Crossing fingers for decent second-cut yields

And it continues . . . we are still trying to make hay.
I wonder how long I will be reporting this?
The weather was terrible last week. Never mind the moisture, but cold! In fact, I heard many comments about people breaking down and allowing their furnace to kick in.
We ended up with 29 mm of rain here at the agriculture research station in Emo and 35 mm at home (for those that don’t like to talk in millimetres, just divide it by 25 and that will give you the amount in inches).
The rain was needed, but like I say, I just find that in Rainy River, once is starts, it struggles to end.
The weather is looking a little unstable for this week, too, so a simple job of making hay turns into a long, drawn-out affair.
Someone told me recently that it wouldn’t have to be this way if we had six months of summer, not six days!
I’ve pretty much finished the forage yields calculations here at the station. Some trials are down a bit, but others are up (things like Kura Clover seem to improve with age).
Our rough estimate is that the alfalfa yields were about 75 percent of last year. But considering the weather, we don’t feel that is too bad (I’ve heard some more extreme numbers from some farmers).
Meanwhile, we can cross our fingers for some decent second-cut yields.
• • •
Scott Banks, the emerging crop specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, came in to take a farm tour as well as give an evening presentation last week.
Of course, it had to be a wet, miserable day. I always like it when we have beautiful weather when people visit our district as our reputation for a cold climate that’s unable to grow much seems very real in these cases.
He suggested in his presentation that we should look at growing things like mustard, hemp, and edible beans (we have grown all of these species at the research station).
He then ventured into the bio-fuel crops, speaking on miscanthus and switchgrass. He feels (like we do) that we may need to look at growing things we already know does well–like reed canary grass.
Our job will be finding a way to convince the users that they can burn it! This may happen as we have a group looking at putting up a pellet plant, so this may make things more attractable to burn.
Time will tell.
• • •
“Rainy River Raised” is the new logo we have on our cattle tags, and we now are planning on using it as a brand.
We had our first meeting on the next steps of doing this. It is overwhelming how much planning this will take—and tough to estimate how many producers will be interested in being a part of something like this.
Stay tuned as there will be more to follow on this!
I am excited. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little sign at your grocery store that reads “Rainy River Raised”—and you can be certain you are buying local meat that has been raised under a certain protocol?
Some day. . . .
• • •
I had some nice visitors at the station this past week. Actually, it was one of our former local girls—Sierra and her boyfriend were up to visit her family.
Sierra is working in the south on a horse farm while her boyfriend is a dairy farmer (a good choice I must say).
They were sweet enough to bring me maple syrup–right from their own tree in their back yard. I was thrilled as I love maple syrup.
The last time I was at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, I had a hard time leaving the maple syrup booth (maple tarts are to die for!)
• • •
Be sure to wish Ms. Lucy a “Happy Birthday” when you visit Tompkins Hardware in Emo.
Her friends and family surprised her with a 50th birthday party this past weekend up at Caliper Lake. Maddie and I made it, but only for a short time.
It looked like everyone was having fun but how could you not—the sun was finally shining and there was food galore!
• • •
I get a lot of questions about plant and weed identification here at the station.
I think Maddie’s first summer job could include this as she’s now pretty good at identifying many plants. For instance, she knows red clover, trefoil, alfalfa, timothy, red top, daisy, etc.
She loves to pick flowers, so we turned it into an identification course, as well (her dad thinks I need to start on trees now).
The girls spent some time with us again over the weekend. We discovered that Marlee is really enjoying county life, as well (she is just starting to talk but we’re sure that she won’t be long in telling us “I don’t want to go home, either” since Maddie does this trick as soon as her parents come out).
For those of you that think we have my nieces all the time, we actually don’t, but we sure enjoy it when we do.
The kids are so much fun—and there are no dull moments so how could we not want to have them!

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