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Posts Tagged With: modern farmer

Brian Testifies to Congress

Not all farm work happens in the field.  On Tuesday Brian did some critical chores, not in the shop, but in Congress.

Thank a Farmer, Brian testifies before Congress on behalf of Farmers and small business owners.

Thank you to American Farm Bureau for the photos!

He presented information to the House Small Business Committee about new technologies in farming; mostly about the data we now create.  Brian (usually known on this blog as Daddy!) explained how we use GPS and programs like Field View on our tractors, combine, and sprayer.  Each of those pieces of equipment records the location and what was planted, harvested, or applied in the field.  As a business owner we can then pull all of that data together and get a very detailed look at what’s going on with our farm.  We can see if a certain brand of seed grew better than other brands.  We can tell where more fertilizer might be needed.  We can watch for patterns of problems over the course of years.

That’s pretty cool technology, and its something our lawmakers know little about.

But who cares if they know about it, you ask?

Well, Congress tends to like nothing better than to create rules and regulations.  Job security and all.  Naturally no one person can be an expert on everything the United States Congress does, so “expert witnesses, ” like Brian, bring real-life information and personal stories to our elected officials.

Thank a Farmer, Brian testifies before Congress on behalf of Farmers and small business owners.

Brian visited with some of our elected officials while he was in DC.

Did you know some farmers are using drones to check their fields during the growing season to watch for pests that can damage entire fields?  Some people want to regulate these drones the same way we regulate planes.  The cost of this kind of equipment is already high; adding that kind of regulation would make the technology pretty much unusable.  You’d spend more time on paper work than the drone would save you.  You might as well check the field yourself.

All the data I mentioned before is also of legal concern to farmers.  Brian can pull information from the cloud right from the seat of his combine, but who else can see his data?  Can the company that made the program sell that data?  Can the government take it?  Could the Chicago Board of Trade have access to exactly how much corn is being harvested in the US right now?  Can seed companies look at the yield of their seeds and their competitors?

Thank a Farmer, Brian testifies before Congress on behalf of Farmers and small business owners.

Thanks to Missouri Farm Bureau’s press release, the story hit the papers about the time Brian’s plane touched down in Kansas City!

Both of these issues, along with many others, may be visited by Congress.  Some issues we hope they’ll stay away from, allowing owners to control their own small businesses.  On other issues we hope they will choose to help instead of hinder America’s farmers.

So in its own way, this work is as important as any we do here on the farm.

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Categories: Science | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Disclaimer on this Video!

It was awesome to hear this song, “Thank a Farmer” by James Wesley live at the AFBF annual meeting and I made a note to share it on the blog during Thank a Farmer Week.  However, I must add this disclaimer, we are NOT growing daughters in tank tops and tight blue jeans on this farm!  I feel I should warn potential young suitors that Daddy has a Case IH gun safe in the garage.

Thank a Farmer

Just so you know.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

If You Have a Career, Thank a Farmer

If you’re an artist, thank a farmer. If you’re a lawyer or business owner or teacher, thank a farmer. If you work at Wal-Mart, or an animal shelter, or the White House, thank a farmer. Because once upon a time you had two career choices– hunter or gatherer.

Thank a Farmer

Here’s a snapshot of Brian’s mom as a little girl and her Daddy– a farmer.

And then, some enterprising person discovered that you could plant seeds and grow food on purpose and in one place. Some early wanderer domesticated a few sheep or goats and settled down on the banks of a river. It was the beginnings of civilization itself, and it’s all thanks to farming.

Thank a Farmer

This farm was owned by my great, great, uncle.

This week our Farm Bureau is celebrating “Thank a Farmer” week. We talk a lot about how 100% of the people in this country eat food and how America’s farmers provide the safest, most abundant, most affordable food in the world. Which is pretty important stuff. But I was really struck at the American Farm Bureau meeting in San Antonio last month by the head of the USDA, Tom Villsack, when he spoke about the farmer being the cornerstone of civilization, because without someone to grow the food, no one gets to be anything else.

