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Second Pass & Broadcast

With the first pass May 15, 16, and 17 behind me, several very light rain showers, and a few days of drying out, I was ready to get to that second tillage pass and get the annual seeds in the dirt!.  Thursday,  May 25, 2017, I spent 4 hours with the Howard Rotavator 600 and was pleasantly surprised that, for the most part, the John Deere 4250 tractor worked along nicely at A2 speed vs A1.  This effectively increased my speed from 2.1 mph to 2.6 mph.  And it showed up in the final tally for sure!  The second pass on the same 18 acres, instead of taking 12 hours as before, only rang up 7 1/2 hours.  Nice.  Admittedly, i could never make a farmer (row cropper); how do those guys run those things for hours on end, daylight to dark, day after day.  I was thankful, i could distract myself for a while, at least on the long rows, by chatting (private message) with my son, who was at a cafe in Spain, and texting about soil conditions with a friend who was farming another part of my farm with 120 acres for organic soybean production.  I finished up with the second pass on the 26th.  It was also seeded on the 26th.

When i was about 2/3 rds completed, Allen came with a huge bag of premixed annual seed to fill the hopper on the Einboch power seeder and harrow.  He finished all 18 acres in about 4 hours, counting a couple stoppages due to hoses plugging.

So, time spent so far:

Mixing seeds – 1 hour

Tractor – first pass – 12 hours

Tractor – second pass – 7 1/2 hours

Tractor/Seeding  – 4 hours

A couple of ways to figure the cost of establishment.

One is to figure my actual costs and assign an hourly rate for our time plus wear/tear/depreciation on the tractor and implements.  And the other is to use custom rental rates which are figured by the acre.

  1. Total man hours spent – 24.5 hours at $??/hr
  2. Tractor costs for 23.5 hours at $??/hr
  3. Seed cost
  4. Fuel costs – 23.5 times 7.7 gph = 181 gallons @

Or using machinery rental rates (which is what i’m going to do since i don’t know the above costs!)

  1. tractor and rotavator – 36 acres times $20/acre = $720.00
  2. tractor and seeder/harrow – 18 acres times $15/acre = $270.00
  3. Seed costs – $31.56 per acre is what i ordered – HOWEVER, i am informed that Allen actually put on about half again as much, so i will multiply that amount by 1.5 for a per acre cost of $47.34.  The additional seed will hopefully pay off in increased forage yields.  So total seed costs are $$852.12.

Buckwheat 6# @ $ .90/lb

Lespedeza 6# @ $1.00/lb

Pearl Millet 5# @ $1.05/lb

Oats 12# @ $ .28/lb

Cowpeas 6# @ $ .90/lb

Sunflower 5# @ $.45/lb

Red Clover  2# @ $1.95/lb

Total expenses then amount to $1842.12 or $102.34 per acre.  That’s a lot and does not include the 2 tons of lime i had applied in April at a cost of $66/acre.  It’s tough to say this all has to be recouped in one year or one grazing because the lime will be there for the rest of my life and the tillage will have long term effects in loosening the soil as well as eradicating the toxic endophyte infected fescue.  With so many variables, counting the cost, or rather, measuring the increase or lack thereof, in the short run, is very difficult in ranch renovation.

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Greased up and ready to go!
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Greased up and ready to go!
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On the long rows, i can distract myself by chatting through Facebook with my son, who was in Spain, and texting my friend who is farming another portion of my land about soil conditions.  Lot of talk about the negative aspects of multitasking, but we all do it and it works.
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Seen here the second pass.
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Wasn’t just a plethora of big rocks this machine dug up.  Boy howdy, this made quite a clatter!  Thankfully, it did not do any damage and i was able to easily unwind this heavy chain from the shaft.
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Allen, my husband, moving along quickly with the Einbach seeder/harrow.  I gotta keep plugging along or he will overtake me!
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Einboch PneumaticStar – Pro Grass Seeder/harrow
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After the Einbock Pneumatic Seeder/Harrow passes.
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Seeded 26 May, no rain, but took this photo this morning, the 1st of June, and it can already be rowed, but ya gotta hold your head just right to see it.
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Close up of some of the forages emerging – very exciting!  Only 5 days in the ground.

The plan is to have something to graze in 60-75 days. This will depend large part on moisture.  We are getting pretty dry now already and need a rain.  I will post updates.

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Here’s a shot of my seed mix in the machine.

By the way, you noticed i’m not including costs associated with photography and blogging.  It’s a good way to force me to sit down and keep a log of expenses, time, and results.  Hopefully, it will help others as well!

Managing soil, water, and animals properly and privately goes a lot further than politically motivated government regulations written by people who are far removed from soil and weather.

Cheers!

tauna

Read through the Bible

The start of a new year is a great time to begin reading or listening to the Scriptures.  Torah Portions is a perfect platform for accomplishing the blessing of reading/listening through the Bible in about a year.

In the Beginning – this week.

The link above is provided by TorahFamily.org.  Also find them on Facebook TorahFamily

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

Weekly Torah Portion – wikipedia

Green Hills Farm Project

Founded and organised by David Schafer and Dennis McDonald way back in 1988 and bolstered by a generous grant from the Kellogg’s Foundation, Green Hills Farm Project emerged as a grassroots driven and attended by farmers, ranchers, and anyone interested in sustainable agriculture each month.  Farmers volunteer to host a farm walk at their place for nearly each month of the year and these dates are posted now on a facebook page by the same name.  We share our stories, improvements, failures, successes, and plans for the future with attendees who then volunteer experiences and ideas amongst themselves and the host.  This is an amazing group of forward-thinking producers trying to help each other be financially as well as environmentally sustainable.

With dues still at only $20 per individual or family, this is the best investment going.  Green Hills Farm Project members also put together an annual winter seminar with nationally known popular speakers making presentations in our little town of Linneus, Missouri with attendance fees varying from $20-$40!  This is for speakers who typically command upwards of $500 per person!

Farm walks have traditionally been scheduled for the evenings of the third Thursdays of each month, but have increasingly been held on moveable Saturdays at noon, include a potluck meal with meat or main dish, service, and drinks provided by the host family.  The actual walk itself typically lasts 1-2 hours followed by a very short meeting.  Green Hills Farm Project encourages families, even the youngest children to attend since one of the goals is to promote and assist future farmers.

Since 1862, the number of producers in the United States dropped from 97% of the population to today’s less than 2%!  Due in part to increased mechanisation (thank goodness!), but also that farming is hard work, long hours, low pay, and low return on investment.  Little wonder young people continue to leave the home place in droves!  The USDA agriculture census indicates that a 30 year trend of less young people entering farming as the average age of a farmer continues to rise.  Additionally, not quite half of the 2.1 million American farmers site farming as their main source of income!

With less than 1% of the population engaged in full-time farming, is the United States setting itself up for a food security meltdown?  How much do we want to depend on others to provide our food?  Time will tell as most Americans continue to buy the cheapest food possible, regardless of the cost to their own health, the health of their communities, and environments, or the welfare of the country at large.

If you’d like to join and/or participate in Green Hills Farm Project farm walks, contact me or for up-to-date information, ‘like’ Green Hills Farm Project facebook page.  Next farm walk is Saturday, November 29th (2014) at Greg and Jan Judy’s Green Pastures Farm.  Meet at 11:30am with tour starting at 1pm.  Bring a potluck dish to share.