Making Hay
Week of June 16th, 2002 | The weather was cooling down .

Baby pigs at feeding time!

Baby pigs at feeding time!

Hello everyone! The temperatures cooled down this week. We were busy in the field trying our best to get rid of our weeds so they won't be a problem for our growing crops in the future. Read on to see what we did!

Monday and Tuesday, Dad cultivated the corn. The corn is now about 6 inches high and after the first pass with the cultivator, the weeds are gone! We had 15 newborn litters of pigs this week. All of them are large litters, too. One sow had a total of 17 pigs! An average litter is about 8-10 pigs. Some farmers have reported sows having up to about 20 pigs! The weather is ideal for sows giving birth on the pasture.

Wednesday, I cut first crop hay. Later this summer the hay will grow back and we'll have second crop hay. While I cut hay, Dad took 3 calves that were born late last summer to the sale barn in Decorah, Iowa. Here, they will be sold as feeder calves, or will be fed and raised until they are mother cows. Dad harrowed beans after he got back home. The harrow takes out weeds by scratching the ground, not digging. The difference between rotary hoeing and harrowing can be large at times. A good farmer knows what to do and that's what Dad did.

Thursday, I took the John Deere 3020 tractor down to a nearby tractor shop. The steering was acting a little weird. It would turn right, but not left. After I drove it down to the shop, Mom picked me up and we went to New Hampton so I could attend an extra marching band practice for Heartland Days. Heartland Days is a big event held in New Hampton just like Alta Vista Days. When we got back home, Dad was giving a tour to a group of seven people from Germany. They were traveling to various farms and institutes viewing and learning about hog farming practices. They will be in the United States for 10 days. They were very interested in our hog operation and they felt very welcomed. We provided the organic pork chops for their noon meal at a local restaurant.

Friday, Dad cut hay while I helped a neighbor out. This neighbor needed a field plowed, so I went over and I plowed for him. We worked together and ran two plows. I had a fun time and they made a VERY delicious dinner for me! After I got back, Dad was cultivating corn again. Cultivating corn during the first pass goes by very slowly because the corn is very easy to bury in the dirt being thrown around. When the corn is larger, you can cultivate it a lot faster.

Saturday morning, I rotary hoed a field of beans. I took out many small weeds as I looked behind the hoe. Rotary hoeing goes by very fast because you need to drive fast. This way, the hoe wheels will dig and throw most of the weeds out. If you drive slowly, the wheel won't take out many weeds at all.

Saturday afternoon was Heartland Days. I marched with other band members in the parade. I had fun! Afterwards, Mom, Dad, and I went to the band shell in the park to watch the coronation of Miss Heartland 2002. Jolene was a candidate. She won first runner-up! She received a 50-dollar savings bond! We are all proud of her.

Farm Fact: Cultivating, rotary hoeing, and harrowing are VERY high priorities this time of the year. Removing pesky weeds from the ground when they are very small is very important. They won't bother the crops later in the future and the crops will have more room and air to grow in. It is very hard to remove weeds when they are large-especially when they are larger than the crop itself!

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