No computer programmers. No engineers. No fashion designers. Not even any McDonald’s employees.

Thank a Farmer

This is Daddy’s Grandpa Tom on the far right, harvesting wheat.

The better farmers get at their jobs, the freer our nation becomes to pursue other avenues. Every advancement in technology means one more kid goes to college to be a writer or opens a garage to build hot rod cars.

My great-grandpa was a police officer.  Benjamin Corner was the first Highway Patrolman in Missouri to give his life in service of his fellow men.

My great-grandpa was a police officer. Benjamin Corner was the first Highway Patrolman in Missouri to give his life in service of his fellow men.

You probably don’t have to look very far back your family tree to find a grandparent or great-grandparent who farmed. When Brian’s grandpa climbed up to the open seat of his combine his hard work provided 20 people with the food they needed, so they could focus on building roads and inventing microwaves. Today, on average, one farmer feeds 155 people. 155 people who can find a cure for cancer or dream up missions to Mars.

Thank a Farmer

This is my mom, visiting her uncle on his farm.

So today, if you dream of a fulfilling career, be glad it isn’t just a filling career, and thank a farmer.

Categories: Technology | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Organic vs GMOs- What Are They?

Have you ever entered the conversation a little late and had to bluff your way through a discussion like you knew what was going on?  Maybe you’ve heard the talk surrounding a news story but never learned the bases for it all.  And then sometimes you’re the person talking in acronyms and using insider phrases while others nod their heads.

I’d guess we all do some of both.

A few weeks ago I posted about Cheerios and their switch to becoming GMO-free.  To write this post I did some research on the General Mills website and read the comments of many people on both sides of the issue.  I also read some comments by people who didn’t seem to have a side in the issue because they really didn’t understand the issue at all.  That got me wondering. How many people are bluffing their way through this conversation? So if you missed the original news story, I’ll try to break it down for you.

GMOs vs Organics- What Are They? GMOs are Genetically Modified Organisms, which means their DNA, their genetic code, has been selected on purpose.  Many argue that farmers have been modifying plants since nomads stopped following animals herds and stayed in one place long enough to grow a crop.  Farmers could look for the best plants, plants that had characteristics they wanted in their crops, and choose that plant to gather seeds for the next season.  Interestingly enough, it wasn’t always just plants that grew the most food (although yeah, that one is popular!) but crops with strong stems or the ones that did best in the climate.  Back when crops were gathered by hand it was even a good thing if the grain fell easily from the stem– something we try to prevent today!  Its not a great leap to suggest that none of the seeds we have today have the DNA they had 7,000, or even 150 years ago.

Obviously, that’s not what all the GMO fuss is about.  Today scientists have the ability to map the genetic code of organisms from potatoes to people.  Using all kinds of technology– as well as vocabulary, that is way beyond my educational training (although I did try to explain it in this post) it is now possible to choose the bits of code you want and put it into a seed on purpose.  That is what a GMO is.

. GMOs vs Organics- What Are They?

Interestingly enough, being organic has almost nothing to do with being a GMO and here’s why.  Creating GMOs is a massive undertaking.  We’re talking time, money, facilities, brain power.  For that reason and many others there are only eight GMO products you can buy today– corn, soybeans, cotton, sugar beet, canola, alfalfa, and papaya, with rice right around the corner. (If you’ve overheard some of the GMO debate you might have heard that China has banned GMOs, but they actually have GMO sweet peppers and tomatoes there.)  Meaning everything else is organic?

Well, no. Organic isn’t related to the DNA of the seed, but rather the way the seed is cared for as it grows into a mature plant.  Modern farming practices involve protecting plants from insects and weeds with products that are sprayed or applied to fields and crops.  Organic refers to the types of products used.  A common misconception about organic foods is that they are grown with no products at all, but unless you either grew it yourself or talked in detail with the farmer who did, this is probably a false assumption.

