Cropping Decisions and the Weather

The cropping rotation on our farm, which includes around 11 different crops every year, is planned about 5 years out.  We plan that far out because there are a lot of things to consider.  Examples such as, which crops can follow others, keeping the mix of crops at the right acreage amounts, assessing our risk with each crop, what we can get contracts for, overall economics, level of labor intensity, etc.

But also the weather…oh that darn weather.  When we get a year like this past one, it doesn’t just mean that we wear our muck boots and rain gear more, it means that we have cropping decisions that are made for us by Mother Nature.

This field of green beans is the perfect example.

  • Plan A: Plant to Tall Fescue.
    Didn’t get the ground worked in time due to many circumstances.  On to plan B…
  • Plan B: Plant Perennial Ryegrass.
    It started to rain in early October….it never really stopped until that planting window was well closed.  So plan C it is…
  • Plan C: Plant peas.
    This would have worked, but then we got a contract for another crop that could potentially be better economically.  And finally Plan D…
  • Plan D: Green beans were planted….phew!

This is a bit oversimplified in many respects, but I thought it was a good way to show how much we are the mercy of the weather.  Other factors absolutely come into play, but the weather is one that we just can’t control and is tough to protect yourself against because it can be so unpredictable.  So the weather, economics, cropping decisions…they all play a part in the answer to what seems like the very simple question, “How do you decide what to plant in what field?”

So now this field when I drive by, just sort of exhausts me…it’s been a long road, and one that I will see happy to be harvested.  Of course it’s so we can go ahead and try again next year, Mother Nature willing of course!

Good Morning

It’s been busy around here lately. Making the change from harvesting crops to getting the ground ready for planting for another year makes this season of farming extremely busy, many times frantic, and sometimes peaceful. 

Here’s what the start to my day looked like. Out moving irrigation in a grass seed field on a fine crispy September morning. It was peaceful; I know it won’t last because even a farmer can stay out and hide in a field all day!  But at least for a few early minutes I enjoyed it!  Happy Friday!!

Photo Friday, Grass Seed Harvest

Grass seed harvest has begun…well then it started raining so it stopped.  But it will pick up again once things dry out.  Until then here are a few photos from the first few days.


This is tall fescue seed that is being harvested.  It has been cut and cured on the ground for about a week.  Once harvested the seed is trucked to a cleaner, tested for weeds and germ, then sent all over the world for golf courses, laws, sports fields, etc.


Here are some photos from day 1 of harvest out in the field.  We run two combines, one John Deere and one New Holland.



Davor is learning the life of harvest, which means family time is spent out in the fields.  The boys and I bring dinner to the crew every night, and sometimes Hoot and I get to drive the “bines” (as he calls them) while the drivers take a break.  I use the term “sometimes” very lightly, it’s hard to keep that boy out of those combines!



 

 

So while this break because of the weather is frustrating, we will get back out into the fields soon.  Until then we will enjoy a little slower pace this weekend, and pray for more sunshine to show up…very soon!!