Making Hay
Week of June 15th, 2003 | The weather was sunny and warm.

Organic ridge till soybeans.

Organic ridge till soybeans.

Hello to all! It's been really nice outside lately. We've received a little bit of rain this past week, but most of our days were sunny and warm. It feels good to be outside in this nice weather. We sold hogs this past Sunday and Wednesday.

Dad has been very busy with cultivating corn and soybeans. While he has been doing that, I have been keeping busy with driver's education and 4-H projects. Also, on Friday and Saturday, I cut about 50 acres of hay and rotary hoed about the same amount of acres of soybeans. Dad cultivated about 50 acres.

This past week, the soybeans went through a few stages in the plant life. The soybean plant?s life starts out with germination - stage one. This is when the seed starts to sprout. Stage two is crooked neck stage. This is when the soybeans have a long neck, but it is crooked under the head. We have to be careful not to rotary hoe at this time as the hoe will break off the neck and kill the plant. The third stage is emergence. This is when the plant starts taking shape and growing very fast. The soybeans now have small velvet-like leaves and a small stem. It is really easy to rotary hoe the soybeans now. It is hard to cultivate it because it is easy for the cultivator to throw dirt on top of the plant or take the whole plant out of the ground. Cultivating goes much faster after the soybean plant is about knee high.

Right now, the most important job to do on the farm is maintain weed control. The weeds are small and young, and the sooner you start weeding, the better. We want nice, warm, and sunny days so when the weeds are cultivated, the heat will dry them up.

The corn is about 6-8 inches high now. It is easy to cultivate the corn now because it doesn't matter if the cultivator throws dirt on the plant. The corn is tall and has strong roots. I think we are keeping good weed control in our cornfields. Dad can cultivate the corn at speeds of about 4 miles per hour.

When I was cutting hay, the grass was about knee high. I saw a lot of red clover, but the seeds on the plant were not ripe. I found a few plants with ripe seeds. There is honey inside of the seeds. That's why bees like to live near fields with red clover plants. I enjoy pulling the seeds out of the plant and sucking honey out of them!!! The honey tastes good because it is sweet and fresh. I don't have to worry about any chemicals or any chances of being exposed to them since the hay is organic.

The barley is about knee high, too. At the top of the plant, I found the panicle starting to take shape. A panicle is the group of seeds. Also on the panicle, there are many hairs sticking out. The barley is still green, but pretty soon, it will start turning a goldenrod color. It is really neat to see the barley wave in the field because of the wind. The panicle glistens and shines as it moves. It makes me think and feel 'the amber waves of grain', just like you would picture it when you sing America the Beautiful!

Farm Fact: As an experiment, we planted half of a soybean field with a ridge till Buffalo planter and the other half clean tilled (John Deere planter). When the Buffalo planter went through, it moved all of the weed seeds in the middle of the rows where the cultivator can easily work them up. The rows do not have any weeds because the weed seeds are gone. The clean tilled section of the field has weeds in the row. The plow, disc, and drag destroyed the weeds, but a new crop of weeds now grows in the row.

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