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A Farmer’s Gamble

This is our wheat field.

A farmer's gamble

There are different ways to grow wheat, but on our farm we plant it in the fall when the wheat has a chance to germinate and grow just a little before the cold weather sets in.  During the coldest months wheat hibernates and then with the first rays of spring sun the little sprouts are ready to green up again.

Or they’re supposed to.

 

The reality of this year was the POLAR VORTEX.  Snow flurries began just days after the wheat was planted and the spring sun, well, we’re still not sure its around to stay.

Which means an entire wheat crop has been lost.

A farmer's gamble

We brought out an agronomist and the insurance adjuster to look at the fields.  Both pointed out that, besides the bare spots where no wheat is even growing, the plants that are growing are not healthy and only a third will develop wheat berries.  Of that third almost all are developing wheat heads that are growing sideways instead of straight up.  That means they won’t pollinate well, loosing another third of whatever crop we might have had.  Then there is the matter of the plants being small and stunted, meaning the combine won’t be able to pull the crop into its reel and we’ll loose even more grain.

The end result was estimated to be less than 2 bushel of wheat per acre.

DSC_0054

Yeah.  That’s about the same as nothing.

Thankfully we will be able to kill the wheat (the lingo is “burn” the wheat) and go ahead and plant beans in those fields.  It will hurt most where we planned for a wheat harvest in June so we could repair terraces in the summer.  Beans won’t be harvested until after repair work is over, meaning these fields will wait another year.

A farmer's gamble

But farming has always been a risky business and we knew that before we planted wheat last fall, or before we planted crops the previous spring, and even before we ever began to farm at all.  Every year is uncertian; every crop is just hope.

Every day is a gamble for a farmer.

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Categories: Science | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “A Farmer’s Gamble

  1. Very sorry to hear about your bad luck. Better luck to you with your beans. And hopefully you have other eggs in other baskets. 😉

    • Thanks irini! And yes, we have other baskets and thankfully a percentage of the loss is covered by insurance. So grateful for that! I always think of the Little House books and remember how the loss of a wheat crop for Pa nearly caused the family to starve!!

      • You never know about the weather, unfortunately. We planted winter wheat in 2012 and didn’t get the beans planted in time for a 2013 crop.

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