GMOs vs Organics- What Are They?

If you farm for a living you’re going to need a product to sell.  And no one wants to buy apples with worms, no matter how organic they are. The USDA (that’s United States Department of Agriculture) certifies food as organic.  You can go to their website to see the list of approved products organic farmers can use.  Some products are the same as non-organic farming, but require the farmer to receive training about how to apply the products.  It can also take several years to qualify as organic, since products used on the soil in previous years can count against the organic certification.

So generally speaking, pretty much any plant can be grown “organically,” while only a few plants are GMOs.

GMOs vs Organics- What Are They?

We grow GMO, non-organic beans on our farm, but we use farming practices like growing rye grass as a cover crop to enhance the soil and prevent weeds.

Since this is my blog and I get to write about what’s interesting to me, I’ll add that one goal of GMOs is to create plants that don’t need to be protected from insects because they have their own resistance in their genetic code.  Just an interesting side note! Well, there you have it– the highlights of GMOs and organic foods.  The food debate might well be one of the most important we have in this century.  And now you come to the table informed. 🙂

Categories: Food, Science | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

The one and only, Cheerios

Its only 8:00 AM and I’ve already fought two battles today.  The first I fought with extension cords, bales of straw, and more Carhartt than any person not employed by the company should decently wear at any one time.  The second I’m fighting with a laptop, cell phone, and Instagram account.  It is the battle of public opinion.

Some days you win.  Some days you loose.

IMHO, the one and only Cheerios.

We buy the bulk “2 Box” kind from Sam’s Club.

Modern agriculture recently lost a battle with General Mills, the company behind the one and only, Cheerios.  On January 2nd the company announced we will be seeing new cereal boxes in our grocery story aisles stating that the original Cheerios are now GMO free. This frustrates me on several levels.

First because, as General Mills points out, there are no GMO oats.  The switch involves a small amount of corn starch used in the cooking process and the gram per serving of sugar.  Its a relatively small change on their part that will generate a massive amount of negative opinion on ours.  Definitely frustrating.

Secondly, General Mills themselves states over and over that GMOs are safe.  They link to factsaboutgmos.org, The World Health Organization, The European Food Safety Authority, and the USDA.  But they won’t stand behind this science they apparently believe in.

Third, this Q&A statement from Cheerios mentions “investments” in the new process– places to store the corn starch and sugar etc., and I can’ help but infer that General Mills didn’t do any of this out of the goodness of their hearts, but rather to make a profit.  This leads me to believe that I, as the consumer, will be paying for the “investment” each time I load up my cart at Sam’s Club.  Perhaps my family budget can afford this, but surely you will allow me to stretch my imagination and guess that others cannot.

And this is, perhaps, my greatest frustration.  This is such a first world problem.

IMHO, the one and only Cheerios.

I let my kids pour honey on the original type. Its less sugar than Honey Nut and I used to feel good about letting them eat it.

Only people will full stomachs can be picky about what they put into them.

Mind you, I’m grateful I can be this choosy myself.  I want my kids to have good nutrition, safe food, even adventurous diets.  But what about the mom who just wants her kid to have enough to eat.  Or the mom who wants her kid to have anything to eat.  Because to me, that’s what GMOs are about.  Once they’ve been proven safe, and I’ve done my research and feel they are (Read here and here), GMOs are the ONLY route I can see that leads to full stomachs for a population of some 9 billion people.  Its safe.  Its affordable.  And its possible.  The technology of our past won’t get us there.

IMHO, the one and only Cheerios.

Brett will pick Cheerios over pancakes some days. Whose crazy kid does that?!

So will I keep buying Cheerios?  Dunno.  But I may look around at some different brands and see what my family will eat, because today I feel that General Mills isn’t supporting me and my farm.  They aren’t supporting ag’s efforts to feed the world.  And somehow I think that could have been profitable for them too.

We lost this battle.  The world can’t afford for us to loose the war.

