Category Archives: FARM

The Furrow – Year 1916

No worries, i’ve done the due diligence and checked with John Deere to get permission to reprint articles from this fabulous magazine which is still coming to our home four times a year. Fortunately, i received the very friendly return e-mail:

East Anne <EastAnneK@johndeere.com 3 August 2020 8:24 am

Hi Tauna,

Thanks for reaching out.  I did some research and as it turns out, anything pre-1925 is in the public domain.  While it might be on you to reach out to anyone mentioned or authored (who would be deceased by now), you don’t need our permission.

I also live in Missouri and the weather today is FABULOUS!  Happy blogging.

Anne East
Content Marketing Manager
Agriculture & Turf, Region 4
Olathe, KS
Phone: 913.310.8293

Here is the old magazine in its entirety! Enjoy.

Family Farmers

Thanks to the Missouri Rural Crisis Center for bringing this informative article to light.

View this email in your browser
MRCC member Jeff Jones co-wrote this opinion that appeared in the High Plains Journal with our allies within the Campaign for Family Farms & the Environment (CFFE).

Our members, independent family farmers and rural communities, are suffering and are demanding policies that will help.

This current and historical pain is due to “government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations”.

And, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Join MRCC and the fight for “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

Thank you Jeff, for joining with other farmers in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota and daring to speak truth to corporate power

 *CFFE is comprised of Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Land Stewardship Project (MN), Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. Dakota Rural Action (SD), Food and Water Watch and Institute for Ag and Trade Policy. Meatpacking corporations cash in on pandemic while family farms and consumers foot the billAug 21, 2020For most Americans, the fallout from the pandemic offered a crash course in how supply chains work (or rather, don’t work), especially in the meat supply. Suddenly grocery stores were rationing how much pork and beef each person could purchase, and consumers could no longer depend on getting the meat they needed at their local store. While the general public may have been shocked to see how quickly the meat supply grinded to a halt, farmers and ranchers, like us, were not.Just a handful of multinational companies, including Smithfield (China), Tyson (U.S.) and JBS (Brazil), control a critical step in the supply chain for pork and beef slaughter and processing. This industrial system hinges on a small number of massive slaughterhouses and processing plants, and these facilities are uniquely vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.  With hundreds of workers standing shoulder to shoulder during a grueling and frenzied eight-hour shift, it is nearly impossible to practice protective measures like social distancing, which is why more than 17,300 meat and poultry processing workers in 29 states were infected with COVID-19 in April and May alone.Through it all, the big meat companies used threats of empty store shelves to resist calls to protect their workers by slowing down processing lines or temporarily closing plants. While the news media showed pictures of empty meat cases in grocery stores, meat supplies were being exported from the U.S. to other countries and a historic amount of meat sat in cold storage. This is the result of years of overproduction, which the meatpackers intentionally fuel to drive down prices paid to family farmers.Big meat companies increased their profits during this unprecedented crisis, even as independent family farm livestock producers were paid less, workers were put at greater risk, and consumers paid more for food staples. In one recent example, the June price for a steer going to market from the feedlot was more than $200 lower than it has been for the last several years. Yet, the price of beef at grocery stores just saw the largest monthly increase ever recorded.Things are so bad for livestock producers that several members of Congress and state attorneys general have called for investigations by the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice. If done in good faith, these long-overdue investigations will confirm what farmers and ranchers like us have known for a long time: These companies rig the system to both increase their profits and deepen their control of livestock markets.But we need more than investigations. Our elected officials can act today to take on these global meat corporations and support workers and family farmers during this challenging time by making sure pandemic response assistance goes to independent family farmers who need it to survive, not multinational corporations making a racket. We also must protect workers by establishing enforceable workplace safety and health standards, preventing retaliation for reporting infection control problems or taking sick leave, and requiring tracking and public reporting of COVID-19 outbreaks in workplaces.To help family farms, lawmakers should set rules that allow independent livestock producers and small and mid-sized packing plants to compete on a level playing field by finalizing the USDA Farmer Fair Practice Rules. We also need to establish a moratorium on new agribusiness and food industry mergers to stop excessive corporate control from getting even worse and reinstate mandatory Country of Origin Labeling so U.S. consumers have the option to choose U.S. born, raised and processed meat.Lastly, we need to stop public taxpayer funding of corporate factory farms that fuel the corporate takeover of the meat system. With livestock backing up on farms because of supply chain disruption, this is no time to build more large-scale factory farms. Factory farms flood the market, push prices down and independent family farmers out, and exist to feed these giant corporate slaughterhouses.One of the many lessons we have learned from this global pandemic is that it matters who controls our food system. Right now, it’s a few multinational conglomerates that write the rules and extract every cent of wealth they can from family farmers, workers and consumers. Instead, we need a democratic, decentralized industry that benefits and lifts-up independent family farmers, consumers, our national and food security, and environment.The multinational meat companies who created this mess must not be the ones who decide what happens next for our food supply. It’s got to be all of us.*Barb Kalbach, fourth generation family farmer and Iowa CCI member from Adair County, Iowa; Jefferson Jones, fourth generation cattle, grain and hay farmer, Missouri Rural Crisis Center member, Callaway County, Missouri; John Harter, livestock producer, Dakota DRA chairperson, Winner, South Dakota; Darrel Mosel, cattle, soybean and corn farmer, Land Stewardship Project member, Gaylord, Minnesota.Join MRCC HERE
Copyright © 2020 Missouri Rural Crisis Center, All rights reserved.
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Just a Hiccup

