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First harvest

Agriculture.com Staff 07/03/2006 @ 1:57pm

Even though farmers hardly ever discuss weather (yeah, right) I am sure this year has sparked a lot of discussions. There seems to be very little hay that has not had some precipitation on it. At Sunrise Acres our first cutting has been rained on during just about every phase of harvest. We waited to cut it until after the first storms had appeared to have passed. I felt sorry for some of the neighbors who finally gave up on baling theirs and chopped it just to get it off the field. But Mother Nature wasn't through.

From the time we cut until finally getting it baled, our hay received numerous showers. Our neighbor Jeff Hansen baled late into the night to beat Tuesday's forecasted moisture. With second cutting re-growth well on its way, the bales will have to set a bit longer to dry before stacking. That's all part of the risks of growing hay.

Carol will start the fifth irrigation of our winter wheat crop this week The cooler weather is helping the seed heads to fill slowly, which should bode well for a good crop. There doesn't seem to be much insect pressure on the crop so far so hopefully our costs will be minimal. At best wheat in our valley is a break even affair and usually just a crop to get some organic matter back into the soil for future crops. A few patches of Canadian thistle are starting to poke through in our wheat. If they mature too quickly we will have to chop the biggest ones out and then spray them this fall to keep from seeding the whole farm to this obnoxious pest. I'm sure our youngest son Johnny will enjoy the experience of taking a machete to this prickly menace (yeah, right #2).

Our daughter Katie has been busy taking care of her 4-H pigs for the upcoming fair. They enjoy the cooler weather and seem to be growing rapidly. Each of our six children have had pig projects over the years, and it just seems to make it more of a farm to have animals to take care of.

Johnny has been working for one of my Agri-Lines customers, Ken Africa, for the past couple of weeks. We just finished installing a sprinkler system last week, with a drip tube system to be completed after the table grapes have been planted. Ken has spent many long hours this spring preparing the location for his new endeavor. Being a recent retiree, hopefully he will be able to enjoy some "down time" after the vineyard is completed. I have enjoyed working with Ken and watching the transformation of his acreage. One of the favorite parts of my job is getting to meet new people and seeing their projects through to completion.

Since last month we have completed a lot of irrigation projects at Agri-Lines. At one point, our warehouse looked like the floor of a pump factory with new pumps awaiting installation. The early wet weather this year bunched our projects together causing our shop to put in a lot of overtime getting parts and pieces ready for delivery. Our pivot service department and electricians have done a great job of keeping ahead of the double demands of getting new projects going and keeping old ones running. The delivery crew is constantly on the move from one end of the valley to the other. The irrigation business is like farming this time of the year with long hours away from family and leisure. I really appreciate the effort everyone puts into keeping things running.

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