Howdy! Sorry for the long time away!
Harvest is over and the winter work has begun. During the winter, we focus on fixing equipment that needs work, cleaning up harvest equipment, taking extra winter precautions with the livestock, planting cover crops and breaking land or fixing terraces.
While winter is considerably slower than harvest, the “piddle work” as Jared calls it, is very important. Winter is the time when we plant cover or in the case of some of our fields, break the land and fix broken terraces. Winter is also the time when we order seed; carefully reviewing varieties, looking at past production on our farm as well as research plots in our area. Everything that goes into winter planning ensures that we have a good start during the next crop season. Even the cleaning and fixing of equipment during the winter pays off in lower shop bills (because of the off season) and less headaches down the road.
We also “baby” our cows much more during the winter since the warm-season grasses are dormant. Some years we plant oats or rye for them to graze, but this year we had a good crop of peanut hay and plenty of bagged oats from last year, so we are carrying them through the winter on that. We also supplement with other feeds and minerals as they need it.
While we try to use conservation tillage practices on our farm, sometimes a field requires breaking. This maybe to manage a particular weed or in our case, fix terraces on some new land we are renting. Poor management practices in the past, coupled with already quick to erode soils can lead to ineffective terraces that cause washes. These terraces can be improved by reshaping through plowing.
Here are a few photos of our winter work with the cows… more winter work photos to come!