Friday, March 27, 2009

Hey I'm super organised this year.

Well I had quite a productive day today, but I must apologise, in all my excitement of achieving great and wonderful things I forgot to take any pictures for you. Oh well, I may be able to find some old ones on the computer that will do ('course they may be completely unrelated to the days activities, but ya get that). What I achieved today was simply to get the air seeder, and bar (the cultivator - like the thing that digs the ground and plants the seeds) out of the shed to start getting them ready for seeding. Sounds simple doesn't it? Oh no it's not! Like many jobs on the farm a simple job usually entails a complex series of other small jobs just to achieve a simple task. Let me tell you about getting the air seeder out... Ok well firstly I had a quick wiring job to finish in the John Deere 8200 tractor - the one that pulls the seeding equipment. I'm in the process of making a switch box for the air seeder clutch (the bit that puts it in and out of gear), which needs a couple more wires rigged up in the cab of the tractor. So a bit of soldering and heat shrinking and the wiring was done. Next, well you see the airseeder and bar aren't actually at my home farm, so I had to take the tractor over to another farm (we call Bob's - as he owns it, we lease it) where the air seeder is in the shed there. It's about a 20min drive there (in a tractor). Having arrived there I had to pull the bar out first, as it's a little tricky. So I backed up the tractor and hooked onto the bar. The tricky bit is that it's is quite high when it's all folded up, and only just fits under the door, and I mean ONLY JUST. No worries when it's in there, just the getting it out (and in for that matter too). So having hooked it all up with hydraulic hoses and electrical cables, I then had to start up the tractor again (I had to stop it to connect the electric cables as they control the depth computer on the bar - and you know what happens when you don't plug in and un-plug computer cables right - they have little hissy fits). So I start it up and raise it up to max height using the hydraulics (if you're unsure what hydraulics are ask me later and I'll fill you in - it'd take to long now). Having lifted it up I could then remove the transport stops. They are safety precautions, the idea is that the whole thing doesn't drop while you're driving along the road. I also use them when I'm working under the bar, and don't want it dropping on me ('cause that wouldn't be good - unless you're a beneficiary of my will), and when we store the bar in the shed so it doesn't slowly creep down over time and end up with all the tynes (the diggers) hard on the floor. Now the stops are out of the way I can lower the bar down. I need to do this to get it as low a possible to get it under the door. So basically it's only just not dragging on the concrete floor. Actually that's not quite true.. 1 tyne must be lower than the others and that one was dragging. And the top of the bar did tip the door runner as it went under. No damage other than a bit of a scrape on the concrete. Ok that's just the bar out of the shed. Now the air seeder. That is the "box" bit that holds the seed and fertilizer while I'm seeding and as I go along it measures out the right rate of the said seed and fertilizer. It has a fan or blower on the front, that is driven off the tractor (from the PTO - it has a 540rpm pto). That's where the "air" part of air seeder comes from. It blows the seed and fertilizer back through hoses to place the seed right behind every tyne. Another name for the air seeder "box" is an air cart. Ours is a John Shearer Mk 3 tow between (it goes between the tractor and the bar - some go behind). I think I've got a picture of it on file - lets have a look..
Yep, there she is. A few years back during seeding just refilling with seed and super out of the ford tipper (as seen in earlier blogs for sheep feeding). That's one of the lads on the back there when he was little. Also found a pic of the bar..

That's when she was shiny and new. So about 4 years ago. That's unfolded so you don't get a real feel for the height of it.

Now what was I talking about... that's right getting the air seeder out. Well the problem with putting things in the shed for most of the year is that other things get put in front of them, and they have to be moved first. Which is fine, but they usually need a battery (and probably oil and water - but luckily not in this case). But unfortunately in this case it had a flat tyre. So before I could move it (it was the old David brown tractor) I had to pump it up. This is the tractor.

And that front right tyre is the one that was flat. So pumping it up. I actually ducked over to the shed earlier with the ute to do this. We did have little compressors in the utes but they, well basically they're stuffed. The next option was Bob's air compressor in his workshop, which is not only also basically stuffed, but also just a little to far away. So I brought over an air hose and connected it to the air lines on the Kenworth... also stored in Bob's shed.

Hey there it is, unloading fertilizer last year, into the very same shed I've been talking about. In fact where the super (fertilizer) is going is where the air seeder bar was. Ok so I had to fire up the Kenworth to build up her air, then I could run the air hose and pump up the tyre.

The Old David Brown is probably the most reliable tractor we have on the farm and no matter how long it is stored it aways fires up with half a crank of the starter motor. Which is more than I can say for the John Deere, but that's another story. So it was no problem to move the old David Brown out of the way once the tyre was sorted. I did this earlier then went back home for the John Deere.

Next problem was that I had to unhook the bar again, because the box goes between. So the reverse procedure of hooking up, and the hydraulics weren't quite as cooperative this time. I didn't get all the oil pressure out of the lines and that gets a bit messy, but mainly when hooking up again. Any way then back in, hook up the air seeder box, connect it all up and drag it out. That's a very simplified description. Then back both the tractor and air seeder box back onto the bar, hook up again which was messy having to release the oil pressure out of the hoses before I could get the couplings together. Then off we go, and bring the whole unit back here to the main farmhouse.

I spent the rest of the afternoon running wires under the air seeder box for my new switch box. So that involved a bit of soldering and heat shrinking too. I also discovered that soldering irons don't work as effectively outside, even when there is hardly any breeze. They just don't seem to get quite hot enough. Either that or I need a new soldering iron. So I got that all wired and connected to the tractor. All I need to do now for my switching box is put in a couple of sensor switches back at the air seeder clutch... and actually finish the wiring inside the box itself.

The sensor switches

The switch box, not quite finished yet

Any comments or questions feel free to ask.

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