This Week in Ag… 3/30/15

baby lambs

Motherly instincts don’t always come naturally, when that happens the farmer steps in to help out.  Bottle feeding or finding replacements moms are some of the things that must happen in order for a new baby to survive.  These crossbred Southdown/Suffolk sheep are bred for motherly instincts.  Luckily this is one proud Mama!

snow and cover crops

Just because the calendar says its spring doesn’t mean it is actually spring.  Snow in late March made it a little cold for some farmers to want to be in their shops.  It didn’t however stop them from thinking about #soilhealth and #covercrops.  Picking the right cover crop can be challenge depending on what you are hoping for.  Sometimes picking the cover crop is as easy as choosingwhat you have equipment for, other times it is more complex.

One local farmer has a more complex formula for picking cover crops.  He considers:

  1. Promoting mycorrhizal fungi
  2. Breaking up compaction
  3. Increase soil organic matter
  4. Nitrogen Fixation
  5. Weed Suppression

seed delivery

Signs of spring are a good thing when snow keep making an appearance.  One of those signs last week was a seed delivery.  Farmers have plenty of options when it comes to picking a brand and a variety.  Diversifying what is planted helps them spread their risk.  Different varieties are bred to perform better under different stresses and conditions.  By diversifying what is planted,farmers have a better chance of one field making up for another if a problem should arise with one variety.  Just like you wouldn’t put all your money in one investment, farmers plant multiple varieties.

customer appreciation 2

March doesn’t seem like the best to time of year to hold a customer appreciation event, but for a farmer it’s a good time of year.  April-December tend to be pretty busy around the farm with planting, tending to the crops, harvest and then the holidays.  January through March are a good time to hold meetings and conferences to help show appreciation to customers as well as educate them.

grower meeting

Grower meetings are a chance to share what has changed over the last year and a chance to educate on Best Management Practices(BMPs).  They also serve as a quality control checkpoint.  These farmers will be growing next year’s seed and a consistent product is a must.  They will be reminded of all the steps needed to ensure a quality product.  The chance that these beans will end up in the food chain is pretty high, so consistency is also important.  These growers will work with their agronomist throughout the growing season to ensure consistency.

precision ag

No, the screen isn’t for watching the Buckeyes during harvest.  Technology is an important part of farming and is ever changing.  Just like it keeps showing up in our cars, it is also being added to tractors.  It is proving to be a big benefit when it comes to agriculture.  Variable Rate Technology (VRT) allows for fertilizer to be added only where it is needed.  By using GPS to take soil samples the farmer knows which parts of his field need which nutrients.  Just like you watch what you eat, a farmer watches what nutrients he adds to his field.  The days of blanket applications are in the past.

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