Making Hay
Week of April 11th, 2004 | The weather was chilly.

Dad planting barley.

Dad planting barley.

I hope you had a good Easter. I enjoyed seeing my sisters home again. Saturday morning our 4-H club sponsored Easter Egg Hunt for the kids in town. My friend, John, and I were on the committee. We had a good time and it went well. Saturday night, my family and I played Monopoly. Even though my dad beat all of us, it was fun!

On Monday and Tuesday, I went with other New Hampton FFA Chapter members to the 76th Iowa State FFA Convention. This took place at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. There, I viewed many displays and exhibits. I got a new fishing pole at the convention. My sister, Jess, the fishing expert, says it is used for heavy fish, like Northern Pike. I also got a shovel and a book for Dad from the Silent Auction. I participated in a couple of the sessions. These sessions were in the Hilton Coliseum. Over 4,600 Iowa FFA members were there. The sessions were a lot of fun. The state officers gave out awards and we listened to a few guest speakers. We even went on some tours, including viewing the ISU greenhouses. I had a blast!

While I was gone, Dad planted all of the barley. He used the grain drill. At the same time we plant barley, we plant the grass seed for next year's hay crop. This grass seed is in the rear tank of the grain drill. When harvesting barley, the hay is just starting to grow. Then, next spring, the hay grows back and is about two feet tall for harvest in the summer. Our grain drill holds about 18 bushels of barley or other small grain and the grass seed tank holds about 100 pounds. Dad planted the barley at the rate of 2 bushels per acre and the grass seed at the rate of 14 pounds per acre. We planted 56 acres of barley this year. We used about 112 bushels of seed. It costs us $7 a bushel for the organic barley. Our cost was approximately $784.00.

On Friday, I had the day off from school because of spring break. Dad and I hauled and spread manure on a 22-acre hay field that will be planted to corn this year. That afternoon, I plowed most of it. I stayed out until 9:00 at night. Dad plowed for another hour, then finished Saturday morning. The plow turns the ground over leaving the roots of weeds on top. The sun will dry these roots, eventually, killing the plants. Then, we will use the disc to cut the dry roots up and cut the sod (dirt) up. We will wait awhile for these roots to dry. Next week, Dad and I will do the same thing in another 35-acre hay field. I really don't like plowing because it takes a long time to plow a field. I enjoy doing other field work, especially late at night.

I wish it would warm up. I was plowing Friday covered in a blanket! It is in the 30's every morning and usually warming up to only about 50's at noon. We also need rain for the barley now.

Farm Fact: Farmers need to be careful about when they plant crops. If their newly planted crops get too much rain and the field floods, then farmers may need to replant. This requires extra money on hand for more seed. If we don't receive enough rain, the crop will not start to grow either.

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