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Farmer's Diary: November 2007

Agriculture.com Staff 11/20/2007 @ 7:35am

Welcome to another month at Sunrise Acres. The year is rapidly coming to a close and I’m not exactly sure how we jumped so quickly from March to November! I once heard an interesting theory as to why time seems to move faster as you get older. To a child of six, one month is a much greater percentage of his life lived than to someone 50 or 60. When we tell a child Christmas is but a month away, it seems like an eternity. To us it seems but a blink away.

Not much is happening on the farming front here at Sunrise Acres in November. The alfalfa hay is safely in the stack and, yes, the grass hay is FINALLY stored away. We hope to start marketing all of it after the first of next year. The market seems to be holding and hopefully the demand will remain high. If possible we will get the tractor and corrugator across it before the ground freezes.

Carol's corn crop exceeded our estimates and expectations, exceeding 260 bushel per acre of dry shelled corn. I think she must have slipped something extra in the water or gave it a motivational speech of some kind! The minimum tillage planting really seemed to help it take off and never slow down. Soon cattle will be turned in to graze the leftover stalks and hopefully ducks and geese will follow. It has been a real treat to follow this crop from planting to harvest. All year long it looked "picture perfect."

From my visits with producers throughout our valley, yields of most crops have been excellent this year. The steady heat made for a long growing season that allowed crops to fill out and mature early. While this was a bit oppressive for us, the yields were not affected negatively.

Farmers in our area are scrambling to finish fall fieldwork. This is important preparation to insure a successful crop next year. There are tractors plowing and tilling all hours of the day and night. Turning over the soil now helps give heavier soil time to freeze and mellow out over our cold (and hopefully wet) winter. Next year's onion and sugar beet fields need to be bedded up now to allow early planting in the spring. Preparations now will affect next year's yields. Farming is always a bet on the future.

Most of my month has been working at or thinking about the irrigation "harvest season" at Agri-Lines Irrigation. I have projects spreading west to Vale Oregon, north to Cambridge and Midvale, south to Melba and points between. With winter rapidly approaching, crunch time is here. Installing center pivots has become a top priority with cattlemen and row crop farmers alike. With improved commodity prices and the difficulty in finding dependable and affordable labor, mechanized irrigation is exploding. Just as hand labor has been replaced in the production of crops, so will hand labor be replaced in irrigating those crops. Water supply and runoff quality issues will only hasten the process.

As I have said before, this is a very exciting time to be in the irrigation business. I not only have the opportunity to help growers improve the quality and yields of the crops they produce, but also add time to do things other than irrigate.

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