The heat, haying and hard work – The Bolen family

Alfalfa hay in windrows.

Alfalfa hay in windrows.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but our days just run together during the summer months.  Whether we are tending to our chickens or baling hay or messing with the sheep or whatever.

We have completed our third cutting on most all of our hay fields.  We had some rain early in June and the end of May, but I think we have been about three weeks with zero rain.  We did have a few days that the humidity and temperature were low but that quickly changed.  We are back to highs in the mid 90’s and humidity levels above 40 percent.

The alfalfa has been yielding pretty well, but I’ve been having to irrigate it more than I would like.  The bermuda grass is doing well with good yields as well.

Thinning the Bolens' thick patch of pecan trees.

Thinning the Bolens’ thick patch of pecan trees.

The picture of the pecan trees is something I have always put on the back burner.  In the fall of 1999, a neighbor who harvested nuts for a living had a large pile of nuts that didn’t make the grade for some reason.  I asked him what he was going to do with them, he said burn them probably.  I asked if I could haul them off and he told me to have at it.  I had a piece of ground that I thought needed trees on it, so I loaded this pile up and spread them with my poultry litter spreader and disked them in.  I really think two trees came up for every seed.  I couldn’t believe how thick of a stand I had.  So that fall I took the brush hog and made a sort of rows out of the thick stand, leaving about a two-foot strip of trees every twenty five feet or so and then every summer just kept mowing the same path.  So this summer I hired a guy with a mulcher attachment to thin in between them.  I’m sure I left them too thick, but I’m also thinking of digging some up to transplant to other places or sell.

Our cattle are doing well and we have almost decided which lamb each of our girls will be showing this fall and next spring.

Using a tedder to help bermudagrass  hay cure.

Using a tedder to help bermuda grass hay cure.

Repairs, cattle and meetings – The Leonard Family

My dad, a neighbor, and I baled 125 bales of hay for us on our 1st cutting of prairie hay and 2nd of bermudagrass hay. I mowed the meadows with the help of dad on our neighbor’s tractor.

We also worked on the combine changing the concaves from our small wires for wheat to round bars for corn and soybeans. Also we did some minor repairs like taking a half link out of the feeder house chain and sealing come cracks.

We have been working on getting the planter ready for corn planting next year. Also, we have put new blades on it so that we can get a clean cut through the ground.

Recently we worked the rest of our fall cows and weaned the calves. We sold the steers and kept the heifers to grow out and decide which ones to keep for replacements. Then we ground feed to put in the creep feeder to grow the heifers out.

Dad has been at meetings, he was appointed to chairman of the county excise board, which sets the county budget. Katy left for FFA Alumni Camp Sunday and gets back Wednesday.

Early Rye and a Bull Sale – The Webb Family

Rye in our country usually starts to head out around the third week of April, but like everything else this last year, it’s on its own schedule and it’s early.  A few farmers are starting to lay some of their rye down for hay, man it’s early.  We usually lay our rye down around April 20 but it’s fully headed now.  Typically as soon as it heads, it starts losing leaves, which is why we try to cut it when it’s about 50 to 75% headed.  It’s sometimes a

We were able to apply fertilizer and weed killer to about 400 acres of bermuda grass before a nice quarter-inch rain.

struggle to get it to cure in late April, which has me wondering what will happen laying it down this early.  We saved 160 acres to lay down for hay this spring and have decided to monitor it and let it remain standing until it starts losing leaves.  It’s not “normal” but nothing has seemed “normal” for the past 18 months.  We’re going to hay 480 acres of wheat, which will probably be earlier than usual too.  I’ll keep you posted as that gets closer.

We started fertilizing and applying weed killer to our bermuda grass.  We have about 1,000 acres to get over and we covered 400 acres before the nice quarter inch rain this morning.  We should finish up this week.  We hire an aerial sprayer to apply weed killer to

Our son, Clayton, filling the fence row sprayer.

our native pastures.  I turned in the acres yesterday, so they should get started soon. Clayton finished up our fence row spraying to keep the feral rye from getting a foothold on the edge of our wheat fields.

Cari and I went to a bull sale, B&D Herefords, on a ranch near Claflin, KS, last Tuesday.  It is our third year to buy bulls there.  We bought 3, two-year-old bulls, which they delivered to our farm.  We branded, ear tagged, and turned them out with a herd of 40 Angus cows the next day.  Pictured

Our son, Wade, and a friend move cattle to another pasture.

with one of the new bulls is a half Hereford, half Angus calf whose sire is one of the bulls we bought from B&D two years ago.  I really appreciate the good dispositions and genetics that Herefords bring to our herd.

Our heifers continue to calve daily.  We are all looking forward to them finishing up.

A hereford-cross calf out of one of the B&D bulls we bought last year.