Monday, June 30, 2014

Crops and Weather

We bunnies believe in the old adage, "Nibble the lawn while the sun shines."
Garden too

Make hay while the sun shines...that old adage is exactly right. Even if a farmer is chopping green hay for baleage or haylage, that is, fermented grass or legumes stored for winter feed, reasonable weather is required.

Tractors get stuck in wet fields and rut up the ground to ruin crops. Wet grass clogs moving parts and breaks shear bolts and makes farmers grumble and grouse. 

To make regular baled hay, two or three days of warm dry weather are required, and sometimes more.

And then there is planting corn. Although of course it needs moisture to grow, if the ground is too wet and cold, the seeds will rot, heavy rains will flood it out, the list goes on and on.

Click me! Click me!

This year has been pretty awful in that respect. it has been a rare week without significant rains. Thus even farmers with lots of good machinery and plenty of help are still planting corn, weeks after the usual planting dates.

And hay, oh dear. Some of the really huge farmers have taken off first cutting, pulling into the fields with large crews and gigantic machines, to shear and store grass, in hours rather than weeks. That very efficiency is one of the reasons there are large farms.

Economies of scale, and the ability to spread the cost of the large machines required to process so many acres over a large herd, and, because they can get over the land, feed the cows well. Big farms aren't factories at all, they just have darned good managers.

Smaller farmers work just as hard, but it is slower to put up hay a few acres at a time, and especially to put it up in small square bales.

With the little spell of dry weather we've had this past weekend, pretty much all farmers, big and small, have been going at it hard.

I'd like to have a penny for every small square bale that was made and stored in NY this weekend. We got in quite a few ourselves.

And now the rain is back.


joated said...

In my travels last month I saw corn in all stages from bare fields to tasseled. Hay in all sizes of rectangles and round bales, too.

In north-central PA I see mostly the round, rolled bales of hay stacking up quickly in covered sheds or horizontal plastic tubes. Corn? Still in all stages from bare fields to tasseled and soon(?) to be picked early sweet corn.

With the fickleness of the weather being what it is, I can empathize with the small farmer whose one machine may breakdown at just the wrong moment. Cutting, turning and baling of hay or the planting of a crop are so dependant upon that one small window of perfect days....

Terry and Linda said...

Some are just now planing corn here also. Very, very, very late for us this time of year. It won't make very good ears but it will make ensilage. That is something I suppose.


threecollie said...

joated, a very strange spring for sure. Not much tall corn around here yet, but what is planted will surely enjoy this hot, muggy weather...if the hail doesn't get it, that is.

Linda, gonna be a lot of late and prevented planting, I'm afraid. And I just read that late blight has found its way into NY already. Dagnabbit, we were hoping for some good tomatoes this summer.

Cathy said...

That rain sure grows some pretty flowers on your fair land. And yes. This has been a crazy rainy season. And as family arrives Thursday to join us on Cape Cod . . looks like "Arthur" may throw some rain over Independence Day celebration. ;(

threecollie said...

Cathy, I sure hope you get nice weather. Must be pretty out there. Enjoy!