Drilled my hybrid pearl millet this weekend...or tried to

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Steve Wilson

Well-known member
May 29, 2008
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Mid Missouri
That pasture we call the Outback. The epic struggle of my life it seems. I sprayed it with RoundUp the weekend before because it was just a patchwork of weeds and existing fescue. The reeds canarygrass, timothy and clover that I drilled in it a month ago was still pretty teeny, hiding under the weeds and grass. Hoping for the best I sprayed the whole thing with RoundUp. Well, most all of it died. Not unexpected but I was going to push the issue and settle it once and for all. If I have to start over, fine. But I'm not going to try to deal with a patchwork pasture any longer.

The vegitation was too tall to just disk under, so I hooked my trusty little Massey Ferguson 165 diesel to the 8 foot bushhog and mowed all of the tall areas. Then went to the elevator with my larger Allis Chalmers 190XT for a short buggy load of fertilizer. When I originaly drilled the pasture a month ago, I spread 30 units of Super Urea and 20 each of phosphorus and potasium per acre. Thinking that the grass and weeds had already consumed some of my fertilizer, I spread another 30 units of Ammonium nitrate and another 10 of P & K for good measure. I know that the fertilizer taken up by the existing vegitation will be returned when the plants decompose. But I wanted the millet to start off with a decent kick.

Then I hooked up the big Allis to my 18 foot disk and intended to give the pasture "some be nice now" I didn't cuss. Only to have the darned injector pump act up before I had disked up a 1/4 mile strip. Uggggg. Unhooked from the disk and limped it back to the shop. I snatched the smaller Allis 185 and pressed it into service pulling the disk that I suspected would be too big for it to pull with the disk wings folded down. Much to my surprise it did amazingly well. Disked it about 3 or 4 inches deep in two directions.

They needed the 185 to stack some round bales of clover they traded for, so I lost the use of that tractor. OK, I've pulled the county's 10 foot Great Plains no till drill with the little Massey before, that will be fine. Suzy wanted to buy the millet seed from the local MFA (Missouri Farmers Assc) instead of from Missouri Souther Seed, through the elevator. I didn't argue about it. I climbed up on the drill and opened the seed box that I wanted to use. Blankety blank.....there's about half a bushel of soybeans left in here from the last guy that had it rented. Alright, there goes another good bit of time getting it cleaned out. It's getting late on Sunday afternoon and I still have about 3 hours of drilling to do. They have been calling for rain all weekend.

I start lugging the seed bags out of the pickup truck. FINALLY, some good news here. What they sold her was Tiffleaf 3 millet. I told her....You did good girl. The fellows on the forum keep talking about how this variety of millet is some of the best stuff there is. So, loaded up, off I trundled on the little 165 with this monsterous drill behind me. The drill weighed as much as the tractor. LOL

On my third lap around the field, the wind picked up, temps dropped and large rain drops started hitting the hood of the tractor. Chilly wind from the east and dark clouds, this can't be good. No sooner than I had that thought, the skies opened up. Thunder rolled. I dove the tractor across the drilled ground and under some trees to wait it out. And wait I did. Drenched to the skin in the meantime. After a minute or two, it was obvious that planting was finished for the day.....and maybe more. Of course, I'm trapped at the very farthest point in the field from the farmhouse. Nothing else to do but abandon the tractor and walk back home. Only 3/4 of a mile.

This is really the thing that should have been done from the start. Kill everything, disk the field, plant a seasonal crop that will out compete most any weeds that sprout up and then plant the permanent pasture this late summer. It looks like we will just bale the millet. Should get two or three cuttings I guess. We will fertilize after each cutting, weather conditions permitting.

I've planted hybrid pearl millet the last few years and can't speak highly enough about it. But I'm thrilled that we wound up with such a marvelous variety. I'm really looking forward to seeing how it does.

By the way, we hauled the 190XT off to the dealer Monday morning. They are rebuilding the injector pump and I told them to do a pop off test on all the injectors and make sure all of them are opening up in spec or rebuild any that aren't.

That Outback better start realizing that I'm going to win this battle sooner or later.
From what I have been told by everyone you should of left the soybeans in the box and just added your millet everyone around here plants there millet with beans and say it makes great hay

wife just picked up my millet seed today gonna start drilling it tomorrow nite after I get off of the dozer planting 12 acres of millet and 25 acres of haybeans , I just baled rye off of these fields and I fertilized with turkey litter last fall at 2 tons per acre and top dressed the rye with 64lbs of N per acre last month everyone tells me I don't need any more N on the millet than what I have already applied until after I cut it what do you think
Sounds like you got it whipped. Only thing I would suggest is to have a backup plan for the hay. If at all possible, plan to make baleage out of it if the weather doesn't cooperate. It takes several days to properly dry millet and if the weather isn't favorable, baleage is a wonderful escape route.
Rode and walked around the OutBack friday evening, it had rained most of the week up until thursday morning. It still looked a touch to wet to drill, so I decided to put finishing it up until the morning. Only to be woken by the sound of strong winds about 5:30. At first I thought it was rain, but it wasn't. Still an unpleasant sound. About 6:00 I woke up again and it was definately raining. Not hard, but still rain. I got up, started the coffee and took a shower. When I got out, it was raining pretty good. Well dang, the first wave knocked out the morning drilling, this one probably took out the afternoon. Then it really cut loose for a few minutes. Rats, that one likely killed any chance for tomorrow.

When we were doing the morning milking, I told my buddy Trigger that it wouldn't bother me if the sun shined and wind blew 30 miles an hour all day. I would be more than happy to tie everything on the farm down. Sure enough, it blew like the dickens all day and bright sun. I was drinking a glass of ice tea on the porch around 3:00 and her brother called to see how I was getting along. Just sitting here looking at the disked bean ground across the road changing color before my eyes. I think I just might walk back to the tractor in the upper pastuer about 5:00 and see if it is dry enough to fire it up. Sure enough, it was suitable for drilling.

I pulled out of the field at a little after 8:00, just as the sun was dipping behind the treeline. Whew! Done at last. Now for a few more rains to get it off to a good start.
Ask and ye shall receive.......The wind is back. Gusting to 22mph and headed your way.

Now send some of that rain down and make good for the trade. :nod:

Glad you are off to a good start. The "4 days to rain forecast" is now 2 weeks old and still forecasting rain in 4 days. I planted 10 acres of pearl millet and 4 acres of peas on April 24th. Got a nice rain to get them up but haven't gotten any since. Been hitting the 90's the past few days and with 15 mph winds the millet will probably be toast by the time we get any rain.

Put a shredder across 20 acres of haygrazer Wednesday. What was left of it was getting knee high and trying to head out. Was hoping for some rain Saturday that might would have gotten it to regrow something that I could put cows on without running the risk of killing them. (Nitrate poisoning and Prussic Acid poisoning)

Wish it were late August like it looks like it is. Maybe we would get 3-4 storms from the tropics to deliver another 1 1/2 inches of rain like we did last year. :roll:

Looks like you are winning your battle. Mine is wearing me down.

Yeah. I'm gripping. Cause THIS SUCKS!

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