Monday, June 22, 2009

The Farmer Round Table

Last evening I had the opportunity to sit down at the farmer round table. Actually, it was just a meal with my uncle who has been farming for years and my younger cousin who grew up on the farm. They were up in the area around my home town for the WHO Radio Great Tractor Ride and I wanted to stop up and check out all the tractors. But, since it was my old stomping grounds I was also able to show them where to find a place to eat and we spent quite awhile catching up and talking about the things we are doing and need to do on the farm.

I have to admit that my Uncle has been one of my biggest helps as we try to break into this farming journey. He has helped us by passing along books and information, sharing equipment with us, giving us stuff, and of course sharing knowledge. Last night was all about the knowledge and chatting. It was even better because my cousin was there as well, so it was a great meeting of the minds (mine was more of a sponge than a mind).

After catching up on all the family news we spent a good amount of time brainstorming on ideas for our pasture. The anthills seem to be a bit bigger problem than I had thought just because they are so big and there are so many more than I realized when all you could see is tall grass. Knocking them all down might be a bit of a chore and then we also have to think about what state the forages are in.

Now that the cattle have grazed down various sections it almost looks like a prairie dog town and lots of shrubs! We talked about the possibilities of knocking everything down and then seeding and even discussed the option tearing it up and starting over. I think in the end we might do a little bit of all of the above ... and then see what works the best. That way we can kind of see what works best for our farm and the way we want to run everything.

But, job number one is fence... ahh ...


Donna OShaughnessy said...

Ethan, We also have "round table meetings" which include my husband and I and our one son (21)who farms with us part time. Sometimes I even bring an agenda ! Yes, the menfolk usually groan a little. The meetings help us prioritize. "Capture loose cows" is often item number one on the agenda.

Rich said...

Is it common to have so many anthills in your area?

Since ants can eat a lot of forage, controlling the ants (not sure on the best way) should have a positive effect on your pastures.

What are your thoughts about fertilizing or liming? I am not sure about your feelings about fertilizer, but a small amount can sometimes make a big difference. Of course, lime is much cheaper than fertilizer and can help make existing NPK available.

The easiest way would be to broadcast a good mix of seeds and some lime (or fertilizer if you are inclined) then drag something (like a couple of railroad ties chained together or a heavy I-beam) to cover the seed and flatten the anthills (and possibly flatten some of the brush).

Jim said...

I was wondering if you could place your chicken tractors over the ant hills? Would the chickens be able to eat enough to make a difference?

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