It was a busy weekend for our little farm! Saturday morning, we were up and at-er to haul cows to my grandma’s farm. We hauled all the cows and saved the calves for the last load. It went well.
The next group of cows were staying right at my place and while we were hauling my dad & boyfriend/partner put up a temporary fence around the areas we planted this spring. It won’t be a problem to keep the cows out, but the deer sometimes struggle with new fence. For some reason I just had a gut feeling to go check one of the gates. (I had been around my fence already earlier this spring though.)
Glad I took the time as one gate was wide open, and they would have been right in one of our hay fields. That would have been a frustrating job to get them back out. The smaller group of heifers and 1st calver’s are home until we pull the bulls in a few weeks. They are likely not as happy as the rest, but they will get the reward in a few weeks.
The butcher animals are out of the corral and they are happy. In that time frame we had all or sheep and alpaca sheared. I am sure they feel 100 percent better. They also are trying out their brand-new fence. All seems to be working well. The girls also had their 4-H heifers tied. They didn’t have time to do much with them, but they practised being tied all afternoon.
A few people have been asking for an update on Marlee’s ducks! They are doing well and are likely getting kicked out to their outside pen this week! We got an email last week that one of Marlee’s birthday gifts was not coming. (I ordered in April.) Anyway, she found a few new things for her ducks instead; one being a duck helmet – yes, a helmet for a duck! I will be sure to send in a picture once that arrives.
I was out and got a lot of my spraying done in my plots last week. I realize there is a great debate over the use of chemicals. I don’t know if most people realize that spraying and the use of chemicals is highly regulated. First, a farmer must attend a course and write an exam every three years to even be able to purchase a chemical. You are taught about calibration and proper tip sizes.
A farmer has extensive and expensive equipment to measure and use when applying these chemicals and it is their best interest and the crop’s best interest to use things properly and safely. When you see a farmer sprayer with a tank, the tank is 99 percent water. The rates that are used are very low. If you want a visual – if you were to spray a football field with “Round-Up”, the amount of chemical you would use would fill two pop cans.
Prior to the use of chemical, the only way to control pests was with tillage and multiple tillage passes kill more insects and micro-organisms than the chemicals we use today. Chemicals are selected to target the pest that is causing the problem.
There is misconception that when you spray, you kill everything, that is not the case. Chemicals have been designed to stay where they are sprayed. It is not in anyone’s best interest nor the crop for the chemical to leave the target.
All farmers want to be sustainable – and this means they choose the right product at the right time and use the right rate. Pesticides are expensive so no one wants to overuse or abuse them.
Timing is everything. If you need to spray to control an insect, you are trained to spray at times when you won’t affect beneficial insects. You may remember me writing last fall about the army worms that destroyed a good section of the community pasture. Without spraying to control, there would have been many hungry cows.
Most spraying is done early in the crop growth and once the crop grows and develops a canopy, the crop itself controls the weeds.
Growing crops – whether it be forages, beans, corns etc. – is very expensive! This is our job; we need to make money to survive and if we have no crop at the end of season, we will have no pay cheque either. I do realize there is a great debate over the use of pesticides.
Not everyone will ever agree and that is o.k. But please understand we are all just trying to do our job to the best of our ability.
Remember – most of the fruit you are purchasing in the store wouldn’t be there at all without a chemical!