Saturday, September 3, 2016

Farming is looking ahead

We have had our first rains of the fall, and I'm busy doing all of the things that will wrap the farm up for the winter.

One thing that I'm doing is some late-season planting.  I've got between 45 and 60 days until the first killing frost, and that's enough time to plant ground cover on any bare dirt that exists anywhere.  Not just in the flood plain; anyplace where animals have worn down the cover it's the time of year to replace it.  So I'll be planting some alfalfa and some grass and a little bit of clover on 7 to 10 acres of fields just to make sure that they're all set for the winter.

The driveway and walkways around the farm can get muddy, and so a few loads of gravel and some grading are in order to make sure that the footing is good for the winter.   In one high-use area I may put down a concrete slab - the area directly under the augers that I get the feed from seems to sink pretty rapidly over the year, so I may put down a concrete patch there so that the wear-and-tear from the tractor going by doesn't dig a hole.

There are some drainage issues that I ran across last year, and I may address those as well.  Most of that is just making sure that clean water remains clean - so downspouts go into drains directly off the roof, and then into swales or wetlands from there, which keeps the water from picking up anything on its way though the farm.   I'm not required to do this, but I am surrounded by salmon streams and it is a best-practice for farms, and it'll be required if I do decide to get a dairy license, so might as well get it done now.  Plus it reduces the amount of water on the concrete slabs, and when it gets colder, it reduces ice buildup.  All pluses.

A final mowing for the orchard area, maybe some tilling between the rows and eradication of anything that I don't want to keep for next year, which basically means working down fencelines and trimming back everything that interferes with the fence.  I want the electric fences to be good and hot, even though all of the animals will be in barns when it gets cold.   A hot fence will kill young vegetation that grows next spring, so might as well help it along.

I've still got a little bit of time to spread the final manure from the lagoon, and then there's the equipment maintenance.  Everything with an engine gets greased and run, oil change, filter changes, and tires checked.  Stuff that needs to be welded can be done when it's colder, but I'll update my list.  I'm also thinking about some sort of heat source for one of my barns to make shop work more pleasant, and maybe some insulation.

Busy busy busy

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