June 20, 2024

From the Pastures: The planting frenzy

Hello from Graze-N-Grow. With the last five or so days of July-type weather most all the crops got planted in a hurry and much has emerged looking great. Here, though, our organic corn and soybean seed is still in the bag. With Richard’s and Roger’s help we did get 90 acres of field peas and 60 acres of oats in during late March and early April, so they have really taken off.

The late fall planted rye was slow growing in April, so we weren’t able to get the ewes and lambs out there until the last few days of April. We only grazed it for a week before putting them on the pastures. Our May lambers are having good weather, for the most part. They have avoided those cold, rainy stretches that some years can make it miserable on newborns. Pastures, of course, have responded to the recent heat wave and are off to a good start. However, like Trevor commented on his article, the frost-seeded clovers are conspicuously absent. I had hoped with the frequent freeze/thaw cycles we were in for a good stand. There’s always next year, I guess.

We were able to move our broilers out to pasture at only 24 days old since it was so warm, but first Ruth and I had to wait for a calm day to put new plastic on their portable hoop shed. One of our frequent windy days tore up the old one. It was only two years old, but at least the greenhouse covers were spared. So far, after more than 30 years, we have never lost a cover on them and usually get about five years on them before replacement. As to the greenhouse business, it was off to a slow start, but those hot days put the gardeners into the same planting frenzy as the farmers.

Finally, Ruth’s cow, Ella, had her calf on the 13th, so milking begins again. None too soon as her customers have been eagerly waiting for that milk and I, as well, for the yogurt and ice cream. Just another chore in an already busy season, but for Ruth it is a (sometimes) relaxing start of the day since Ella will usually stand most anywhere in the pasture and Ruth has a battery-powered milker.

The calf is a bull sired by a red Devon, which should make a good grass-fed beef animal. We shall see. Emma’s first calf, a heifer, is bred to the same bull and should calve later this summer at around 24 months. I doubt Ruth will want two to milk, so if anyone is interested in a good 3/4 Jersey-1/4 Holstein from an A2/A2 cow, let us know. Life is good, so live it well. Happy trails.

Jim Draper

Jim Draper

Sheffield, Ill.