RicelandMeadows


Summer Slumber

Three of our girls resting

Three of our girls resting


August 13, 2014

A very busy off farm work schedule along with the demanding work around this farm, has kept me from writing for a while. I am currently enjoying a few days of rest, thanks in part, to the rain. Even the cows were resting this morning in the recently harvested experimental oats and buckwheat field.

The experiment went well for the most part, but I didn’t seed it heavy enough. I did harvest a few round bales for feeding this winter, but would not repeat the experiment. There are other forages that do better in the same time frame. Sorghum/Sudan grass does better. I proved that too in a side by side comparison this season.

I am an ambassador for both oats and buckwheat in other applications. Buckwheat “mines” the soil for nutrients. When incorporated back into the soil, buckwheat makes those nutrients available for the next crop. Buckwheat also lures all sorts of beneficial bugs, especially pollinators.

Oats grow well in spring and fall. They can be baled or grazed along with harvesting them for the grain and straw. I use them often to follow corn and as a nurse crop for grasses and legumes. The grain makes great horse feed, but I prefer speltz due to my work load and our cold clay soils.

I managed to get all of our second cutting hay made, along with the forage buckwheat and oats and sorghum/Sudan grass. All the bales were made without any rain on them… a real feat this year! I have one more field of clover second cutting, that will be made into balage for our cows. The silage type bales will be wrapped in plastic and resemble big marshmallows.

Our corn, planted June tenth, is doing well. Sure, there is better looking corn around, but my small field of open pollenated corn will feed our sow herd all winter. I am fine with that 😮 The fodder will also be used as a snack for the cows once the ears have been picked and stored.

Plenty of work awaits me, but it feels very good to be caught up for now and enjoying a few days of fun. A trip to Holmes county yesterday, made for laughs shared and memories made with Connie. We bought a “chicken Tractor” from an Amish man who makes them from conduit and small square wire. They are light and portable, yet strong and durable …. more on this topic later.

Our corn towers above the five foot fence

Our corn towers above the five foot fence


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I would love a chicken tractor, at the moment I have my backyard fenced in little plots which is pretty awful to look at and navigate. You have been working hard and your blog has given me some insight into what grain farmers have to do; I used to think it was just, plough, sew, rain, harvest (pardon my ignorance!).

Comment by jennyrecorder

Jenny, I am a small farmer who raises animals and most of their feed. I do raise some grain, but not for sale, but rather it helps complete my goal of self sufficiency. The animal manures feed the soil. The soil feeds the crop and the crop feeds the animals and plants who in turn, feed us.
Your little plots can allow you to farm in a small way. Raise some wheat in one plot. Use the wheat to feed the chickens, if only for one or two days. The straw from the grain will make dry bedding for the birds or great carbon for your compost. You can have a small garden in another plot. Once the vegetables have been harvested, turn the chickens into the plot. They will scratch, eat and poop…making the plot ready for your next adventure. Have fun!

Comment by ricelandmeadows




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