Had a lot of things on my to-do list, but a few were left undone since i discovered the kitchen sink was leaking. Loosened the lock nut, raised up the drain, rolled up a replacement bit of plumbers putty, and replaced that which had deteriorated. Tightened it all up and voila! it seems to be working now. However, i did notice the flat rubber (located between the lock nut and the bottom of the sink) is stretched out of shape – had better get a replacement on hand just in case.

Collecting Flower seeds

It’s that time of year in north Missouri to start collecting and storing seeds. If i see a flower or plant along the road banks i like, i stop and collect as many seeds as possible. Lay them out to dry, then store in a dry place and start them early in the spring. I direct sow where i want the plants – transplanting just doesn’t seem to work for me.

Illinois Bundleflower

harvested Stella D’Oro lily seeds
These lilies are not native to Missouri, but are often used for landscaping and are quite pretty.

Renewing Relationships

This isn’t going to be a profound blog – i’m not a profound kind of person. This is simply a blog with some photos i took recently with my Pentax K-5 and, honestly, i had to renew my relationship with my camera by getting out the book! Taking snapshots with my phone is just so handy, that lugging my heavier camera fell out of vogue.

Time to enjoy it some more. And read my book and practice, practice, practice.

Giant Swallotail on my phlox plants
Thankfully, we live in an area with not much light pollution. These past few moonless nights were great opportunity to practice night shots. i don’t have all the gadgets and equipment for best shots, but that’s okay – i’m pleased enough.
Little thieves caught in the act! What a challenge to be a sunflower farmer!
Okay, not so great – didn’t read the book before taking this shot.
Not all the animals on our farm are wild. One of my Welsummer hens coming of the shade.

Chicks Arrived!

Do i get some more layers or not? Like dairy cows, chickens require daily attention and in some seasons of life, we simply don’t want or need to be tied to daily chores, especially considering that farm chores often will not be covered by someone else. When i finally decided to go ahead and order for late summer/early fall shipping, COVID 19 hit and apparently everyone in the country thought homesteading was the only thing to save them! In other words, all the hatcheries were suddenly sold out with no idea when they would have more inventory. So, i waited and waited and checked Cackle Hatchery website over and over. Did research on alternative heritage breeds and at long last they had Salmon Faverolles. I had no experience with them, but what the heck. So i put the number of chicks in my cart and waited and considered another week – just to make sure i really wanted to raise more layers to take the place of my nearly 15 month old Welsummers hens come next spring.

