Saturday, August 28, 2021

Latest News from the Farm: Rocks, Cover Crops, and Kernza

 It's been a while since I've posted, mainly as I've been busy. A couple nights I got home around 2am after a long day in the tractor with no lunch or dinner (sad face). 

Before the "real work" could start I was repairing equipment so that we could harvest wheat, followed by... harvesting wheat; after that I decided to have the ground disc-ripped to break up a hardpan layer (responsible for much of my foxtail pressure), that process dug up a lot of big rocks (one shown below) that needed to be removed. We then disced that soil down to break up most of the residue after which I drilled a cover crop of winter peas, turnips, radish, sorghum sudan, wheat, and sunflowers. 

We brought the equipment home and I've been going over it - cleaning (How to Clean a Combine!) then repairing. The drill needs an overhaul; after that corn head needs the snap rolls put on it prior to using it later this fall.... you get the idea.

(Click on any picture to make it bigger.)

One of the many things that I need to fix, and part of the reason there haven't been any recent updates to this site, is my broken phone that I use to take pics and movies for the farm site (the above were taken by my Dad). The battery on it has failed, causing the screen to pop off. I have a replacement battery though still need the specialty screwdrivers ("precision pentalobe") that I need to get inside the case. 

In crop news, the cover crop I drilled is just coming up and the corn planted this past spring looks good -  nice big ears. We're making plans to get a 27 foot diameter 11,000 bushel grain bin built to hold/dry down the wheat, oats, and Kernza, a newly developed perennial grain, that we'll be growing.

Next year we'll add about 25 acres of Kernza, (field day info here), to what we're growing. In the spring there will be peas drilled, harvested in August, with the Kernza drilled into the residue. It will stay in Kernza for the next two years. 

Carmen Fernholz, my mentor, is in the video below talking about their experience growing Kernza.


We're joining a Kernza co-op to market the grain. As with any new ventures, there are problems along the way.