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Summer winds down at Sunrise Acres

Agriculture.com Staff 08/17/2006 @ 8:13am

This week our alfalfa was cut for the third time. Now the race will be on to see if we can squeeze in a decent fourth cutting. With the days becoming shorter, the early signs of the end of summer are beginning to show themselves.

This summer has been a scorcher. As far as global warming goes, all I can say is this summer has reminded me of the summers of my childhood. Late July and early August always seemed hot with long stretches of 100-degree days punctuated by thundershowers and wind.

Dad always said the week of the Snake River Stampede would bring a big windstorm and usually he was right. The sad part of these violent winds is that someone usually suffers some major crop damage, losing thousands of dollars in a matter of minutes. I would imagine that when the weather cycles back the other way, scientists will be discussing the coming ice age again!

This month our neighbor, Darren Krzesnik, harvested our wheat crop. It was trucked to the Evans Grain receiving facility by Caldwell. In years past when we raised wheat for seed, our harvest was stored on the farm until a seed company was ready to ship it for cleaning. Now our wheat is for commercial use and will be blended with wheat from many other growers.

While the yield was not as good as we had hoped, the quality was very good. The price however is not a bright spot. With farm diesel hitting the $3 a gallon mark, wheat will be at best a break even proposition.

As I mentioned before, our hay has been cut again and now we will play the "watch the weather" game. The hot days will quickly cure the crop so hopefully it will be off of the field in a few days. The price of hay seems to be holding fairly strong, due in part to the lack of quality dairy hay. Last week's high winds played havoc with a neighbors hay, wrapping it around irrigation equipment and across a road. Luckily ours was still firmly rooted in the ground.

The big news this month is that our pasture irrigation system is finally in place and operational. It has been a struggle to find the time to finish it without taking time away from my paying job. Johnny and Carol have been scattering handlines and last night we pressurized the first line. Nothing blew up! There were a few nozzles to unplug but the night was successful.

Now Johnny will get to experience first hand the joys of moving pipes. Our pasture is surprisingly green for never being irrigated this year. Hopefully next year we will be able to restock with a few cattle. A farm just isn’t the same without animals.

Speaking of animals, our big crop this year seems to be cats. At one point we were down to 3 or 4, but now we have become overrun with new batches of kittens. Carol has remarked that it sometimes feel like the movie "The Birds" only with cats. I don't know if there is a market for farm cats, but something has to give. I suppose issuing "cat tags" for a controlled hunt would be socially unacceptable.

A customer recently mentioned that his grandmother-in-law was in charge of "taking care" of any stray cats that showed up. I think maybe we have gotten soft over the years.

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