Sherman, doing some boondocking near Quartzsite, Arizona. Photo taken January 31, 2015.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Cabri Regional Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Where are they going next? We're here at the park until late September!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A lesson in modern farming

Our regular readers will remember last fall when we had a lesson in modern harvesting when the crop was ready to be taken off the field. At the time, we got to ride along in a high tech combine and we learned a little about farming.

Yesterday, we were invited to learn a little about what farmers are busy doing at this time of year... planting the crops. Or, simply called "seeding"...

One of the reasons that our park is very quiet at this time of year is that seeding typically takes place during the month of May. And a lot of our clientele are local farmers, and people employed by the local farmers. Much of the timing  depends on the weather, and last year most operations were able to finish the seeding by the second week of May, This year they're a little later, but most should be finished by this weekend.

The seeding machine!

The seeding unit consists of the big tractor, the disc and seed drill machine, and the supply trailer. 

The supply trailer has three storage tanks. One for the seeds, one for one type of fertilizer, and one for another type of fertilizer. The disc machine cuts into the ground, while the the drill lays the seed and fertilizer, and another wheel covers the seed and packs the soil immediately afterwards. 

Kevin, with the BIG tractor.

This tractor sells new for about $450,000. It's actually a small one! There are some available even larger than this. And, this one has a fairly small engine, producing "only" 435 hp. Even this model comes with upgraded engine packages if you wish more power. It's a 4 wheel drive articulated tractor. It costs about $1,200 to fill the fuel tank!

Well, we better go for a drive in this thing and see how it all works...


You might have noticed all those computer screens on the right side of the interior of the cab. No, they're not there so that the driver can watch movies while he's working. Although, he almost could because everything is so highly automated. 

The computers keep track of the various yields from different sections of the land. Some sections may be lower elevation and have higher water retention. Some sections my have different soil properties. All of these things affect how well the crop grows in different areas. So, the computers, working with the GPS system know how much fertilizer to include in different sections of land to enable the crops to grow more uniformly and increase yields.

High tech stuff!

It's pretty comfortable inside the cab. 
If you're going to spend 16 hours a day in here, you might as well be comfortable!

Out seeding.

This rig can seed 160 acres in about five hours time. A mid size farming operation in this part of Saskatchewan might be around 4,000 acres, so you can do the math.

This fancy expensive equipment is only used for about three weeks of the year. Seems like an awfully lot of money for that short time, doesn't it? And you can't even share the cost with other farmers because every farmer would need to use it at the same time!

Interesting stuff. Thanks to Sharlene, David, and Jeff for showing us the operation!

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Big price drop on the #1 selling wet dry shop vac...


And in Canada...if you need a drill, now is the time to buy one. Check this out. (For some reason there's a glitch. The price is fluctuating every couple of minutes. I've seen it as low as $40...)






16 comments:

  1. Wow! That machine is goliath! Amazing technology, too. Farm machinery has come a long ways in 100 years. I have pictures of my great grandparents farming with their treasured Percheron Belgian horses on their homestead in Minnesota back in the early 1900's. What were they planting? Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yep, it sure is BIG, and they say there are bigger ones out there! Farming sure has come a long way, we see some countries that we have visited where everything is still done by hand, mind you the fields aren't this big either. Kevin's grandfather used to farm here in Saskatchewan back in the 1920's by the time they left the prairies they had a small tractor to farm with and then they used it to pull a "covered wagon" all the way to British Columbia! They were the first in the family to start RVing, lol!

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    2. What a great family story to hand down the generations!

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    3. Sorry Lori, I missed answering your question about what they were planting. They were planting durum wheat which is wheat normally used in making pasta in this particular field but they have also planted lentils, yellow peas and canola in their other fields.

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  2. A very interesting post! I like the Kevin and Ruth summer school course. Keep 'm coming...

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    1. Thanks Peter! We always like to try and show what the culture and living is like in the areas that we stay and farming here is life for many of the folks. :-)

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  3. It is amazing! So different that I was growing up on a farm in the 1950's.

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    1. Yep, very different from farming in the 50's. Technology is amazing!

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  4. Amazing machinery available out there now, we saw a similar one a week or so ago in Ontario, so huge but very efficient too.

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    1. Yes, it sure is, that and the technology that goes into the machinery!

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  5. Very interesting had no idea they used computers for farming. Very costly though unless they can share the costs with other farmers in the area. Enjoy your day!

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    1. That's the thing, they can't share the cost or the equipment with other farmers because they all need to get their crops in at the same time. Farming is a very expensive business to have and run but without it we would all starve!

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  6. As Dairy Farmers in SW Wisconsin, I can share with you that as mentioned above, we all need our corn in at the best time. You cannot till the land too far ahead, as you do not want it to rain on your freshly tilled field before planting, The same holds true for your alfalfa/hay crop as well. You want that cut at the right moisture, dried to the right moisture content. We rely on computers for that crop as well. So what do we do? We farmers put on our "big boy pants", purchase and most likely borrow from the bank, so that we can produce the best crop to feed the nation, whether it be milk, grains, or many of the other crops to feed. We rely on the weather god's help, along with great prices. Corn prices have been horrible for the grain farmers the last few years. They area hurting bunch. Next time, thank a farmer, cuz it did not just come from the back of a grocery store. Thanks Kevin and Ruth for sharing your day in the life of a grain Farmer.

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    1. The computers are really helping the farmers so that they can get the best yield from their crops. Yes, farmers are of the backbone of our countries, they put in lots of hard work and money to get that food to our tables and it is difficult when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate and makes your job even harder. Thank you for all you do and to all the other farmers out there. :-)

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  7. They've got big tractors out there!

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    1. They sure do and this isn't even Texas! ;-)

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