Thursday, May 03, 2007

You may have been thinking all I do is research marketing...

Well, yes and no. Mostly, no.

The link above is to my more philosophical side. I keep these two blogs separate because the interests are different.

Actually, posts on both sites have been slow lately, as I've been researching and writing and publishing.

And I've also been farming.

Biggest problems I've been running into lately is the lack of global warming and the drought we've been having is over. We had a big freeze in April, which has pretty much shot the alfalfa hay fields around here - at least for the first cutting. Now our field was pretty shot to begin with - and we had overplanted with orchardgrass, which is the only thing saving it. Nice and green now (since the other grass is covering our poor alfalfa stand).

We'll be hoping our clover hay gives the cows enough protein this next winter to keep them going without having to pay for supplements. Meanwhile, this summer we are putting in a new alfalfa field to replace the other one. But we won't get any hay off that until next year.

Speaking of cows, we are finally starting to get through the mess we had from keeping our Angus bull too long. You want to sell your bull every three years on average so that he is potent enough to keep your cows all "bunched up" - meaning he can service all of them at once and get them "settled" and pregnant within a month or so of each other. So your calves come out all in the same season.

We just sold off four calves as feeders today (someone else is going to fatten them up to weight) and have another six in a local pasture until July so they can then be turned in with the bull. This doesn't get them in sync with the others this next year, but they are all first-year heifers we saved back from the other bull, so they were late and won't be ready for servicing until then. And next year we'll have late-spring/early summer calves (which will have to be weaned mid-winter, instead of the fall).

One thing we did that was smart was to plant a section of ground in rye, right between two regular pastures. This means that we can let the cows in to graze this off several times and save the grass in both pastures just that much. I told you about the drought - well, we barely had enough hay to get the cows through the winter and had to turn them out on pasture early - which isn't good for that pasture, as they can over eat (graze it too short). So having this rye grass extends our pastures a bit.

The next use for that rye ground is to till it all under and plant it with some late corn and a mixture of sunflowers and beans - all as forage, so the cows will have this to munch on during the late summer when the grass has stopped growing. It's an idea which seems to make sense - we'll see how it goes.

But farming always has a bit of try-it-and-see, as well as tried-and-true.

Our garden is pretty much ready - if it would just ease up on the rain a bit.

And another experiment is weeder geese, which I'm planning to weed my sweetcorn and garden this summer. Seems the first year geese can be raised on pasture and will pull up all the grass they can - one book says its about 20 geese to the acre. Then I'll sell the geese this fall to people who want a Thanksgiving dinner or two (I've got 13 goslings right now.)

Hopefully, this will be an interesting way to raise sweet corn. Did I mention that they also fertilize as they go? And their stuff is rich in what corn needs...

Oh - and I plan to turn in the cows on that garden plot when I finish off this fall. That will mow down the grass, corn stalks, and add some more fertilizer. Hope the cows really like to eat...

Well, enough for now. Got to get up early and repair some equipment tomorrow.

Drop by this summer if you're in the neighborhood - I should have some great sweet corn for you.
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