Friday, May 30, 2014
We made the decision to raise this years beef hormone free. The green tag in their ear signifies that they are hormone free. What this means is that they never received a small implant in their ear, about the size of a grain of rice, which increases their weight gain. The implants are not harmful to the animal but help increase their conversion of feed energy into muscle.
Since hormone free is seen as a specialty classification there is a slightly higher premium for hormone free beef. After looking through the numbers and knowing that we have good breeding in our animals that gain weight well we decided to raise our cattle this way.
After all the information came back from the market, this years animals were lighter than last years group but with the premium the payout came out about the same. My husbands tells me they are unsure if they will raise next years group hormone free but will have to see what the market does. Farming is a business and we have to be fiscally responsible, watching what the trends are and how we can best capitalize on the products we have. It is a wonderful thing that there is so much diversity in agriculture, with hormone free, organic, grass feed, and conventional. Different farmers are able to produce products with different resources and it allows for diversity that the public can choose from. I have no problem with consumers wanting their meat a certain way, that is why there are so many choices. I do have a problem when it is thought that all meat needs to be raised a certain way. In order to maintain a reasonably priced product at the grocery store for the population to buy the meat need to be produced in an efficient method and implanted beef is often the most efficient means.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Another planting season is finished. It is a wonderful feeling to have the seeds in the ground for another growing season. The weather this spring has been cold and wet so it did take a bit longer than we had hoped to finish up planting. The weather has now turned around and the warmth is turning the fields green with the little sprouts of corn. With this warm weather the fields can change over night into green as far as you can seen.
There are three main pieces of equipment use during planting. The first machine into the fields in the spring is a big powerful tractor pulling a very large digger. We use what is called a quad trac tractor since it has 4 tracts. The benefit of using tracs is decreased compaction of the soil and increased traction. With such a large machine it is important to decrease the compaction of the soil as much as possible. Seeds will not grow well in soil that has been packed. The tracs decrease compaction by increasing the amount of the wheel that is touching the ground at one time and therefor spreading out the weight of the tractor over more area. This increased contact with the ground also increases the traction of the tractor.
This powerful tractor pulls a very large digger whose job is to loosen up and prepair the seed bed. In the fall we use a deep digger to incorporated the plant matter from the previous growing season into the soil. In the spring only the top layer of the soil need to be loosened up to add air to the soil and prepare it for the seeds.
Believe it or not but this huge tractor drives itself down the field with the use of GPS. The driver programs in an angle that they would like the field dug in and the tractor will follow that angle throughout the field. The driver does need to turn the tractor around and raise and lower the digger in the back. I remember the first time I road along and watched my husband take his hands off the wheel and the tractor went straight as an arrow down the field. The main reason GPS is used in field work so jobs and be done with precision. For digging the use of GPS can cut down on the use of fuel by preventing overlapping passes down the field.
The last piece of equipment that goes through the field during planting is the roller. The roller is something newer that has been implemented in the last few years. The roller is used only on soybean ground to flatten and slightly compact the soil. There are a few reasons for doing this. First reason has to do with harvest time. Soybeans are plants that grow close to the ground. During harvest the combine head it placed close to the ground as it goes through the field to collect as many beans as possible. By rolling and flattening the ground in the spring you and prevent damage to the combine head and be able to use it closer to the ground. The other reason for rolling is that it provides the soybean seed nice contact with the soil increasing it's ability to get moisture and nutrients needed for growth.
Planting take lots of time, patients, and knowledge. The prayer is that the fruits from these seeds placed in the ground with care will be plentiful and feed many throughout the world.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
It is graduation season and here on the farm we had a graduation ceramony of our own. Our baby chicks have been growing over the last month and have out grown the box we had them in. This is the our first year raising chickens so before they could move out of the celler I had to make a chicken coop for them in one of our out buildings. Using some scrap lumber and chicken wire we constructed the new chicken coop. We had to make sure there were no holes large enough for an amimal to get in and kill the chickens. Living on the farm there are many wild animals around that would love a chicken dinner. I feel confident that our chickens are safe in their new coop.
Monday, May 19, 2014
After supper tonight we decided to walk out to the pasture behind our house to see the cows. We only have 8 cows and 10 calves (2 sets of twins making up the extra ones) in this pasture at this time. More will be joining them soon as we bring more of the herd out to pasture. I love seeing the cows in the lush green fresh grass. They were so calm tonight enjoying the mild weather.
|Cow and her calf. You can see the smaller number on the calfs ear tag matches his mothers number.|
|A group of calves all looking healthy and growing well.|
|One of the sets of twins.|
|Come and get some cows|
|Luke was most interested in sampling the creep feed.|
|Rose pointed out for us some cow poop.|
|David in the cool water of the creek|
|Cow paths in the grass where the cows have walked through the pasture year after year.|
|We stopped at the apple tree in the pasture and took a climb|
We had a wonderful visit to the pasture and I hope you enjoyed seeing the cows and the freshness of spring.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
|Luke is all smiles in a "bubble sink".|
|Rose with a beautiful Mother's Day Rose|
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
|David checks to see if the onions have started growing yet|
|Simon shows Rose how plant the onions|
|Rose tries her hand at planting, and picking some of the onions that others had planted|
It was a fun time putting the garden in and the kids are becoming bigger helpers all the time. It is good to have the seeds in the ground and now what we need is some rain and sunshine. We will keep praying that the Lord will provide us with a productive growing season and a plentiful harvest.
|Luke looks cute in the tires meant for the tomatoes. Everyone is enjoying time in the garden|