Monday, June 21, 2010

Organic hay

Our organic hay field was cut last week. The guy we have take care of it raked it into rows yesterday and baled it today. We should take about 50-55 tons off the field. We're keeping quite a bit for the horses, and selling the rest.

Disease problems in hard red wheat

We have a few disease issues in one of our hard red wheat fields. The cool wet spring has encouraged a proliferation of stripe rust and smut. Stripe rust is a fungus. The leaves turn yellow and are covered with an orange dust of spores. The smut attacks the seed head and turns it black. Thankfully the field is very small, about 7 acres. Hopefully the late outbreak won't affect the yield dramatically. All the other fields look okay at this point. We talked to Shepard Smith from Soilsmith Services about the fungus issues. He suggested treating with a mixture of compost tea and stimplex (liquid kelp), and something called Stealth. In the end we decided not to treat the field at this late stage. Shepard indicated that preventative treatment would have worked wonders. Yet another case for applying compost tea several times a year. The field in question is actually one of the few wheat pieces we didn't treat with tea a few months back. Now we are seriously thinking about getting our own compost tea brewer so we can apply year-round.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Photos of crop progress pt. 5

This is the sunflower patch. We thinned them out this past week. They are averaging about 10-12 inches tall. We spaced them out to about 2-2 1/2 feet apart. We will need to start thinking about the netting very soon. I don't want to see this field turn into one giant birdfeeder!

Photos of crop progress pt. 4

This is soft white winter wheat. The wheat is looking fantastic. There is some grass in it but we should be able to clean that out after harvest. My brother ben is standing in the field to give you an idea of the height of the wheat.

Photos of crop progress pt. 3

This first photo is one of the naked oat fields. It is coming up very well and looking good. The other photos are of several of our flax pieces. The flax looks great. 2 of the pieces in the photos are wetter fields. The flax doesn't seem to mind a slightly wetter piece.

Photos of crop progress pt. 2

This is one of the hard red wheat fields and a garbanzo field. The hard red in this photo is around 2 months old. The seed heads are starting to come up. This is one of the largest and best hard red pieces. The garbanzos are coming up fairly well. The largest are about 3-4 inches. They are spotty in places. The planter was having trouble feeding the seed evenly. It tended to smash some of the seed in the release wheel.

Photos of crop progress

These are photos of the pinto and yelloweye beans. The yelloweye seem to be coming up a bit faster. There's a photo of a damaged pinto. It may have been hit by slugs. There are a few spots in each bean patch that look like they either got hit by slugs or didn't germinate completely. For the most part they are coming up fairly evenly across the field.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Planting beans...and final crop acreages. Spring work is done!

We planted 3 kinds of beans last week, the last of the crops to go in the ground. We planted roughly 4 acres of garbanzo beans, 4-5 acres of pinto beans, and 2-2.5 acres of yelloweye beans. All of the beans were planted using a 2-bottom drill we borrowed from Gathering Together Farm. One of the fields is right next to our buildings at the farm, which has 2 acres of garbanzos in it. The other beans are up the road on a field that also has hard red wheat and flax in it. We planted the beans at approximately 40-50 pounds per acre. It was somewhat hard to tell with the planter we used. We worked the ground several times to try to reduce the weed sprout. When I walked one of the fields today the weed sprout was almost nonexistent. So far, so good. Now that all the beans are in we are done planting for the spring. Here are the final tallies of crops and their acreages.

Hard Red Wheat - 122 acres
Soft White Wheat - 142 acres
Hull-less Oats - 49 acres
Cayuse Oats - 84 acres
Brown Flax - 44 acres
Sunflowers - 1 acre
Garbanzo Beans - 4 acres
Pinto Beans - 4.5 acres
Yelloweye Beans - 2.5
Annual Ryegrass - 222 acres
Tall Fescue - 77 acres
Tall Fescue (hay) - 30 acres

We should begin cutting the grass in a month or so. If this rain holds up through June it will do the beans, wheat, flax, and oats a lot of good as we got them in the ground later than we would have liked. Then we just need to pray for an indian summer!