This is my 5 year old son, Carson, playing with a neighbor dog. I like the picture because it symbalizes the fun we have on the farm working with animals and plants as well. A special thank you goes to the Responsible Nutrient Management Foundation for posting my blogs at www.rnmf.org. If you haven’t heard of this group or visited their website, I encourage you to check it out. The website is fairly new, so come back again throughout the spring as it becomes populated with even more useful tools and resources.
On May 3rd, 2010 we planted the first crop under our control on the field I’m affectionately calling the Blank Slate. My how fast a year goes! Since we have new readers today, I’ll explain that the Blank Slate is a 60 acre farm my wife and I bought that had been cash rented as long as anyone could remember. Consequently, the field had been mined and the nutrient levels were very low. The two more important things that had been lost, though, were the organic matter in the soil and the topsoil from the hills. My goal with this field is to build it back up and to protect the soil from further erosion with every decision I make on this farm for the rest of my farming career.
Here’s what the field looked like immediately after harvest. We used a chopping head on one of the two combines running in the field which left the stalks looking all the same as you can see here. It also chopped up the residue into 6 inch chunks that laid nicely over the winter protecting my soil from wind and water erosion. Those 6 inch pieces are easy to move with our strip tillage tool we normally use to place fertilizer. In this particular field it was used simply to open up a path through all the residue for us to plant into.
Here’s a picture of what things looked like this spring. Pretty much the same as last fall.
We’re working on other fields now but hope to be planting this field by Saturday if the soil conditions are fit. We’ll be applying the fertilizer and crop protection products then too. Hope you have a great week as well!