FLF Yellowstone Farm


Seeding has started on Fall Line Capital’s FLF Yellowstone Farm in Eastern Montana, North of Miles City MT. This farm has 29 pivots of various sizes along with a few acres of flood irrigation to bring water to approximately 2700 acres of farmland. There are five hundred acres of dryland crop production with the remaining portions of this 7000 acre farm are native rangeland and natural wildlife habitat along the Yellowstone River. Recent rains made for great seeding conditions in this region of Montana just like they had for parts of the Pacific NorthWest. Fall Line’s tenants are using a new no-till John Deere disk air seeder that barely disturbs the soil while still placing the seed exactly where it needs to be about 1 inch below the soil surface. You can see in the one photo where it is almost impossible to see where the seeder has planted barley into that residue from last year’s corn crop, but if you look closely to the left of that irrigation pivot in the distance you can see where the air seeder went back and forth and that visual difference is entirely from the old corn stalks being pushed one direction or the other by the airseeder that morning.

Fall Line's FLF Yellowstone Farm

Thank goodness for modern GPS and Autosteer or it would be very difficult to see where to seed in a field like this with great ground cover and no tillage. As you can imagine this low disturbance no-till seeding system is the best method possible for protecting the soil from wind and water erosion and it provides a protective “thatch” layer to hold moisture in the soil and provide an ideal environment for the young seedlings to emerge. It also helps keep the soil cool when conditions often turn hot later in the spring and early summer. Despite it still being relatively cold and freezing each night the malt barley (barley varieties that are made into beer) seed already had a sprout on it after only being in the ground a couple of days when I took all of these photos on April 12th. To start seeding, the FLF Yellowstone tenants were planting barley but as the soil warms up corn will mostly be planted. A myriad of crops have been planted on this farm over the years, including: safflower, soybeans, alfalfa, chickpeas, sunflowers, sorghum, potatoes and dry beans, but this year it will be mostly barley and corn with other crops possible depending on how the spring plays out. Clean barley seed is in the one semi trailer and is conveyed into one tank on the airseeder as you can see happening in the photo and then fertilizer (N,P,K,S) from the other semi trailer is loaded into another tank on the airseeder. As the seeder is pulled down the field there are fluted meters at the bottom of each yellow tank that turn very precisely to meter out the seed and fertilizer in perfect synchronization with the speed of the unit and at the exact rate that is desired. These meters drop the seed and fert into pipes where it is then blown (where the term “air” seeder comes from) to each opener on the air seeder’s main frame so it is essentially blown into the furrow in the ground made by the disk opener. On the air seeder main frame, that is pulled behind the yellow seeder tanks, there is a front row of disk openers that apply the fertilizer in narrow bands between every two seed rows at about 20 inches apart and then the following two rows of disk openers place the seed in rows about 10 inches apart. This means that each seed row is only about 5 inches from the nearest fertilizer band. It is hard to imagine a better way to seed and fertilizer while still keeping the top soil relatively undisturbed.

Fall Line's FLF Yellowstone Farm

The other photo shows a massive pile of Corn Silage on FLF Yellowstone, showcasing the excellent crop of silage that was harvested on this farm last fall. This pile will continue to be whittled away this spring and summer by local livestock operators feeding cattle in the region.

The water will be “turned on” in about a month once the need is there and the risk of frozen pipes has passed. If you search “FLF Yellowstone Farm” you will see that this farm is currently for sale as our intended ownership period for the farm is coming to an end.

Corn Silage on FLF Yellowstone
Scott Day
Scott Day

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