In a Bind
July 19, 2012, 8:37 am
Filed under: July 2012

My corn binder waiting for the harvest

                                                                   July 19, 2012


     Our dry weather has my corn field looking pretty bad. The rows are uneven. The color is not bad but it sure look bedraggled. I was very hopeful of a crop. It started out very good, but now, I am not so sure. Of course it is in a field by the road where all my critics can gawk at it.

     I do quite a bit of work with my horses. I catch the head shaking from many people. I refuse to go completely into this century…heck I barely fit into the last one 😮  They never stop to say WOW when things are going very well, but they line up to scoff when things are not so good… No matter, the whole thing tickles me.

     I spread my manure with the horses. My powercart has a small engine that runs the spreader. We will spread tons of manure in just a few days. My expense for fuel will be much less than my big neighbors. Both of us will get our manure spread, so really what is the difference?

     If my corn crop doesn’t get any rain and is what the experts will call a crop failure, I will bind mine. I will set up shocks and eventually run the fodder through my husker shredder. The ears that make it will be husked and cribbed. The rest of the plant gets shredded. The animals eat what they want, then use the rest for bedding.

     The price of corn is headed for $8.00 per bushel as I write. King Corn will drive the price of many things up. It is good to be mostly grass based in times like these. My corn crop goes mostly to feed our sows, boar and the pigs we grow for market, to supplement their grazing. The sheep and cattle do well on grass and forages that we plant, harvest and store.

     I will take comfort in the fact that I embrace the old ways. I will be thankful that I know how to cut, bind and shock my corn. I will be especially glad this year, for if my crop is not the best, it will still be a success. The hogs may get more pumpkins and squash along with third cutting birdsfoot trefoil, than corn, but come spring, they will emerge fat, clean and happy.

     Some needed rain will save my crop, but it’s always good to have a contingency plan. This farm emits diversity and sustainability. It pays its own way. In todays debt ridden agricultural society, we are the oddballs. Perhaps that is why they scoff, “whatever” ….. it works for me!


4 Comments so far
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Every time I drive past your farm I smile. No matter the size of the corn, the speed at which the manure is spread or the manor in which it was spread, I appricate what you are doing! Sustainability and agriculture use to go hand and hand. In today’s modern world, they have gone down different paths. I admire your way of life and always smile when I see your daily post. Keep up the good work and know that not everyone judges a farmer’s success by the height of his corn!

Comment by Mark

Thank you Mark… It is for the folks like you that I farm in the way my grandparents taught me. I want the world to see that there is indeed a better way. My pigs are on pasture, my egg layers free range and the horses power the farm eating grains and hay that they helped produce.
I want to show people that a small holding can be profitable. It may not provide a man’s entire income, but will supplement it nicely. A family can choose to raise enough to provide a second income, while mom stays home with the children. The whole family works together, shares together and makes memories to last a lifetime.
In my opinion, there is no finer life than one that connects a man to the soil. The connection to his food, farm and family is a “cord” not easily broken. It will also create a “chord” that will strike a memory in the hearts of his family forever. I ask you, “What is more sustainable than that?”

Comment by ricelandmeadows

Could not agree more. My endevers provide a mediocore income line in our overall balance sheet, but the quality of life it provides for my childern, wife and I is immeasureable. We have done well with our gardens and apple orchard, now it is on to chickens! Will let you know how we do:) Many thanks Ralph!

Comment by Mark

Hey…we got some rain! And, might I remind you that the only way one can truly fail, is to have never tried at all, so chin up and shoulders back, I bet you’ll be all ears very soon. 😉

Comment by Charlie

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