The last two days we have been fortunate enough to run two planters. An Edgerton, Oh area farmer finished his planting, and has been helping us. It appear's this help has pushed us from planiting around 200 acres to around 300 acres of corn a day. Not to mention the soybeans, we've been drilling all the while. As of this morning we have around 1100 acres of corn planted, just about half way on the corn acres. Not bad for four and a half days of planting.
Due the the dairy component of our operation we are heavy corn planters, this year as in most years we are planting about 2300 acres of corn and 440 acres of soybeans. Thus the large focus on corn planting in my blog on corn.
Starting tonight NOAA.gov is predicting over an inch and a half of rain for the next three days, so we will get a break in the planting. Lets just hope it dries out soon so we can get back in the fields and finish up.
Well its been in the works for a little while, but Bridgewater Dairy has been slowly planning to implement a strategy to train and retrain every employee on the facility on the best practices when moving cows, or just working around cows. Dr. Greg Crosley of Countryside Vet in Michigan is helping us embark on this project. Beginning with a small video presentation, and ending with a verbal Q & A with the employee's and Dr. Crosley.
Our plan is to train every new employee with this video, and schedule through out the year a couple of different training programs. Animal care, Animal Health, and other subjects will be reviewed in this setting once or twice a year. We are excited about this new training, not only how it benefits the animals, but also how it benefits thcommunication among our employee's.
Manure operations: With one 120 acre field left to finish, we should be finished with manure hauling till after the wheat harvest. We expect to be finished to by Thursday.
Farming: 436 acres of corn planted, with 1900 acres till we can call spring planting done. Rain is expected for the weekend, lets hope we are able to get close to 1500 acres in the ground before the rain starts falling.
Well, Monday came and we got to work. Manure application is in full force, and by the end of today we will have covered about 400 acres with manure. Granted the actual ground covered with manure is much lower than that due to Ohio Department of Agriculture restrictions that define setbacks from a variety of sources, and some voluntary setbacks we've created to ensure the best situation for the environment and our neighbors. If we don't get any rain, we should be pretty much finished with manure application by next wednesday. Just in time to get busy planting.
All this manure application isn't the only thing going on. The farmers are out working a little ground in hopes of preparing it better to accept the manure, and Darryl Franz and others are out fixing tile blowouts caused by the rains this winter. We are just hoping he can get it all done quickly. We are getting excited to put some corn in the ground, but doubt much will happen till next week. Earlier this year we purchased a Mcfarlane Reel disk to help prepare out ground for planting, and it has yet to arrive. It seems every year we are waiting on some piece of equipment to help with planting. If we are lucky it will arrive early next week. Sure, we can survive without it, but we'd rather be making good use of it.
Well, Wednesday Rain totals ranged anywhere from .6 inches near US 20 and County Road 5, to around .8 inches at the Dairy to nearly 2 inches at the corner of county road 10.50 and Us 20. At the very least this will slow us down til early next week.
Today, with the help of a local farmer we are experimenting with putting manure on wheat in order to save money on nitrogen (NH3) costs. The hog industry has done this for a few years now, but since the NH3 content of dairy manure is lower than hog manure it hasn't really been done in our area. The manure we are allowed to put on according to our CAFO permit will only amount to about half the required NH3, this farmer will have to return to the field in a few days and add liquid NH3 to ensure a great crop. Driving over a field twice is less than ideal, but adding expensive commercial NH3 is less than ideal as well. It will be fun to look the differences in the field when manure was placed, and where only NH3 was used. Check out this picture of John Fry injecting digested dairy manure through his aerway tool. http://tweetphoto.com/17386118
On another note, the smell from digested dairy manure is significantly less, and hopefully more palatable to any farm neighbor concerned about the smell.
Dr. Leon Weaver of our own Bridgewater Dairy was named as one of 13 appointees to the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, see OFBF article. We want to send a congratulations out to Dr. Leon Weaver, and thank him for his support and commitment to the Dairy industry and our desire for high standards of Animal Care.
For the unfamiliar,
In Fall 2009, the State of Ohio passed Issue 2, which was designed to create a board comprised of a balanced group of individuals that will help direct the animal care standards of Ohio based agriculture. Some groups or individuals may want to send rules to a popular vote in order to direct how agricultural producers, and animal caretakers care for thier animals. Popular votes are often based more on emotion, and less on a combination of science and emotion. This board will consist of experts from a many points of view that understand the animals in question, they can then debate and come to an agreement on the best practice for each situation. At the very least this board will allow for rules that can be molded through the years to best address the issues as technology and science change.
Tractors are tuned, and ready. Manure fraq tank is sitting in the field, and boy are we ready. Yep, as long as the weather cooperates we plan on starting something next week, maybe a little tillage, most likely a little manure injecting, but it all depends on the sun, wind and the rain.
Curious what we are up to? Well in the next month or so, we expect to haul over 10 million gallons of manure on over 1000 acres of farm ground, through two different systems. One system will drag line manure directly from the dairy through up to four miles of hose, the other system will use a 10,000+ gallon fraq tank stationed in the field that will be filled with semi's driving between the dairy and the field.
All the above needs to be accomplished before we can finish our planting season. Only about 1/4 of our farm ground gets manure in the spring, so the farmers will have some fields to get started on while the manured fields dry out. Once all is said and done, we hope to have over 2300 acres of corn, and 400 acres of soybeans in the ground.
Everyone is getting excited and ready for the new year. Check back often for progress updates this spring.
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