Well it’s been a long but rewarding two weeks. We started laying down hay April 15th and finished baling April 28th. I’ve never cut hay this early but everything worked out just fine. To make things even better, we received a nice two-inch rain the night we finished baling. Our custom wicking is just about to wind up. We’ve had a good run this spring.
Clayton and I went to a “precision farming” meeting in Enid last week. It was put together by our John Deere dealer. We use GPS guidance on all of our equipment and actually “documented” our yield for the first time during last year’s wheat harvest. Due to the drought, we only cut half a crop on the half of our grain acres that didn’t completely burn up but still, it got us started in yield documentation. I have spent the last several years moving in this direction. We plan to utilize grid sampling and harvest information to implement variable rate fertilizer, lime, and seeding rate prescriptions on our grain acres. We still have a ways to go but we’re heading in that direction.
I serve on the Blaine County Conservation District Board of Directors. We have sponsored and organized a farm safety day for all the 4thgraders in Blaine County for about six years now. Fourth graders from Canton, Watonga, Okeene, and Geary come to the Blaine
County fairgrounds for a day of learning. Cari and I address “animal safety” for the day. We had this year’s farm safety day last Wednesday. It is always quite interesting interacting with so many kids. I think we had about 100 kids this year.
This week we will get back to working our cattle. We’ve got several more groups to get through. This past week we pregnancy checked 108 home raised replacement heifers. We exposed them to bulls for 70 days for an October-November calving period. Our heifers are usually 13-14 months old when we expose them to the bulls. Typically, we leave the bulls with them for 60 days, but like everything else, the drought caused us to do things early, so we exposed this set of heifers when they were 11-12 months old. We left the bulls an extra 10 days to try to compensate for the younger heifers. We ended up with 89 bred out of the 108 or 82%. I think that is great. Our older heifers usually hit somewhere between 85-88% bred at 60 days. So maybe the extra 10 days helped make a difference. I’ll know this fall when they calve.
We also have a lot of hay to get hauled in from the fields this week. We haven’t moved any of it yet. We round bale all of our hay and use a plastic netting called “surface wrap.” It protects the hay quite well from rain damage, so once it’s baled we’re pretty safe. We’ll let the wheat fields we cut for hay leaf back out and spray them with a chemical “burndown” using glyphosate. We’ll also spray the wheat fields we grazed out at that time too. We rotate hay crops and grazing out wheat fields to help keep the feral rye in check. Therefore, we want to be sure and kill everything left in the field to clean them up.
Wade gets out of school May 11. That’s about a week earlier than we’re used to but we’re glad, I know he’s ready for summer to be here. If everything stays on this early schedule, we might be cutting wheat by May 21st. We’ll see.