Tag Archives: Slugs

Walking the Newly Planted Wheat Fields

8 Mar

Good morning!  Here is another edition of Photo Friday…

Yesterday was a beautiful day!  So I set out to check on our newly planted wheat fields and see how they were coming along.  At this point, when they are newly planted slugs are their worst enemy!  We not only plant with bait next to the seed, we also at times have to spread on top of the ground to help keep the population of hungry wheat seed eating machines to a minimum.

2013-03-07_16-21-19_574This is a wheat seed, in a furrow.  You can see the dead grass that is also in there, that is because we no-till planted this wheat in the ground.

2013-03-07_16-20-59_934This little guy is growing fast!

2013-03-07_16-23-56_154Finally I found one that made it through the dirt and is sprouting…and not a slug in sight!

2013-03-07_16-21-40_314What a darn beautiful day to be outside walking fields!!!

Top 8 Winter Jobs on Our Farm

25 Feb

I have always said that farming is a pretty seasonal way of life.  After being back on the farm for seven years now, I think that I might need to re-phrase that a bit.  Yes it’s seasonal in the sense that you work 14 hour days, 7 days a week usually just during harvest in the summer, but it’s never to the point where nothing is going on.  To tell you the truth, sometimes I feel like a nice day in January can be more stressful and crazy that a harvest day in July!

So here are just a few of things that we’ve been up to this winter that has been keeping us at Kirsch Family Farms nice and busy!

1. Spraying – We spray most of our crops in the winter with pre-emergent herbicides to help us get a head start on weeds once the soil starts to warm up.

2013-02-14_15-06-28_362

2013-02-14_15-06-36_365

2. Meetings – Whether it’s learning about safety, new pesticide options, new regulations for employees, research information from the college, farmers in the winter can probably attend a meeting a day for a 3 month period.  Lots of good information, but also makes you ready to get out in the fields instead of sitting in a room listening.

IMG_20130129_200747

3. Fixing – There are many times that equipment will break during the busy season and we just don’t have time to fix it right then and there.  Many times you use a patch to get you through the season (aka duct tape at times haha) and then you make sure to bring it in the shop over the winter to fix it right.

4. Blight Pruning – We have to prune out the blight that hits our hazelnut orchards every year.  We use a pruning tower and cut it out, stack the brush and then push it out of the orchard in the spring time.

2013-01-26_09-04-38_51

5. Paperwork – The not so fun side of farming, but a reality for any business.  From end of the year payroll reporting, to budgets for all the crops for the coming year, it’s not fun but it is a nice way to stay out of the rain.

6. Planting – We plant spring wheat this time of year, we have a large window of time, usually until later in the spring.  We just did a few acres last week, as you can see we also planted it with slug bait in the row.

2013-02-21_08-40-51_349

7. Slug Killing – It’s been an awful year for slugs, seems like we just can’t get ahead of them, so this year I have done a lot of not so glamorous slug hunting.  Turns out I can always find them, killing them is another issue.  Hopefully next year they will slow down a bit!

2012-11-06_10-32-11_920

8. Never Ending Project List – I think every farm has this list, full of all the things that you never quite have time for but usually tackle one or two a winter.  This year we are doing two, first we took apart an old D2 cat and are putting it back together.  And secondly we are remodeling my old house into an official farm office!

13599200574501359438316522

Farming…It’s more about Slugs than Glamour

12 Nov

First of all I would like to thank all our service men & women!  I know I’m a day late for Veterans Day, but I would like to say “Thank You!” just the same…

Farming is dirty, it’s messy, truth be told most of the time it’s rather grimy.  But never did I think about some of the jobs being somewhat, well, very disgusting.  During the winter months we have a pest that has seems to creep up more and more as the years go by.  They start about 18 inches in the ground and slowly slime their way up when they get hungry.  Once they get to the top and see the beautiful night sky they start to eat, and eat, and eat.  They eat so much that if they happen to find themselves in a sweet tasting baby grass field, they can eat 5 acres in a night, with nothing slowing them down.

One of my more disgusting jobs on the farm…finding and killing slugs.  Now these guys aren’t your typical household banana slugs roaming around out there.  They are smaller, faster, love to reproduce type of slugs.  Not these guys…

Our slug issues look more like this…

Yes, grossly enough those are tiny little slugs, all gathered around getting a late night snack from some blue colored bait.  Thousands…we have thousands of these little guys, an they can be extremely destructive to our grass fields.  Here are a few slimy facts about the grey field slug…

1. You can have up to 1/2 million per acre!

2. In a field that is high in population they can eat several tons of organic matter per month.

3. They lay up to 500 eggs in their 2 year lifespan.

4. They hatch new eggs every 2-3 weeks.

5. They can move up to 30 feet in one night.

Here are some pictures of a field that I decided to spray with liquid bait just the other day.  I decided this because of all the slugs that I found crowded around the bait station (pictured above) and also because the field was look pretty weak in certain areas.  Below you will see what I mean by weak…

Pretty good part of the field, very green!

Still green, but more brown areas that have been eaten down.

Not sure if this part of the field will even come back for harvest this summer.

So as you can see, those slimy buggers that might just seem annoying to a homeowner with a garden or flowers, they are a huge threat and have to be monitored constantly this time of year.  Not just to save this year’s crop, but also to make sure that the numbers don’t get up to a half million per acre in the years to come.  Also one of our best defenses to this problem is tillage, a reason why no tillage or minimum tillage has become a tough thing to do in our area.

And to all of you who are going to suggest putting beer out in our fields…we don’t do it, alcohol abuse hello!! 🙂

%d bloggers like this: