So we are in the New Year and hopefully 2017 will be a more profitable year than 2016.
The short days of winter mean we are in the office or the workshop and at times one can be as bad as the other with paperwork, repairs and engineering being top priority before the spring field work starts again.
Fertilizer prices are cheaper than this time last year but seem to be creeping up and talk from the trade is that nitrogen is the one to watch as it steadily creeps up. We normally buy our fertilizer early in the spring on harvest payment terms .This suits our system as we sell all our grain green off the combine and wouldn't have cash flow to pay straight away .another factor is we are not always sure of what land will be available for spring planting and while we would like to have that sorted now it doesn't always work and could be a little later, Land doesn't fluctuate to much but new pieces of land appear now and again.
This year we are trying to do deals this week for most of it to try and avoid the price increase and help the profit line. We did purchase some 0/7/30 for the winter sowing at keen prices in September which will mean less p and k will be needed this spring on the winter crops .Hopefully a deal will be done in the next few days for 10/10/20 and either s nett or advanced fertilizers product kock which is a specially coated slow release urea with sulfur that we have used in the last two years with good success. This year the fertilizer plan for the winter crops will be a little different as there is already p and k in the seedbed and we will be going with nitrogen as the first split compared to it usually being a compound .Plant counts have been done and crops will be pushed accordingly to keep the all important tiller numbers on plants.
Winter crops are looking well after ideal planting conditions and a mild November and December although reports of some barley down south showing signs of mildew is a little worrying and although we are getting short cold periods they are not enough and good week of frost is needed.
In the workshop the rear discharge dung spreader is getting a major overhaul after years of dung trying to eat it away , the fabrication side will be finished this week and it will go away to be shot blasted and resprayed .We will finally spend a day or two rerouting pipes and getting lights on it . With the price of new machines I'm hoping this refurbishment will help this machine last another while in the yard without major expense.
The bredal fertilizer spreader was washed and got its winter oiling down and greasing in late November and a few notes were made for what it needed. It will need new veins before it goes to work which it will get next week , a sensor on the spreading discs for the disc speed was also faulty and playing tricks with the control box late in the season , it was disconnected to finish out the year as I was afraid it might do harm to the control box and new one is ordered and will also be fitted , while this is not essential as you can use the tractor pto speed it does give you a true reading in case of belt slippage at the discs . An oil pipe is burst going to the headland deflector plate also, once these are done it is ready for work. It will get the weight cells re calibrated on its first outing also.
We have a few more repairs and maintenance to do in the next few weeks and crop inspections will start shortly again as crops start to move again.