Categories: Food, Technology | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Taking Care of the Land, Another Approach

These pictures aren’t of our fields.  You’ve seen photos of Daddy and Anna repairing soil on terraces.  I’ve shared our rye grass project.  But this isn’t something we do on our farm; these pics are of a neighbor’s field.

Another way farmers are taking care of the land.  {DaddysTractor.com}

You likely know that terraces are mounds of dirt shaped like the hill designed to stop soil from washing down a field and into streams.  You can see in the photographs how this farmer is actually growing hay in strips where the terraces are– right in the middle of his corn field!

Another way farmers are taking care of the land.  {DaddysTractor.com}

The hay is actually bromegrass, which means our friend had to buy the seed and plant it where he wanted it to grow.  Bromegrass grows well in drought–making this farmer look smart at the moment!  It also has a strong root system that makes it a good choice to hold the soil in place for erosion control.

Another way farmers are taking care of the land.  {DaddysTractor.com}

By doing this, the farmer gets hay for his cattle to eat in the winter and protects the land at the same time!

Categories: Science, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Meeting with Monsanto’s President

On Thursday of this past week my husband Brian and I had the opportunity to meet Monsanto’s President and CCO, Brett Begemann, as a part of the Agriculture Leaders of Tomorrow program.  We also toured the research facility in St. Louis, MO and got to take a peek behind the scenes at the greenhouses and test chambers.

My Meeting with Monsanto President

Mr. Begemann talked with us for a while about Monsanto’s acquisition of 20/20, the company that make the precision planting equipment you’ve seen us use on the blog.

If you are a regular follower I’d like to explain now that this post will take on a bit of a different flavor.  Usually I post information suitable for children—this might be information you as an adult read, then teach to the children in your life as you see fit.

Secondly, I’m writing this article to inform you.  You are free to believe anything you like.  If you disagree with me we don’t have to stop being friends.

AND I’m not being paid by anyone or any of that.  Soooo, let’s begin!

Thursday afternoon we toured the Monsanto research facility in St. Louis, MO.  In less than two hours we were briefed on the most advanced technology in the world.  It was amazing.  And yes, some of it was overwhelming.

It started with a basic understanding of DNA.  We’ve probably all seen pictures of the double helix strand.

My meeting with Monsanto President

All the information in a cell is recorded here in a code of ATs and GCs.   Its actually a lot like the binary system of 0s and 1s your computer understands.

In 2003 Scientists completed the Human Genome Project, which was a massive effort to read all these codes, record them, and share the information with the private sector.  This created a map of the ATs and GCs in human DNA.  The order of these codes determine what proteins are produced.  Each protein does a specific job, such as determining your eye color or hair texture.  Read this sort-of basic explanation of genetics from Wikipedia if you’d like more in-depth information!

Scientists have similarly mapped the DNA of some plants.  They have identified certain proteins and the jobs they do within the plant.  At the research facility we watched a presentation that explained the arrangement of proteins as a neighborhood.

My Meeting with Monsanto President

Each strand is a street and on each street are houses for the proteins.  Not every lot has a protein house, however.  Scientists used to think these were empty spaces and filled with “junk” but now they understand how much they don’t understand because the data in these empty lots seems to be very important to turning the proteins on and off.  For example, your DNA is the same in every cell.  But only the DNA that causes your eyes to be blue is actually “on” in your eyes.  Your skin is not blue, neither is your hair.  But that information is still in every skin cell, its just “off.”

So scientists know some proteins’ job is to control the yield of a plant.  If they can place this protein next to the correct empty house the yield of the plant increases!

The thing that struck me here was that DNA is different in every plant, just like it is in every person.  We all have a different combination of proteins that make us the different people we are.  At some point the DNA randomly goes together and you create an albino person.  At some point the DNA randomly goes together and my dark-haired husband and I have a red-haired son.  At some point the DNA can form a plant that yields like crazy.  But you really just have to get lucky.

Modifying the plant on purpose allows you to put proteins where you want them instead of waiting and hoping they will arrange themselves on accident.  

