Making Hay
Week of April 4th, 2004 | The weather was warming up.

Organic Valley Headquarters- opening soon!

Organic Valley Headquarters- opening soon!

Wow! I just visited the brand new Organic Valley headquarters. The new building is not finished yet, but so far, it looks GREAT! The committees who thought of the design did a wonderful job. I heard a lot of good ideas for the land uses. I can't wait until the grand opening, which will take place at tthe 2004 Kickapoo Country Fair on July 31st.

I visited the new headquarters on Friday. Dad and I drove to La Farge, Wisconsin, to participate in the annual meeting. We couldn't stay for the Saturday event because we had to work ground for the barley planting season. Dad and I learned a lot during Friday's meeting about the past year's accomplishments and the future projections and ideas. I was very impressed with all of the creative ideas suggested and hope that some of these will be used.

Thursday night, our feed business purchased a used semi grain trailer. This trailer can hold about 1000 bushels. This trailer really matches our semi tractor. You'll see a picture really soon. We will use this trailer in place of our straight truck but the truck will stay in use, as well, during the spring work.

Dad, my friend Ben, and I started working ground Saturday. Ben is the same age as me and is part time help on our farm. We had to spread eggshells on about 10 acres for soil nutrients and fertilizer. While I loaded with the John Deere 7405 tractor and the John Deere 740 loader, Dad and Ben hauled and spread these eggshells with slinger spreaders. We receive these eggshells for free from a local egg breaking plant. It is good for the soil. We hauled about 85 tons and that kept us busy.

Then, we used the field cultivator to incorporate these eggshells into the ground and to till the rest of the barley fields (about 56 acres). I made two passes with the field cultivator and the John Deere 7405. Ben helped me work the ground with the John Deere 4020 and the disc. Ben and I worked in the field until 9:00 Saturday night. Next week, Dad will drag the ground so it will be flat. Having flat ground in small grain fields is an important asset. When cutting oats, barley, wheat, or hay, it is easier to cut if the ground is flat. It is also easier on the machine so the teeth won't get damaged. Dad will also plant the barley with the grain drill next week. You'll see a picture of that next week. Finally, after the barley is planted, we'll make another pass with the drag to make sure the ground is as flat as possible. Our tractors have all lights working. It is important to have the lights in good shape so we can work late in the night. It makes the job easier with more lights to show the ground. Some field implements even have lights that can be powered by the tractor. This way, operators can see more on what the implement is doing in the dark. We took both of our older tractors to an implement repair shop and had them do a complete overhaul of the lighting system. Many farmers work late into the night in planting and harvesting seasons. They must get the job done before the weather changes and delays the operations. If the crop is planted at the same time, then it can be harvested at the same time.

Farm Fact: Small grains have to be planted early so they can flower and set seed before the days get too long and too hot. Long days and heat can result in poor quality small grains.

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