Springtime around the farm is a little more advanced around the farm that around your homes, but really, it isn’t much different if you’re a gardener.
Springtime on the farm means its time to plow and plant. Again, very similar to your home garden. In the garden, you spread out fertilizers (sometimes composted manure) and you roto-till. Farmers just use bigger equipment (unless you are a farmer and then your garden usually gets the same treatment).
We spread manure on our fields to apply plant and soil specific nutrients. Depending on the ground and the crop we have planned, it could be a heavy application for a crop like corn or a light application for grasses.
Typically, after the manure is spread, the ground is tilled to incorporate the manure into the soil and reduce losses due to volitization (evaporation). Once that is accomplished, depending upon the plantings previous and the new seedings, it may need to be plowed again. I will use the example of going from corn ground to grass seedings. During these situations the ground is usually plowed twice, once with a set of drags and another time with a set of disks. After the second plowing, the ground is usually planted.
This year, the side hill (shown in the photo above) have no manure applied. It had chemical fertilizers applied due to the soil sampling tests that came back that resulted in lower amounts of nitrogen needed on that ground. The air drill uses air pressure to blow the seeds to the ground.
After the fields are planted, it is time to come back with a roller or culi-packer to ensure soil to seed contact. This will assist with proper growth of the seeds as the ground will provide moisture, insulation and heat as the ground absorbs the heat from the sun.
One of our fields is finally finished. Now all we need to do is to wait for a little rain, some sun…hopefully no more snow and soon we will have a beautiful field of green.
Next step is to get the new perimeter fence put in. The fence guy will be here over the next couple of days and I am super excited to get started on that part of our expansion. When he comes, he is bringing us the materials to put up a five acre temporary fence so that I can start the rotational grazing with four of our cows. The grass is already 4-5″ tall in that field, so it will provide some excellent grazing for the three Dexter cows (who are due to calf anytime) and our Jersey milk cow.
It is nearly time for our bull to go over to the other farm. It will seem odd without him around but I am thinking about bring him back this coming fall to breed the Dexter since I have yet to find a bull to put in with them. I really don’t want the cross breeds but all of the Dexter bulls I have found within a reasonable distance are, well, a little too pricey ($3000+) for my three girls. Artificial insemination doesn’t seem to be an option either…..which is making me think that this could be another form of diversity for our farm as time goes on.
Well, time for me to get to work…there is still a tree in the lawn that needs to get cleaned up and since the lawn is getting a little too high…it’s time for me to mow the lawn for the first time this year. Can you believe it? Usually we aren’t mowing the lawn until mid-April if not later here in NY.
OH…and I will do my best to get some photos of the apple blossoms that are starting to come out already (again, about two weeks early). I have to say, this is the first year I ever remember the crocus and the daffodils blooming within 24 hours of each other. This sure is some crazy weather. It is so dry already that it is scary. Hopefully, this coming rain and possible snow mixture will get some moisture back into the dry dusty ground.
Have a great day! See you soon!