Pests on a farm come from all directions. The brush rows, neighboring fields, under ground, in the form of diseases, some even are carried by the wind; and all of these can be a threat to our crops. This morning Matt and I were out in the fields doing a little work to help with pests that fly in from the sky, I’m talking Canadian geese.
It seems like we we involuntary feed these geese with our crops just about all year round anymore. So when the crop is newly planted and small, it is at its most vulnerable.
You can see the bitten off leaves where the geese have been grazing.
So how do we protect from such a moving target? Well there are basically three ways that we do this on our farm.
- Hunting. Effective but time consuming, and we don’t have the time to be out hunting all of our fields every hour of everyday (a point which can be argued extensively by my hunting husband).
- Hazing. Works well when you happen to be out looking at fields when the geese also happen to be out eating. We use special special shotgun shells to help us with this. But again, it takes a lot of time….and it just impossible to haze all of our acres all the time.
- Eagle Decoys. These guys do have the “time” to just sit in a field and deter geese should they show up.
Here’s a quick video of how we make them out in the field.
Just like that, with a wooden stake, a garbage bag, and some white tape, we have 24 hour security. They aren’t perfect or even pretty, but they are cheap and effective.
Using these three methods all together on our farm helps us control what is going on out in the field from one pest. Now if only we could get slugs to be scared of eagles too!
I hear this a lot when talking to people who aren’t farmers. “Why are you so busy right now, it’s not harvest.” or “I bet it is nice to not be so busy, it’s not like the crops are growing right now.” And while yes, both of those things are true. I more often talk to farmers this time of year about how truly busy we are right now. While the crops might not be springing out of the ground with the colder winter weather, we take this time of year to learn more, walk fields and see what’s going on, catch up on industry news, and sometimes take time to play too.
This week alone I have a meeting or sometimes two almost everyday. Today is my day off from meetings, so I’m getting payroll done, paying bills, checking on fields, getting a crew started working in one of our fields, organizing chemicals, picking up more for our next dry day, and looking through the endless pile of paperwork on my desk.
One of our fields that we are going to have to kill off because the slug damage is too severe. We are working on trying to find a new crop to plant this spring so that this land isn’t a total loss this season.
It might not sound like much but trust me, it’s enough. The rest of the week is filled with a GMO speaker, county farm bureau meeting, hazelnut grower meeting, state farm bureau committee meeting, local farmer meeting, ryegrass grower meeting, all with a week ending in a little more play at a chamber of commerce dinner for farmers. I am not complaining though, I really do enjoy getting together with people from our industry. There is always something that you can learn and take away that will be a benefit to your farm. So while we aren’t out in the fields for 14 hours and working 7 days a week, this time of year can be just as busy; just a different kind of busy.
…and I’m still thankful. Mostly for the dedicated guys we have working at the farm. It’s a balmy 28 degrees here this morning,
And on a day that we always give our guys a break, I asked them to please come in. We have a field of grass that gotten eaten by slugs and disappeared in a matter of days. It’s a small field of 10 acres, but lost 9 of that field to slugs.
The ground has been freezing and thawing for over a week so the soil on the top is really lose and very sticky. Except when the ground is frozen, so we are giving it a try.
So yes today I’m thankful that even while in a slight still food coma these guys are still hard workers and know I wouldn’t ask unless it really had to be done.
Stay warm and hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!