Monday, October 28, 2013

Outdoor Observations

Okay. My goal was to do a post for my blog once a month. I'll change that goal to once a month on average. :)

Harvest for us began on September 27th. The bean crop is harvested, and we are already over half way done with corn. The harvest isn't as bountiful as we hoped, but it is a harvest. The kids and I are trying to enjoy all of the beautiful fall days that we can (and while the sun is still out!).


So, the real reason I haven't posted is because I didn't think I had much to post about. Well, now I am behind because there is a lot to post about!

We were able to be involved with a Water Quality Tour last week (this will be my next post :)), and it was great! That is what kicked off me getting inspired to write again!  Then, over the weekend my Mom came up and I started on my Christmas Shopping List (BOOM).  While I was obviously busy, AJ was out putting on fertilizer with our strip till bar (another post…). Today, I was lucky enough to help keep an eye on….(drumroll please)….MANURE APPLICATION! On the farm, this is what I get excited for!

A few facts:

  • The manure from our hog building is 'liquid.'
  • We take samples and send them into a lab to see what nutrients are in our manure (think of it like the nutrition labels on your food).
  • We then follow rates that are calculated on a per acre basis from that analysis.
  • We do not apply the manure ourselves. We hire a custom manure applicator who need to be certified through the state to apply manure.
  • This year we applied the manure by dragline. This just means we pumped the manure through a hose directly from the pit to the field (see below pictures).
  • While pumping the manure, the pit is being agitated (stirred). 
    • This can release dangerous gasses, so no person is to enter the barn. We went over every 2 hours today to check on the pigs and make sure they were okay by peeking through the curtain from the outside of the barn.


Here they are pumping directly out of the pit.


                        The hose that leads from the pit to the tractor.


                 Manure application in action :)


Agitation pump

Manure is a big reason we decided to have livestock on our farm. By using those nutrients, we don't need to purchase as much commercial fertilizer. It gives us a more sustainable farm by creating a circular process: the crops feed the animals, the animal manure fertilize the crops, and so on.

If you have forgotten what I do, don't forget my blog post: I Work With Manure. I'm lucky to "bring my work home with me." ;) 

What questions do you have about manure application?