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For as many years as I can remember there has been a very strict rotation between the four fields at the dairy farm.  Two fields of corn, one planted early and one planted late to space out the maturity time of corn to be chopped into silage.  One field of wheat that was hay the following year and one field of hay that rotated to corn the following year.  The dry cows (cows on vacation in between being “dryed up” and having a calf which restarts milk production) had calves in the wheat or hay field, depending which was closest to the barn.

soybean planter

The Little Farmer & I posing for the camera after we filled the planter with seed.

This rotation also allowed space to haul manure during the summer.  The barn would be cleaned out before the last field of corn was planted.  The cows spent the summer out on the pasture and silage had been chopped early enough to haul manure on the corn stubble. Manure could be hauled after wheat harvest or on the edge of a hay field if necessary.  We did not use no-till technology at the dairy because the manure needed to be incorporated into the soil to get the most use out of the nutrients.  I expect planting a larger percentage of my family’s farm using no-till in the future.

This is one of the fields at the dairy.  This implement is a grain drill.  It is used to plant wheat in the fall and soybeans in the spring.  To the untrained eye this may look normal.  But I knew the whole time that I was planting soybeans in a field that had never grown soybeans before.  Since the milk cows were sold there is a lot less manure and animals which means we don’t need silage.  Bottom line it’s just a big change to have significantly less livestock.

We still have all of the calves from the milk cows, but they are growing, and in time the color, type and quantity of cattle around the farm may change.  My dad is a livestock farmer first and grain farmer second.  I’ve watched my dad plan crops and timing based on what is best for the livestock my whole life.

I think change seems a lot more significant when you live in it.  For example this was the first field of soybeans that we planted and the Little Farmer realized that he could climb up on the seed box all by himself.  He wanted a picture because that was big change to him.

farming & soybeans

The Little Farmer showing his new skill

We all experience change in life.  I guess we can resist or embrace change.  Do you have any unwanted or unexpected change that needs acknowledged and embraced?

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