Tractor Tales and Some Things to Think About...
Sep 17, 2009
How about this for Tractor Tales this week????
This is one of the 1,500,000+ pound rigs moving through Lancaster County over the next 2 weeks. Can you say look out for wide loads during harvest!!! It is traveling a 70 mile route overland through Lancaster County to Three Mile Island nuclear plant. There are 2 units traveling about 1 mile apart. Top speed 3-4 mph. A crew of 100 workers per unit and it is 17' wide and 25' tall. Trees have been trimmed, power lines raised, bridges reinforced, temporary stream crossings have been built, and at some bridges additional cranes will be available to, shall we say, 'lighten the load'. There are 26 axles with 8 tires each. That's 208 tires on each unit and each axle has it own steering and suspension system. Each half can do a 360 degree turn within in its own footprint, can you say skid steer!!. There are 6 diesel engines that power each unit and I believe it is hydraulically driven. No steering wheel, just a joystick for an operator that walks along side. The transport units themselves weight over 300 tons and were built just for this job!! Think I can 'sneak my combine in behind without having to take off the head????Additional updates are available at www.lancasteronline.com for our local paper, and WGAL channel 8 web site. They are moving 4-6 miles a day. It will trek (for you John!!) past some of our corn and soybean fields.Do you think any one would dare weight my trucks out of the field on a portable scales for being overweight???
A faithful Lancaster County viewer,
Karl M. Hess
Hello USFR, Al Pell, John Phipps and Mike Hoffman, two things I wanted to mention.
One - if you all didn't know it already the ecology movement in all it's extremes has been destroying the farmers out in the northwest states because of the little fish they want to save. Certain rich farmland is being allowed to dust bowl destroying farm families. I know you are aware of that already. But the new information I wanted to mention is that Sean Hannity the radio talk show host of the 2nd largest radio audience in the US is going to be out there talking to some of the farmers and thier families and probably give the story some national exposure it hasn't had. That part I thought you might like to know. Too bad I didn't think to mention it to you before. I don't know how many programs he has in mind to do out there but I heard that today 9-17-09 he was going to be out there personally to do todays program. I imediatley thought about you guys and what you could tell Hannity with all your experience in Agriculture. Even if you could get a link to your websites onto his website perhaps you could link a few of your program stories that you have done on this disaster to get people better informed on this insane out of balance concern for a fish instead of long established farms and families.
Two - I have long wanted to find a simple table of "A Farmers Weights and Measures" so to speak. A sort of picturegram or short cartoon or something to give the average non-farmer guy like me some perspective on things. Example: A "Bushel" originally it might have included the whole ear of corn with it's covering because it would help to preserve it at least for a while back in the early days of this country. A bushel might have been a certain size, but of late it is measured by pounds, not by the basket. And now not only that, it has been shucked and the seeds is the only part left of what used to be a bushel. And now it must have a certain moisture content even before you can get the seed off the cob. And that's just the bushel. How about this which has always eluded me but would be the coolest part. Now picture this, Me and a Farmer standing on top of a Tall Silo and the farmer points to the field and snaps his finger and says this is what we put into the field to get the crop going. And at his snap would appear a line of 55 gallon drums of fuel needed just for field prep, a line of containers used for chemical fertilizers and anhydrous, and what ever. Then the bags of seed, and the Stack of Money it takes to get it all going. A tally of the hours spent, And the "bucket of sweat" produced from worry to get it all planted on time. Then provided the weather has co-operated ideally with the farmer another snap, show the field ready for harvest also showing a rain scale with the amount of rain in a GOOD year. Another snap, then the lines of fuel and other items needed for the harvest. The hours, fuel, wagons etc. Then most intriging to me would be this. Farmer snaps his finger and shows bushel baskets of the harvested seed sitting where the corn was standing along with the square feet it took to grow a single bushel. Then a snap to show how many bushels fit in a single box car, snap, how many box cars it takes to hold a single 5,000 bushel corn contract. How many acres it took to fill a single contract of corn. etc, etc.
I hope that makes sense, I typed it up kind of fast. On top of that I've always been curious how a single farmers has to try to fill or buy or sell his corn considering that maybe he can't grow a whole 5,000 bushels for a single contract. How does it all work? Where does the plan start?
Craig Ritchie in Minnesota, a Non-Farmer concerned about our poor farmers in case I ever wanted to be one.