Thursday, July 16, 2015

Summary of what's going on right now on the farm

 The big news about the corn is that there's no big news.  It's growing well, not really showing any signs of drought stress yet (despite 40 days of no rain at all) and the drought conditions have prevented weeds from growing in the field pretty much at all.  So everywhere I planted corn it's about 4-5' tall and looks great.   I'm breaking the farmer rule here:  farmers lose the crop before they plant, they lose it during planting, and then they lose it a third time at harvest, of course.

 Pig sales this year have been robust.  I've sold about 4/5ths of the pigs that I will sell this year already; the big market for pigs is in the late winter/spring months, and I sold 2100 pigs from feb to may, with the biggest sales month in april this year.  That's earlier than most years, mostly prompted by the weather we've had round here.  Warm and dry means people started getting their farms going earlier generally, and that means buying their yearly pigs early, too.    I'll probably end up with total pigs sales around 3,000 this year; the majority being weaned pigs, but our BBQ and suckling pig buisness is growing.  We're filling orders for 7 to 10 roasting pigs a week at this time of year, and I'm seeing increasing demand.
Feed prices:  Feed prices were initially supposed to drop this  year, but torrential rain in the midwest is reducing crop yields, and the jury is still out as to whether feed prices will rise or fall this year.  You can find people who claim both ends; I'm hoping that my corn this year takes me mostly out of that conversation entirely, with respect to my pig operation anyway.

Hay:  The drought has really impacted the growth rate of the orchard grass, reducing the yield quite a bit.  The alfalfa, with its deep tap roots, is doing fine, and I really hand't considered that when I put it in -- that alfalfa would resist a shorter drought and produce forage about as well as it does when it rains.  that's a nice plus.  it's at 1% bloom right now; I'll be cutting it at 10% bloom for my third cutting of the year, and at this rate will probably get a fourth cutting before I'm done.   This third cutting will probably yield between 800 and 900 bales, putting my total at 3,000 bales in the barn, with a goal of 4,000 bales -- so a fourth cutting will get me where I need to be.

Bees: The bees did swarm; I did capture them, thanks to my neighbor calling me to tell me where they'd landed, and honey-wise it looks like all of the hives are in good shape.  I'm adding a frame of drone-comb to each hive for varoa mite control now.

I'm breaking out the irrigation equipment to use the contents of the manure lagoon and hopefully empty it this year.  I've got the tractor agitatating it right now, and I'll start pumping it tommorow.

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