RicelandMeadows


Open Pollinated Corn Harvest
A few random ears

October 7, 2020

I have begun picking our 2020 ear corn crop. I am picking an open pollinated variety called “Dublin” from Green Haven seed company in New York.

I have planted open pollinated corn many times in the past, but I have finally found one that is very well suited to our micro-climate here in the snowbelt of lake Erie.

Some of it is quite tall. The ears are large. A few require me to reach up to pick! It is fun husking these whoppers. The horses walk beside the rows as I pick and toss the big ears into the wagon. The ground is still dry, even with the recent rains. So far, this has been a wonderful harvest.

A few ears selected for nest year’s seed

I am saving some nice ears for next year’s seed. It is fun to choose. The small ears are nine inches long. Many ears are a foot long and every now and then we get a Whopper that measures fourteen inches and more!

I have a couple weeks to go before I will be finished, but this job, so far, has been nothing but fun.

Hank, our young stallion just turned 17 months old. He is growing well and will soon join the mares as we pick corn. Currently, he waits in the barn with our filly Bree, but his training is progressing and it’s almost time to accompany our main team. He won’t have to work. He will just walk along, starting , stopping and standing, as I pick. It teaches patience.

Hank October 3, 2020



Speltz Crop 2020
July 13, 2020, 7:50 am
Filed under: July 2020 | Tags: , , , , ,

speltunload

July 13, 2020

Some folks call this crop spelt. We have always called it speltz. It is a small grain like oats, that we grow for horse feed and straw. This year’s crop was part of an experiment that I won’t try again. I planted them on plowed sod. The grasses tried to overtake the grain. I salvaged what I could by setting the combine head high as I harvested them.

spelthopper

We only got about half a harvest because the grasses choked some of the grain out. It will still make great horse feed, it’s just that our yield was down.

speltgrass

The green in the combined mix shows just how much of a problem the grass turned out to be.

speltstraw

I will make the best of it. I mowed the grass and straw mix. I will take care to get the fluffy stuff dry for baling. The animals can decide what they want to eat, then lie down on the rest. It will all work out, just not like I had planned.

On another note, we got two inches of much needed rain. The pastures, gardens and corn crop all jumped from the moisture. Things are greening up again…including t he lawn. It looks like our corn crop will be a success. It surpassed the knee high by the fourth of July criteria. Here it is yesterday 7-12-2020.

mecorn2020

 



Planting and Growing Season

opcorn2020

May 29, 2020

If you strain your eyes a bit, you can see this year’s corn peeping through the ground. The hot weather and recent rains have done their magic. Weeding by cultivation begins soon. More on that in the coming weeks.

Obviously, the field corn for the animals has been planted, but also a little sweet corn for us is also ready to emerge. We have more gardens to plant, but the season is well underway. Potatoes, tomatoes and peppers are planted and enjoying our recent weather.

Horse training and daily chores continue and hay making is right around the corner. Our busy season has begun!

jakebelle

My son Jake’s two-year old coming along nicely. She will join my girls for several jobs soon, like raking hay and hauling round bales. Yes, tis the season!



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



Animal Corn 2014

2014 off to a good start

2014 off to a good start


June 23, 2014

This year I went back to a tried and true variety of field corn for my animals. I used a hybrid for the last two years and had crop failures both years. I will blame the weather, first year drought, last year constant rain and weed pressure. I can’t help but wonder, if this open pollenated corn might have fared better even in those stress years.

Three years ago I planted this corn. Three years ago at harvest time I had large twelve inch ears on tall stalks. My expense that year totaled $140.00 per acre. Those costs included the seed, organic fertilizer and some fuel. The corn produced 90 bushels per acre of ear corn plus, the fodder that the animals ate almost completely to the ground.

My largest cost that year was the organic fertilizer at $100.00 per acre. I didn’t have enough of my own compost that year, so had to buy some “plant food”. I feel that I still made out very well. I had my seed for next year, corn in the crib and quite a bit of dry matter feed in the fodder. The patch had been cultivated with the horses, costing me only my time … and time using horses is an asset to me 😮

Last year’s corn crop cost me $410.00 per acre, my yield was less than 20 bushels per acre. I only recovered any because I was able to turn cattle and hogs into the short, stressed, standing corn to harvest it themselves. I don’t think a silver tongued salesmen will ever sway me again… no matter what the weather!

Our June has been a wet one again. The crops are all planted and so far so good. I am looking forward to making hay while watching the corn grow. The horse drawn cultivator is ready to go, hopefully it will all work out.