That extra week was all it took! Voila! The Welsummers were once again available, so i switched out and took them. Now i see the Faverolles are sold out. Maybe another year for them.

Cackle Hatchery sent me a ship date and on that date, they sent a time of shipment, i called our postal service in Laclede early afternoon so she could message the Linneus post office that chicks would likely arrive early in the morning and would they call me so i could go pick them. They did arrive overnight and the call came through and i high tailed it up to get them. (Our two small town post offices share hours for the day, ie Linneus is open in the morning, Laclede is open in the afternoon)

Of course, i had already set up their housing and was ready for them with chlorine free water and feed. For housing, i just pull two cardboard boxes together and cut a hole in the sides. I plugged in the heat lamp before i headed to town, having already checked out that the area where the chicks would congregate would warm to 99F. I use cardboard boxes so i can simply burn them once i move the chicks to their larger outdoor living quarters when they are older.

Can Oat Growing Make A Comeback!

Mostly  i’m posting this article because it is particular interest to me as a grower – although we are also consumers of oats, not only to eat for ourselves, but also because it is hands down the best grain, along with barley, for livestock and poultry.   Growing small grains can be an important soil amendment as long as livestock integration is part of the rotation.

Thanks to Successful Farming magazine for this great article.

Oats Find A Fit

 

OATS FIND A FIT

Back in 2018,Wayne Koehler’s golden-hue oats just north of his house were rapidly nearing harvest.

“It was along the highway, so they were very visible,” says the Charles City, Iowa, farmer. “I had some people stop and ask if I wanted to sell my oats to them. I’ve never had anyone stop and ask about buying corn and soybeans. It was clear that there was a demand that was not being met.”

OAT BENEFITS 

At one time, oat fields were as common as the corn and soybean fields that now dominate the Midwestern landscape. In 1950, Iowa farmers grew 6.619 million acres of oats. In 2019, though, Iowa-intended oat plantings limped along at a paltry 135,000 acres.

Still, oats have a number of benefits in complementing a rotation of corn and soybeans.

 Disrupting weed cycles. “It can enable farmers to get ahead of problem weeds that can develop herbicide resistance,” says Alisha Bower, Practical Farmers of Iowa strategic initiatives manager.

 Scavenging nitrates. The fibrous root system of oats can soak up unused nitrates from nitrogen (N) applications. “This keeps nitrates from flowing into tile lines and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico,” says Bower.

 Spreading labor. Since farmers plant and harvest small grains earlier than corn and soybeans, they can better spread their labor over the growing season, says Bower.

 Complementing yields of other rotational crops. A long-term USDA-ARS trial at the North Central Agricultural Research Laboratory in Brookings, South Dakota, showed a 24% yield spike for corn when no-tilled in a four-year diverse rotation vs. a corn-soybean rotation.

Koehler grew up with oats on his family’s farm. In the 1980s, though, oats exited many crop rotations. One reason was the 1980s farm crisis, Koehler believes. Some farmers also phased out livestock, and those who stayed built confinement housing that did not use as much oat straw for bedding, he says.

Still, oats surfaced on Koehler’s farm in the early 2000s, when he used oats as a nurse crop for hay. Nurse crops help suppress weeds and protect the soil as the forage crop establishes itself.

Several years later in 2009, Koehler aimed to tile 50 acres of his farm. “Getting a tile contractor in the fall is a challenge, because everyone wants them then,” he says. Planting oats on that field enabled him to access a tiling contractor after August harvest, when tiling contractors are less busy.

He also sells straw to dairy farmers out of the field at harvest. He stores the balance of his oat crop and sells in the fall and winter to various buyers.

MANAGEMENT 

“If you look at the cost of inputs for oats, it is completely different from corn,” says Koehler. Iowa State University crop budgets for 2019 peg variable costs for corn yielding 218 bushels per acre following soybeans at $379.44 per acre. Variable costs for oats are much less at $150.75 per acre if seeded with alfalfa.

