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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Meeting Season is Ending and Field Work is Starting Again

Well, farm meeting season has come to an end.  I think I have ate more at conferences and meetings this last month than I have in my own house.  Every year from the end of February to the middle of March it seems that all the businesses try to plan some type of educational or customer appreciation event.  Those of you that work for others might compare most of these events to continuing education.  We feel if we don’t continue to get out and see what others are doing, our operation will not grow and adopt new technology and practices.  We learned or were reminded about marketing strategies, crop insurance, ag prices and how they are tied to the world economic situation, EPA’s new regulations for farms, new techniques and strategies to increase our yields and how there are radical groups out there that would really like to change the way we farm and ranch in America.

We spent the first week of March at Commodity Classic-the national meetings and conference for the corn, wheat, soybean and grain sorghum associations.  I listened to some great speakers that really challenged my thinking which is something we really need to do occasionally.  

We came back to find that the boys and the cows could survive a week without us; however, both sets of grandparents were very happy to see us return as they were in charge of the boys and cows.  We are now 90+% done calving.  We only have one heifer left to calve and she belongs to the boys.  We are trying to convince them that since they are on Spring Break, they can get up and check her late at night.  They haven’t quite agreed to that yet.  We will start vaccinating the calves soon, since the immunity that they received from their mother’s first milk is starting to wear off.

Most of our wheat was planted in October and is a beautiful green right now.  It is actually called Hard Red Winter Wheat.  Now that it is warming up and the wheat is coming out of dormancy(when it is cold the wheat hibernates), the farmer has been busy “top dressing wheat.”    We don’t put all of the fertilizer our crops need on the field at once.  We “split apply” the Nitrogen for 2 reasons.  1. To decrease leaching of the nitrogen into the water supply. 2.  To insure the wheat has the nutrients when it needs it.  We aren’t applying a lot of Nitrogen to the wheat that is planted on ground that was in corn last year.  There are probably other reasons, but I am not the agronomist in the family.  The corn didn’t use very much of the Nitrogen due to the drought and the wheat is really enjoying the leftover Nitrogen in the soil.  The wheat is getting really tall and this warm weather is making us all nervous that a freeze could do some damage to the wheat.

As I said the boys are on Spring Break, we don’t usually go anywhere due to the fact that someone must stay home and take care of the cattle that are still calving and would like to be fed everyday.  We do have some 4-H activities planned and we can’t wait to see our 4-H friends and get into the swing of working on projects for the fair and practicing cooking.  Yum yum!

Thanks to everyone who sent kind works when I told you I was going to do this.  Please let me know if I need to explain anything more or if you have something you would like me to write about.  When you have grown up on a farm and ranch and have a degree in Agriculture, sometimes you take for granted that everyone knows what you are talking about.