My father, brother and I farm a 118 year old, centennial family farm in south central Michigan. I have a strong interest in conducting demonstrations on our soil types and under our local conditions. We have sandy loam soils, a large percentage of no till and strive to farm in such a manner as to protect our surface and ground waters. We need to watch nitrogen and pesticides to keep them from leaching to ground water and out abundance of surface waters need to be guarded from erosion and phosphorus buildup. I do extensive pest scouting and am always interested in how field conditions relate to yield and profitability. We farm 1250 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat with a farrow to finish hog operation of 60 sows crediting the manure nutrient value to our crop operation.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
The objective of this grant is to assist the Innovative Farmers of South Central Michigan in the development of credible demonstrations in sustainable practices by having the ability to weigh harvest data with a higher degree of accuracy. The credibility of this data, along with economic impacts of the demonstrations will be a stepping stone leading to increased acceptance of sustainable agriculture to protect our environment and keep our farmers profitable.
A weigh wagon was purchased and I repainted and did minor repairs to it. Several of us checked around and found a dealer in Indiana who had several used weigh wagons. The weigh wagons have been used to harvest numerous demonstration plots by members of the Innovative Farmer who have conducted plots. Each year, these results are complied by the Extension office and distributed to members and other interested farmers. The plot report is also distributed at a large “Farmers Day” held in February, attracting over 750 attendees.
Along with the weigh wagon I also used funds to purchase a measuring wheel and moisture tester, which travels with the wagon.
Even though many farmers have yield monitors, the weigh wagon is often used as a double check of the plots being harvested. Several members have also used the wagon to help calibrate their yield monitors.
The Innovative Farmers have a quality control committee that has formulated standards for plot design.
I will continue to house and schedule the use of the weigh wagon. I will also do minor repairs and maintenance. If costly repair is required, I will go to the Innovative Farmers and request funds from their treasurer.
The final plot report is printed and distributed to all Innovative Farmer members and other interested persons. Extension assists with this publication.