soybeans did not die from lack of rain. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Corn Harvest in Greene County

I spotted the scene below on my way to Whitehall this morning.  This is just  a bit of the harvest crew for one of the largest farmers in Illinois.  They were emptying one combine into a truck.  There were 7 or 8 auger wagons and three combines.  I think they had already moved to a new field.  There were about 10 pickup trucks in the field too.  Click to enlarge. Harvest progress is visible each day now.  I saw one person harvesting soybeans.  The rest are doing corn.  
Near Palmyra

Near Carrollton

Sunrise at Raymond

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

First Day of Fall Sampling

Today was my first day of fall sampling.  The weather was great.  The poorly drained parts of the field were wet. I heard ruors of corn yields as high as 265 bpa and soybeans as high as 100 bpa.  It seemed there were more people harvesting today than yesterday. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Corn Harvest Started

Corn harvest is starting slow.  Many are wanting as much natural drying as possible.  I did see several harvested fields today in Fayette and Montgomery Counties.  Less than 5% is harvested.  A few fields of Soybeans have dropped all their leaves.