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Smells like fall

Agriculture.com Staff 10/10/2008 @ 12:52pm

September is over and fall is here. Take a break and step outside. Can you smell it?

Hello again from Sunrise Acres. The growing season is drawing to a close and the greens of Summer are turning yellow and brown. Harvesters and trucks are working long hours to get crops safely in storage before rain and cold do their damage. Tractors and implements apply fertilizer and work the ground to prepare for next years' harvest. Money is being plowed back into the ground even before this years profits are counted. All part of the eternal cycle of agriculture.

Fall, more than any other time of the year, is when I miss farming the most. Harvest season is the payoff for all of the long hours of preparation, sweat, and worry that are part of the life of a farmer. If the crop is a good one and the price is fair, nothing quite matches the feeling of satisfaction that comes from watching your years production delivered safely to its final destination. Insects, weather, and water shortages can no longer affect your crops potential.

With the cooler wet weather predicted for this weekend, the final hay harvest here at Sunrise Acres could be long and drawn out. Our close proximity to the Snake River means heavy dews and slow drying from here on out. We will have the alfalfa hay cut for the fourth time and the grass-alfalfa pasture cut for the second. Hopefully after this weekend the weather will stabilize and allow for a successful harvest completion. Fourth cutting alfalfa is usually the lowest yielding of the cuttings but with more leaves and less stems, higher testing in feed value. Feeders have to take care in feeding it as it is very rich and can cause "bloating" deaths in cattle. The second cutting of our pasture should make good horse hay if the rain will leave us alone. No gambles in farming!

Carol's corn crop is maturing but seems to be behind last year in drying down. Each day planting is delayed in the Spring seems to cost an extra 2 days in the Fall. The ears are more plentiful this year but the total kernels per ear seem to be fewer. Time will tell if the thicker planting will pay off. When fuel was a low cost input, farmers could afford to dry their corn after harvest. Now if it is to be safely stored it has to be field dried or put in some type of air tight storage. The corn fields have been so weed free and even, I almost regret seeing them mature and turn brown. With every good crop harvested comes the realization that you have to start all over again next year. I suppose that's much better than the years I couldn't wait to get a weedy, poor crop behind me!

Carol has been picking up the irrigation "siphon" tubes and spraying ditches and edges one last time. This final application of spray will help avoid the big flush of weeds that come in the Spring. It always amazes me how quickly weeds can take over when not kept in check. I recently turned around in what I thought was a paved turnout in rural Eagle. Turns out it was a development with curbs, gutters, and sidewalks that had been overtaken by weeds. Only the pavement kept trails open through this jungle of growth. This once productive tract of farm ground now is hidden by weeds awaiting someone to once again battle back.

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