Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good Stewards in Farming & Life Part 1

Yea it rained and more is expected, this is good. Fall rains are needed to get the winter crops that have recently been seeded to begin their germination process. We, as with most farmers, do crop rotation on our fields to manage weeds and diseases. If one kind of crop is planted year after year in the same field, plant diseases will thrive and thus reduce the yields for the farmer. So by rotating crops, we can effectively kill the diseases. Also by rotating crops, we can use different kinds of crop treatments to control the weeds as some are geared to kill broad leaf plants, while some are geared to kill a grass type plant. Typically, the rotation is winter wheat (planted in October), then the next year that same field would be seeded (in late March/April/early May) with a Spring wheat, then the 3rd year it would be seeded in the Spring with a legume, usually garbanzo beans.

My husband, Joe, and brother-in-law Jay finished seeding wheat and mustard at the Tammany farm and winter wheat at the Genesee farm. There is still some field work left on the fields that will be seeded next March/April. This is the tractor and seeding drill that was used. This particular tractor has a special GPS unit mounted wherein it helps the driver to know where he has been in the field so we don't overlap seed and fertilizer. Not only is this a cost saving measure, but a time saving one too. The unit also helps with ratios of fertilizer to put in the ground based upon the soil composition.

This GPS unit was purchased as a matching funds federal grant as it was a costly item, but one we felt was worth the cost and effort to try for the grant. We feel we can be better farmers by utilizing state-of-the-art technology. The grant requires a quarterly report on it's usage and part of the requirement was community education. Joe has made presentations to other farm related groups as well as to our visitors when we did our Dinner on the Farm series in September.

Even when we are not hosting farm dinners, we feel we are ambassadors for the Ag industry in the everyday things that we do, the organizations we belong to and our interactions with others.

More to come on the Good Steward subject, so stay tuned!