Still, it’s not a plant-it-and-forget-it crop, Koehler says. Wet and humid conditions help trigger crown rust. This fungal disease can be dodged somewhat by selecting tolerant varieties, says Koehler. Timely applications of fungicides can help farmers manage crown rust.

Koehler considers a field’s weed seed bank when selecting oat fields. “Giant ragweed and Canada thistle are usually the most troublesome weeds,” he says. If necessary, he spot-sprays 2,4-D amine or MCPA herbicide early postemergence. Adequate seeding rates also help deter weeds. “Don’t cheat on the seeding rate if you are growing oats for grain,” he says.

Lodging concerns also exist. “If you apply too much nitrogen, the stalks will not support the oats,” he says. “So, I’m pretty conservative on N, adding about 50 pounds per acre.”

MACHINERY

“The equipment issue is certainly a challenge, but one that can be solved without too much effort,” says Bower. A booming cover crop seed market has created more availability of drills that farmers can rent if they just want to test oats on a few acres, she adds.

Swathers are another story. Oats go through a sweating period following harvest when they shed moisture. Swathing enables this process to occur in the field, rather than risking spoilage if it occurs in a bin.

“Swathers in good working order are few and far between,” she says.

Storing oats in a grain bin with an aeration floor and adequate fan and vents can also remove moisture when straight-combining oats, Koehler says.

Oats aren’t for everyone, Koehler says. Still, they may fit certain farms.

“Oats can work on farms that have the equipment and the markets,” he says.

OAT MARKETS

Finding markets can be a challenge for oats, but several outlets exist, says Alisha Bower, strategic initiatives manager for Practical Farmers of Iowa.

  • Food-grade oats. These markets aim at human consumption products like oatmeal. Bower says processing plants like Grain Millers at St. Ansgar, Iowa, exist to buy food-grade oats from Minnesota and Iowa farmers.

Buyers pay a premium for food-grade oats. There’s a hitch, though, since farmers have to meet test weight and protein levels.

“In Iowa, there’s no problem with hitting protein specifications  due to its rich soils,” says Bower. “But meeting test weight standards of 38 pounds per bushel is a challenge.”

Hot weather during head fill can crimp test weight. That’s why oat farmers plant early in order to dodge summer heat. Last year, Wayne Koehler, a Charles City, Iowa, farmer drilled no-till oats on April 9.

“Even if the soil is a little on the sticky side, you want to push the envelope by planting early,” he says.

  • Livestock feed markets. Oats that don’t meet human consumption standards can make livestock feed. Although prices paid are less, protein and test weight standards are lower. Outlets include smaller livestock producers and ones as large as Smithfield, which is buying oats and wheat at its Allerton and Davis City locations in southern Iowa in 2020, says Bower.
  • Cover crop seed markets. This market can be more lucrative than livestock feed, though there are many regulations to meet, Bower says. High germination is key, she adds.
  • Commodity grain markets. Granted, unit trains for elevators to fill with oats don’t exist as they do for corn or soybeans. Still, some elevators will accept oats, even if they don’t advertise it or put out bids, says Bower. They use it for markets like creep feed for cattle, she adds.

VARIETAL INVESTMENT 

Seed and chemical companies have poured billions of dollars into corn hybrids and soybean varieties. Oats? Not so much.

“Oats and other small grains could really benefit from additional investment in research and development,” says Alisha Bower, Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) strategic initiatives manager.

PFI, supported by General Mills, Grain Millers, Inc., and Albert Lea Seed, is conducting oat varietal performance trials. Meanwhile, public breeding programs still exist across the Upper Midwest.

PFI is working with public breeding programs to create a varietal selection tool for farmers. “Farmers could put in their ZIP code, and the program would predict what variety would perform best in their area,” Bower says.

This tool will be beta tested in 2020. If you’d like to get involved, contact info@practicalfarmers.org.

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