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Tree Sunscreen

1 Apr

There are a number of new plantings of filbert (hazelnut) orchards around. Our latest planting was 3 years ago. And it was time to remove the tree guards, which makes them all look very, well, naked!
  This is a tree with a protector. The white tube protects from the hot sun, the cold freeze, herbicide applications, mice and other pests. It’s an important part of a trees life when it gets planted out in “real world” fields.  

 So once they get old enough, usually around year three, it’s time to start the process of hardening the tree bark. To do this however the trees aren’t naked for long. We slowly get them ready for life without a protector by painting the trunk of the tree. Which looks like the photo below.  

 This paint will not protect against as much as the physical barrier provided by the original protector. But it will act as sunscreen and allow for the bark to harden. 

Many times you see painted trees and it’s a very common practice to paint the bark for protection from the sun, just like we put on sunscreen, same for many trees. Which brings me to the reminder to wear your sunscreen today…it’s a sunny day here in Oregon! Happy Friday folks!!

1 Reason I Spray Round-up on Our Farm

21 Mar

We had a few nice days here in Oregon last week, and when it comes to spring time that means all hands on deck! This year in particular has been challenging because the rain just hasn’t stopped enough for fields to get dry in order to do much spring work. So in a matter of three days we were all running around like chickens with our heads cut off, fertilizing, spraying, planting, painting, you name it we were at it!

I had two sick kids at home so my role was mostly logistics manager via cell phone from the house. Nevermind a crying infant and wild toddler…I think I pulled it off pretty well.  But I did get to switch with Matt to enjoy a glorious 75 acre roundup spray application.

Round up in the past few years has gotten a bad wrap. Whether it be studies that it’s found in breast milk or the link to those oh so awful GMO crops, most are all very unscientific and unfounded. But that’s a whole series of blog posts, today I wanted to share why round up has made us more sustainable on our farm.

We have been growing no till spring wheat for about 5 years now on our farm. No till means that we don’t work the ground after the last crop is harvested. This saves not only time, fuel, and money, it also saves all the worms and bugs that have been making homes in the soil.  It gives the soil another year of resting which reduces soil compaction too.

 In order to do this however we have to be able to give the wheat a chance to grow in an uncompetitive atmosphere. If you were to take the field below, notice all the grass and weeds that are growing (basically everything that’s green)?

 That is all volunteer crop and weeds that if we planted into and never killed would be too much competition for our wheat crop and the wheat would grow a little bit, but would never be enough to even be worth harvesting.

So in the fall we spray round up on the fields to kill what grows after the final harvest of grass seed. Then we come back right before or right after planting to get one last application. Also round up only kills what is on the top of the soil, not disrupting any future plantings.

 I proudly wore my Monsanto hat, even though I was applying a generic brand of round up. I can’t help but appreciate having round up as a tool in our tool box that allows us to be better farmers and treat the land well.

Working in the Cold here in Oregon

30 Nov

We have been having some pretty cool weather here in Oregon lately.  Which to tell you the truth, I have been loving!  It’s been that cold freezing and crispy weather, where the sun comes out yet you still have to wear a hat and gloves if you’re working outside.  It is a sign that this year not only is our little baby #2 due to arrive in just a week and a half, but also that Christmas is coming, winter work is gearing up and the hot long days of harvest are behind us for another few months.

  
So what do we do when it’s literally freezing outside?  Some days there is a lot of shop work or office work we find ourselves working on.  Other days you just do what you would have done if it had been 60 out.  Last week was one of those days and Matt and I headed out to the back of the farm to calibrate a sprayer that we had just finished doing some tweaks to.

  
Our sprayer can just about drive itself, it is GPS and auto steer equipped to give us an incredible amount of accuracy when out applying crop tools such as pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer, etc.  So this year we did some updating that made the automatic shut off even more accurate, and as smart as computers are, you still need to calibrate.  So I bundled up and headed out to stand in a field on a freezing cold morning and watch a sprayer turn on and off.  I know…it was thrilling!  It was awfully beautiful though with all the frost, and I’ll say it again, I just love this cold weather!

  
I hope that everyone has a great week.  Sorry I have been not very timely in my posts lately.  I have a list of excuses a mile long but really the only real ones are that family and farming have taken up most extra ounces of my time as of late.  And with our new baby due in only 11 days I doubt things will get better.  So bear with me for awhile, maybe a long while, on my blog posting consistency.

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