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Crimson Clover in Bloom 2017

22 May

I may be biased since I grow the stuff, but Crimson Clover has got to be one of the most beautiful crops ever grown!  It is currently in full bloom here in Oregon.  We grow the crimson for seed, which is used in many cover cropping systems, and also in wildlife mixes.  We grow it as a rotation crop on our ground that doesn’t have irrigation. It helps us keep our fields more weed free and it’s one of those amazing crops that actually puts nitrogen back into the soil! 

I was out spraying borders a few days ago, and got myself into a “situation” where I had some time to kill.  The “situation” was my little tractor getting stuck along one of the borders of one of these beautiful fields.  So while I was frustrated with the being stuck for a bit, and hungry because I got stuck at 11:45am (if you know me I rarely miss lunch!), I was also happy to be stranded with such a beautiful view.Here are a few shots of the fields. If you look closely you’ll notice there are a few bees flying around as well.  More accurately, a ton of bees! The whole field was literally buzzing with activity.  We bring in the bees to pollinate our crop, 1 hive per acre.  Without those bees, we wouldn’t have a seed crop to harvest!

So I guess in the end, even a frustrating “situation” isn’t so bad when you get to take in a view like this!

The Weather

22 Jun

The weather is one of those things that doesn’t just annoy us farmers, at times it can infuriate, frustrate, and just plain get us down.  Now I say this all with the disclaimer that I really can’t complain too much here about the weather.  It’s fairly predictable when compared to other areas of the country.  But sometimes, sometimes it just breaks your heart what the weather can do.

Farmers take on incredible risk with the crops that we grow.  We work all year to nurture the plants as best as we know how, take care to meet their every needs.  Then we pray that harvest will come and it will go into the combine, come out as seed, and head to the market (just another thing we can’t control but more on that in another post).

So when Matt and I headed out to check on our crimson clover field to see if it was ready to start harvesting for the day, this is what we saw.

FullSizeRender(8)Not anything too crazy, just looked like a usual whirlwind type of damage, a fairly big pile, but nothing that was too devastating.  It wasn’t until we looked up from that pile to see the real damage.  It’s hard to see in the first photo and it didn’t look too bad even then looking from the seat of the pick-up.


It wasn’t until we walked out to see the true damage of what a whirlwind can down as it races across a field of swathed clover.


I was devastated.  All the seed for a large portion of our field was now no longer on the stem that is supposed to hold on to it while we harvest it with the combines, it was laying on the ground where it would lay and never be harvested.  The idea of a vacuum jokingly crossed all our minds, but that just isn’t feasible.  It’s one of those frustrating days followed by the days of having to now go deal with the stems, manually pitchforking them into the harvesters so they don’t get plugged taking in such large piles.  Just another thing that you get to deal with as a farmer, grin and bear it is what comes to mind with many of these situations, grin and bear it and pray it doesn’t happen again anytime soon.  It’s that eternal farmer optimism that keeps us all going on to the next crop, the next year, the next challenge.

As Will Rogers once said, “The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.”

Step Two of Crimson Clover Harvest

19 Jun

We have started combining the Crimson clover for this year. With this warm weather we have been having, it only took 6 days to dry the crop enough to start harvesting.  

Since the crop is so early this year, about 10 days ahead of last year, our regular crew of drivers is at their tractor safety school this week. So the job has gone to Matt and I for the time being.  
 Matt in the yellow and me in the green. I also had a great helper to pass the day, my niece Lila came for a ride! 

 In her very practical combining outfit of course! Happy Friday everyone and happy harvesting farmers!

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