Thursday, December 15, 2016

Harvest 2016

A harvest post in December you ask? 
Yes.  A harvest post in December. 
This fall was BEAUTIFUL.  The weather was awesome.  Once harvest began, we didn’t stop.  As great as that sounds now, it was rather challenging to keep up with. 
Here are some highlights:
  • Chopped earlage on 9/8 (which is now being used for our cattle feed)
  • Soybean harvest started on 9/27 and ended on 10/11 (we did a few days of corn in there, too)
  • Corn harvest went from 10/12 to 10/24
  • Drilled cover crops from 9/21 – 10/29
  • Baled cornstalk bales (to be used as bedding and feed for cattle)
  • Spread cattle and pig manure (fertilizer!!)
  • Moved cattle from the pasture to cornstalks
We finished up early compared to the past 3 years of harvest:
  • 2016: 9/27-10/24
  • 2015: 9/26-11/04
  • 2014: 9/29-11/08
  • 2013: 9/27-11/03
My role was a lot different this year.  In the past, I’ve mostly helped in the office.  This year I did cattle chores every morning, drilled cover crops, baled cornstalk bales, and tried to keep up in the office.  I’m way more involved, and I’m happy to say I’m still (somewhat) sane! 

A selfie with the family!
Some of the almost 500 cornstalk bales

Drilling cover crops.  This was my view a lot this fall

2016-09-27 (2)
The combine :)
The cattle came from the pasture onto cornstalks and cover crop

Monday, September 12, 2016

Earlage Chopping Highlights

We chopped earlage last week (9/8) and it went really well. 

Normally when you harvest corn you just harvest the corn: the cobs, husks, and stalks are thrown out the back of the combine. Earlage you harvest the corn, husk, and cob (we use for cattle feed). Silage you harvest the majority of the plant: corn, cob, husk, and stalk (for feed, also).

The decision to feed earlage for our cattle is basically for the ration we feed to the cattle. Earlage has more roughage than straight corn, but less roughage than silage. So, if we feed corn we'd need to add more roughage (like hay), and if we feed silage we'd need to feed more corn to balance out the ration needed. Earlage is an in-between and works for our rations and feed options.

Here are some of the "highlights" from the day as taken through Snapchat.  I didn't get the end of the day because I ran out of battery!

I was in charge of a wagon like the one ahead of me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Cover Crops 2016

COVER CROPS!!  I hear about it all the time in the news, at field days, etc.  But I learn the most on our own farm.  This year was difficult in deciding what to do for cover crops.  As most probably know, budgets are tight this year.

We sat down and finally decided the plan (always subject to change on the farm, mind you).  Our plan is:
  • Use a Hagie to plant our corn acres with rye.  These fields will be harvested later, so they’ll have more time to grow. 
  • Use a drill to plant our soybean acres with rye.
  • We have one corn field that will be harvested first for earlage - that field will also be drilled. 
We’ve never used a drill before, so this *could* be interesting! 

The Hagie came out on August 31st and seeded the first of our acres to rye.  This machine is pretty cool!  We used a Hagie this year because the weather was perfect for it!  I am excited to see what the cover crop looks like when we harvest the corn!

Cover Crop History:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Training Needed...

Pepper is now pretty used to the farm...but still needs some training on what to do with the cattle :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First Day Of School

Where does the time go?

Wyatt is headed to 1st grade and Charlotte to Kindergarten!!  They will ride the bus to and from school with no daycare.  We've been lucky to have such great daycare.  

I always shed a tear on our adventures into the new.  I'm sad to see them grow, but so very very happy God gave them to us.  ❤️

Annual school photo by the tree!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Our Help

We are trying to get as much help as we can from these two on their last couple of days of summer!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New Pigs

50 pound feeder pigs came to the farm today. They will stay for about 5 months (and around 250 lbs) until they are ready for market.

The barn (above) all cleaned and ready for the new pigs.

Already enjoying their new home.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Organic: Yes or No? And, Why?

What are your thoughts about what "organic" means in the grocery store?  Do you tend to buy only organic? Do you question what it is, but buy it anyway? 

I don't want to start a big debate, but I'm curious as to what tendencies you have in the grocery store.

What questions do you have for me on our 'conventional' farm?

I thought this article was a good explanation of organic:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July Soybeans

Our soybeans. In between the row you can see the corn stalks we no-tilled into and some dead rye cover crop. Now all we need is some rain.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fed Like Our Cattle

Every day the cattle get fed with a mixture of feed specially made for them.  The mamma cows, pregnant cows, cattle fed for beef, etc: they all have what we call a ration of protein, energy, roughage, vitamins, and others.  Some rations are made to help the animals gain weight, lose weight, or just maintain weight.

I wish someone would feed me the ration I need...then again, I don't want to be compared to a cow :)

This feed ration (mix) is made up of cracked corn, hay, distillers, and a balancer (vitamins & minerals).  The cattle here are being fed for beef.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Snow Removal

Last week we received about 11 inches of snow.  And it blew (both literally and figuratively). 

This week, we got another 1-2 inches of snow and it blew again.  

So, we've been stuck at home a lot in the past 2 weeks.  Luckily, the power never went out, so we were able to enjoy the modern luxuries of heat, lights, internet, and television. 

After snow events, or on days that the snow blows into drifts, the monotonous task of moving snow begins.  In order to feed the livestock (and get out of the driveway) we have to get it moved.  Since AJ is the one to do chores, he is tasked with snow removal!

I got a new camera, so I got to test it a little.  Take a look at some of those piles!!

Snow Pile Fun
The snow piles are fun areas to play.

Snow on the Farm
This drive leads out to our earlage pile and bales.

Snow on the Farm
Can you see the 3 piles?

Snow on the Farm
The hog barn also needs snow moved.

Snow on the Farm
Lucky AJ at least has a cab!

Above is a video of AJ moving the snow. 

And, while AJ is fighting the snow piles, I am fighting the paper piles.
Paperwork on the farm