Food for Thought – The Harris Family

I was really excited (and still am) about the potential this wheat crop has.  I just can’t say enough about God’s goodness and provision.  He has taken us from the drought conditions last year to the ability that this crop has to be pushing near record crop.  But with all this moisture, heavy morning dews and fog, I knew we must search our fields for fungus and disease to be able protect our wheat crop.  Just as we had suspected, by spraying the first few farms, all the farms showed signs of disease pressure such as striped rust, yellow leaf rust and powdery mildew.  Although to the layman, this may not sound critical but if the flag leaf cannot process photosynthesis correctly, the head (where we get the grain) will not fill properly.  Needless to say, out comes the checkbook to fly on more fungicide just to protect what potential is there.  We still count on God to protect us from Mother Nature: a giant hail storm will flatten and shatter a field of wheat in a matter of minutes.

The pictures below are examples of striped rust and yellow leaf rust in our wheat fields.

On to better news, the hay crop looks like it is going to turn out major tonnage. We are really excited about getting that first cutting down and seeing the bales pushed out.  The only worry is getting it up right and without any rain on it.  As a hay man and a wheat man, I contradict myself. I pray for rain but only after the hay is safely in the barn!  Hay is worth so much more as #1quality hay that some refer to as horse quality hay.  It has a beautiful pea green color.  This hay was cut, laid to dry out and then baled all with certain humidity and in a very timely fashion.  It may sound easy but if you have ever baled hay, you know that even if the 10 day shows 0% chance of rain, just go lay down a second cutting of alfalfa and see how quickly those rain clouds appear.

I, Zac, had the privilege of some pretty handy helpers over the weekend. Amy was gone to a conference she had been planning so the kids and I were off to the races!  They were as my grandfather says, “as handy as a pocket on a shirt” because it seems like I did more looking for the tools they were playing with than actually using the tools I needed.  I will never know how my wife gets anything accomplished in day.  The best part was moving cows.  We finally got the last few groups moved off from their winter pastures to their spring pastures.  Trale’ sure does like to holler at them but when they get close, she likes to be safely inside the window of the pickup.  Finally, we are finished calving out the one group of spring calvers with only a few losses.

The garden is looking good.  Potatoes are almost a month in and we just planted corn. I can already taste the corn on the cob with melted butter-nothing better than homegrown corn on a summer evening!  In the next few weeks, we will be planting the rest of our garden – okra, peas, squash, zucchini, tomatoes and anything else Amy and the kids dream up.

In final thoughts, my dad and I went to Small Grains Solutions last night and got to see some of the new Deere products coming out. We also had a speaker who discussed being an advocate for agriculture. I feel that it is our duty to tell our legislators exactly how things affect us in our homes.  From our school systems, to tax laws, farming laws and health care the list is never ending, but something that always seems to get my attention is the farm bill.  My wife and I disagree on how some things are handled and I wonder how all of my other “farmer friends” feel about it.  The farm bill designates monies of which more than 60% do not go to farmers but instead are used for the food stamp program, WIC, school lunches and other important initiatives.  I do not like that it is lumped together and called “farm bill.” I believe that many people hear this term and the amount of money and believe that it ALL goes to farmers.  My wife says that since such a small percentage of Americans are involved with production agriculture, a bill that helped fund agriculture would most likely never make it through the process because of lack of interest.  She says we need the other programs, that are obviously food related, to help our small group have a voice for funding.  What are your thoughts? Please comment.

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