SHELBY, Mont. – It’s the beginning of the growing season at Welker Farms, a time of anticipation as the peas and spring wheat begin popping out of the residue throughout the fields.

Bob Welker and his two sons, Nick and Scott, finished seeding the last of the spring wheat last week, and afterward, scouted their fields.

“The peas are emerging. That’s good, and the spring wheat is coming up. We’re done planting until the winter wheat this fall,” Nick said.

Bob said they had a special treat for viewers of the Welker Farms YouTube channel, while planting the last of their spring wheat fields.

“Torgerson’s and Case IH gave us the opportunity to demo a brand new Case IH Steiger 580 Quadtrac tractor, with a 3555 Precision air cart and 500 DS 60-foot Precision disk air drill. We’ll use it to plant the last of the spring wheat,” Bob said.

They talked to Case IH while at the Commodity Classic farm show, but the machines belonged to their local Case IH and New Holland dealer, Torgerson’s LLC.

They kept seeding with the Big Bud tractor planting system, as well, driving down the long rows with the endless blue skies meeting the edges of the fields.

Nick live-streamed the first run of the Case IH system, which allowed viewers to ask questions on the chat as he operated the 580 planting system.

One viewer wanted to know about sectional control on the Precision air drill, and Nick said the Case IH did have sectional control.

The drill has a double shoot system, which allowed the seed and starter fertilizer to be placed in two different slits in the soil, so the fertilizer doesn’t touch and injure the seed.

In the cab of the 580, Nick showed the red leather seats, including a buddy seat, and wide view with the tall windows. The controls were on a separate arm and it swiveled with the seat.

“This is really nice, and the steering here is so smooth,” he said.

Nick turned on the auto steer and noted the new technologies on the upgraded planter were designed to handle more speed and still give good seed-to-soil contact.

“We’ve never operated a precision air drill before,” he said. The Welkers have an air drill, but not a precision air drill. “We’re putting down spring wheat and urea.”

When he refilled the seed and urea, Nick climbed up to the top of the seed cart by pulling down a ladder. It was a wide walkway on top of the cart with deep compartments.

It was well into night before Nick finished seeding with the Case IH. In fact, he turned on the lights, and even the light underneath the cart, noting the planting system “lit up the entire field.”

When the Welkers finished seeding, they parked the machines in front of the shop. They will still need to spray for weeds when the weeds are at a good height for spraying, plus they plan to finish painting the third Big Bud tractor, waiting patiently inside the shop.

Dark clouds came through on several days and rain showers would hit one field and then another.

Welker Farms has cherished every raindrop they received over the past couple of weeks to help the new seeds with germination and developing a good stand at the start of the growing season.

“We’ll take all the rain we can get in this arid country,” Scott said.

Bob said another rain event came through on May 26.

“We received .75 inches of rain today, so we won’t be doing any field work for a couple of days,” Bob said.

They also spent time in the Big Brute sprayer, hitting the ground with glyphosate to take out any weeds ahead of the plants coming up.

With seeding complete, there will be more spraying to do to keep the weeds down as much as possible.

Meanwhile, the Welker Farm YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/WelkerFarmsInc) hit a remarkable goal last week – reaching more than 200,000 subscribers.

Congratulations to all the Welkers as it is not only the farmers in the family who work on the videos and help with the website, Facebook page and store. All the wives help as well.

The Welkers will now we watching the skies and new plants, hoping timely rains continue to fall on farm fields this month and through the summer.