I joked with Timothy, who drove by this morning, that in my “old” age, I’ve decided to use some actual fertilizer on the farm. He remarked that as far as mid-life crises go, this sounded like a pretty tame one.
As I journey toward comfortability with my new role as Soil Consultant, I must learn first hand about some basic fertilizer products. The most interesting load to arrive so far was today’s semi-load of Tennessee Brown Rock Phosphate. Upon studying my latest soil tests, it appears that this land could use more Phosphorus. The most sustainable/organic way to get good clean natural phosphorus is to use a mined rock that is high in P. It made sense to order a whole semi load to get the price down, and so I have enough to sell to my friend, customers and neighbors. A semi load is 22 tons. The rock phos is in one ton totes or bags that are on pallets. The truck stopped in Pamplin yesterday to drop 4 tons off at Ali and Lisa’s farm. The rest came here at 8 this Sunday morning.
I was stressing about the load as my device to move the pallets was untested. My trusted mate the skid loader does not have the capacity to handle more that 1750lbs at a time, so these ton totes were out of the question. So, with the help of my friendly neighborhood IH dealer, Browning Equipment, we obtained some pallet forks for my underemployed Kubota M6950. This tractor has not made itself loved on the farm so far: kinda big and clunky, it hasn’t had many jobs. So, we put the loader assembly back on to it, and added the forks.
With much coaching from the wonderfully friendly truck driver from NH, the good old M6950 JUST BARELY lifted those totes off the flat bed. They hydraulics seems just a bit weak, but it worked. I put a flail mower on the back of the tractor to add some more counter weight. (The fluid filled rear tires act as excellent counter weight as well.) My handy husband Richard helped guide me to pick up each pallet – as I couldn’t see the actual fork tips!
All is well, the load is tarped and covered against rain. Now, to get that rock dust into the new compost piles….not sure how that will work yet. I’ll keep you posted.