Brian planted 40 acres of corn at the end of last week. Sunday we planted 25 or 30 acres of soybeans. Brian helps our neighbor farm in exchange for use of some his equipment.
The planter he’s using in these pictures is a “no-till drill”. It actually cuts a path and sticks the seeds in the ground without the field being plowed up every year. Last year we had corn in this field, this year we drilled the soybeans right in. The conservation district in our county even owns a drill that can be rented out. No-till farming is easier on the environment. The fields are not as susceptible to erosion. Plus, the practice saves quite a bit of fuel and time, thus reducing our expenses.
Planting can be a one man job most of the time. The picture above shows the bins that hold the seed. Ideally we would have just enough seed to plant the field without too much extra to clean out at the ends. As we near the end of planting I stay on the planter and watch the seed level. One person, or even two, can stay pretty busy shuffling seed from one bin to another.
I didn’t have to work too hard. We had quite a bit of seed left. There wasn’t much planting to do this year since our other fields are already growing wheat and hay. It’ll be nice to see these fields turning green again as well.
Okay since my memory card is full I think this is going to be picture week around here. I tend to snap pics with the intent to share and then never quite get there.
But first – guess what!!? We harvested our very first soybeans on the new farm! We had 30 acres of them and they went 61 bushels to the acre. For those who aren’t familiar with farm terms:
1 bushel = 60 pounds
61 bushels to the acre is a very good yield, we haven’t heard any higher in the area so far, but there are lots of soys left to come off. I can’t help but think of the part in Omnivore’s Dilemma about yields increasing astronomically in the past 100 years. I am breathing a big sigh of relief because the payment from them will cover about 1/2 of our mortgage this year. If all goes well with the corn we should be just fine.
So Saturday since Brian and the guys were working on our fields I felt obligated to make dinner for them. Normally the senior farmer’s wife provides meals for everyone who helps in the field. These meals range from ordering pizza to bringing out a pot of homemade chili and so on. I thawed 3 lbs. of hamburger from one of my father-in-law’s old cows and roasted some red potatoes from the farmer’s market. Everyone said it was good but they hardly stopped to eat, never mind taste it. Next time I won’t put so much effort in to it. Brian’s favorite meals come from Sylvester Farms. It is usually a brown bag with a good sandwich, chips, cookies, candy bars, etc. They must go to Sam’s Club and stock up on the snack sizes. Oh well, we’ll have to see how the guys like homemade granola bars!
I’m in kind of an odd position around here being the only woman on the farm at my age. Most of the farms are family businesses where the grandpa, son, and grandsons all work together. In that case the grandma does the cooking, bookwork, etc. and the other wives are free to work on or off the farm or be with the kids, etc. Lucky us – we get to do it all! I would really like to meet more young people starting out in the farming industry. There are not a lot of resources available that target us. Most farmers our age, at least in this area, would be in line to inherit a large operation someday. That is one reason I am so interested in going organic. Usually organic status allows you to produce a similar income as a big farm on much less acreage. I’ll save that conversation for another day though.
Here are some more pictures for you, on a cuter note:
I left the upstairs door open so Maci snuck up there for a nap…
Which Sam was very happy about because it meant he retained strict control of the TV remote!