Wednesday, April 8, 2015

5 Signs of Springtime at the Farm

Try to contain your excitement, because we are in Indiana, and flooding/potential snow isn't totally impossible, but spring has begun!

What does spring mean on a pig and grain farm?  I'll cover five of my favorites.

1. Babies!  Well, piglets is a more appropriate term I suppose.  We have piglets every even numbered month right around the 15th.  To learn more about our sows, you can read my post from last year, Miss Peggy Sue and You.

2.  Fertilization!  I mean, it can be a slightly 'crappy' job some days, but hauling manure is a way of using manure from the winter months as a fertilizer on our crops.  I talk a good bit about manure and manure management.  Check out my posts, Hitching up the Honey Wagon, and Manure Management: Not Just a Load of Crap.  Nutrient management is a very important thing to us.  We have hefty regulations to follow, ensuring we do not let nutrients get too high in any field.  With pigs, one of our biggest concern nutrients is phosphorous.  We have soil testing done regularly to keep us alert of areas that could potentially become issues.

Sometimes we even get to watch a nice sunset while loading!
Used with permission from Mackinson Dairy.

3. Burn Down.  It's not quite what you may think because nothing gets lit on fire.  I have talked about cover crops in the past.  We drill cereal rye cover crops in the fall as a way to build a root system that will hold the soil in place during the winter months.  In the spring, it looks like this picture I took a while back.  Currently, it is much taller, and looks more like a lawn planted in 7.5" rows.
We then spray a glyphosate chemical, Touchdown, by Syngenta, as a means of killing off the cereal rye. 

4. Corn, corn, corn, corn, corn.  Welcome to Indiana! (and most of the Midwest).  There's just something exciting about finally getting a planter in the field.  As you can see in the bottom photo, as of last week, the planter had not moved to our shop for it's spring checkup yet.  With the creek really high, the ground really wet, and temperatures still lower, we aren't in a huge hurry to plant just yet.

The planter is just chilling for now, but not for long!

5. Soybeans are the other major part of our cropping operation.  I have always liked soybeans a lot, for some unknown reason.  It may have something to do with the fact that we drill with my favorite tractor, the International 7110 Magnum.  We drill soybeans with a 15 foot John Deere drill, in 7.5" spacings.  These are all things we figure into our seed choices.  Keep an eye out for a post on seed choices.

I hope you're all out enjoying this spring weather - sorry if you're currently swimming with all the rain this last week in Indiana and Illinois specifically.

Stick with me as we get moving into spring!

You can follow along on my social media sites, and send any of your questions to

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