Making Hay
Week of July 6th, 2003 | The weather was very hot.

Our cattle water system.

Our cattle water system.

Hello everyone! I hope you had a good Fourth of July.

On Sunday, the 29th, Mom, Dad, and I went to a Charm meeting at our friend's place near LeRoy, Minnesota. The C.H.A.R.M. (Coalition for Holistic Agricultural Resource Management) group gets together to share concerns and farming practices with one another. This small group of farmer friends really enjoy one another's company and have been a great support to each other. We went for a drive on the farm out into the fields where hazel nuts have been planted. Wow! That was great to see. Several thousand trees were planted a few years ago, and they are really looking great. It will be interesting to see what they look like in a few more years. The farm is located near Lake Louise and by the origin of the Upper Iowa River. I really like the farm.

On Wednesday morning, I was judged on the farm for my field crops for the 4-H fair. I get judged in the field and at fair. I took the judge to the two barley fields, the cornfield, and the hay field where I will be taking crop displays to the fair next week for further judging at fair. The judge asked me questions about the field history, all the operations, parts of the plants, etc.

On Thursday, I went to Nashua. This is where the fairgrounds are. As a member, I helped the New Hampton FFA Chapter clean and prepare all of the livestock barns. It was a lot of work. It took most of the day to complete and it was VERY hot out!

It has been very hot out this past week. Just as it is important to keep ourselves from getting overheated, the livestock and pets on a farm need to be cared for in the heat, as well.

When it is very hot out, you need to make sure that your pets (if you have some) have plenty of water and shade. Make sure the water is cold. If they are inside, make sure an air conditioner or a fan is keeping the inside cool. If they're outside, try to get them to shade or provide a cool area for them. Imagine if you were a pet (let's say cat!). Would you want to have cold water, shade, and cool air? I'm sure you do!

The same goes with livestock. We have plenty sow huts out in the pasture for shelter and we park wagons or implements that are not in use. They can give more shelter and shade to the sows and baby pigs. Also, we have water systems in the field and in the hog floors and hoop buildings. They refill automatically. The hoop buildings are warm in the winter and cool in the summer. In the hog floor, we have a sprinkler system. Do you enjoy getting wet on hot, summer days by going to the swimming pool or getting in water fights? The hogs enjoy it, too! The sprinkler system is like a garden hose sprinkling water on the hogs. In the pastures, the sows have large puddles. In the puddles, there is water and mud. They enjoy sleeping in the mud holes (puddles) because it cools them off. They also like to roll in the mud. Hogs don't sweat. They pant.

It can get very hot outside when we sell hogs. While waiting for the truck to arrive to pick up the market hogs, we can use a garden hose to water the hogs down. While hauling hogs in a trailer, a 250-pound market hog needs at least 5 square feet of room to roam around. If it is really hot out, they will need more. On short trucking distance trips, hogs can stand. But if it is long distance, hogs will need to lie down. They need room to do so. If hogs are hauled a long distance on very hot days, the truck driver needs to stop once in a while to water the hogs. Livestock trailers have ventilation holes for transporting pigs during hot weather. Pigs should be wetted with a coarse spray and then the water should be turned off to allow them to cool by evaporation. Fine mist should NOT be used. A coarse heavy spray provides better cooling than a fine mist. (Information from Temple Grandin website: www.grandin.com)

Our cowherd usually has a creek near the pasture to drink water out of. Creeks have plenty of water for a cowherd unless if we're in a drought. We also have a portable water system. It has a 1500 gallon tank and two drinking tanks on the side. The large tank automatically refills if it is hooked up to a well. When that tank has water in it, the drinking tanks automatically refill, too.

This week Dad has been busy cultivating. He ridged the soil around the corn. The corn is done and Dad is working on the second cultivation of beans. Jolene was home the first part of the week. She and I picked rock. We have all the rock picked for the year.

I spent the 4th of July weekend with Jess. Jess and I played games on her play station, went to the fireworks show in Mankato, Minnesota, and went fishing in a few lakes. The water in the lakes was very dirty and weedy because of all the recent rain and there were many boats and jet skis in the lakes. Mom and Dad joined us on Sunday. When we were fishing on Sunday, I caught my first fish for the year- a bullhead. It's about time I finally catch a fish for the year! After all, this is already July! We haven't had many opportunities to go fishing because we have been very busy through the year and our Sundays have been busy with selling hogs and other activities. I hope we will have more chances to go and that I get more fish!

Mom and Dad spent the fourth with Dad's family. All of his brothers and sisters and spouses went out for dinner together and enjoyed visiting. Saturday night, Mom and Dad went to her sister and brother-in-law's house for a barbecue party.

Farm Fact: When we cultivated the corn for the second time, we added metal plates to the shovels on the cultivator. These plates pushed the soil around the corn plants and formed the ridge that we will use next year to plant our organic soybeans.

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