The odds of nature creating a seed with the exact combination you want are infinitesimal.  Just my opinion, but genetic modification doesn’t seem so scary when I realized it could have happened.   Not would have, but could have.  But I view this as learning from God’s design and using it to be better stewards of the land, better stewards of our money, and better human beings to the millions of starving people in this world.  But more on that later…

So some of our corn, soybeans, beets, etc., are modified for better yield, for stronger stalks that don’t fall down in a storm, for drought tolerance, and some are modified for herbicide tolerance.  That’s Round-Up.

My Meeting with Monsanto President

So here again our guide helped me understand what was really going on in a Round Up ready soybean.

The goal is to kill all plants in a field expect soybeans (or whatever you planted).  How do you kill a plant?  Well, Brett and I did an experiment on that back in our Plant Thematic Unit.  Plants need air, water, nutrients, and sunlight.  And while you can’t really control those in a field, sunlight is actually used for the process of photosynthesis which involves, you guessed it, proteins.  The chemicals in Round Up are so specifically designed that they can target the exact protein needed for photosynthesis.  (Actually its the messenger.  It kills the messenger.  I find this funny.  But irrelevant.  Right.)  The Round Up ready plant genes are relocated to new housing to protect their photosynthesis process.  Now farmers can plant more food in less space because instead of needing to drive equipment into the field to till the weeds under, they can spray Round Up.  Plus sensitive plants like corn produce lots more without the competition weeds provided.  And unless you have photosynthesizing genes in your DNA, Round Up isn’t a human problem.*

Furthermore, it is this amazing information about proteins that is being used to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, cancer, Asperger’s, so much more.  I find it interesting that we cheer these projects, yet decry GMOs.

Maybe it is because the effects of cancer are felt here, in our own backyard.  Hunger isn’t an issue we deal with in the US.  At least, it isn’t today.  Currently our own hunger needs stem more from a lack of money than a lack of food.  It just isn’t true everywhere you go.

But maybe we’ll be singing a different tune in another 30-40 years, because today’s population of 7 billion is expected to reach 9 billion in that short of a time frame.  In the next few decades farmers will need to produce more food than ever before.  They will do this with less land than we farm now and probably less water.  They will do this or we will be hungry.

 

 

**I welcome all comments, but please be courteous to all.  I will remove any rude or hurtful replies.  Also, this is a blog for children, so please keep it clean.

*I will be posting more about our meeting soon, but please understand there is SO MUCH to say about GMOs and Monsanto I could not possibly cover it all, especially in one post.   🙂

Categories: Science, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Getting Ready for Spring Planting

This shows farmers getting equipment ready for spring planting—so cool!  {DaddysTractor.com}

The sun seems a bit shy this year, but despite the cold, Daddy is getting ready for spring planting! Today’s task is getting the planter ready. The planter is one of the most important pieces of equipment on our farm because it puts the seeds into the soil.  Without that, there is nothing to farm!  Getting each seed at the right depth with soil pushed in on all sides is a big goal, but Daddy keeps working to make that happen.  After purchasing the planter we have now, Daddy took off many of the parts it came with and replaced them with parts from a company called Precision Planting.  And each spring he checks each part, replaces broken pieces, oils, cleans and otherwise repairs the planter.

This shows farmers getting equipment ready for spring planting—so cool!  {DaddysTractor.com}

Here you see Daddy using a tourch to remove a bolt that was stripped.

This shows farmers getting equipment ready for spring planting—so cool!  {DaddysTractor.com}

This is the part he was working on.  These are 16 of these on the planter and each one must be in perfect working order!

This shows farmers getting equipment ready for spring planting—so cool!  {DaddysTractor.com}

To adjust the row openers Daddy crawls in under the planter.  All is well and good until he needs a tool and has to crawl back out to get it!

This shows farmers getting equipment ready for spring planting—so cool!  {DaddysTractor.com}

Brett, Anna, and the farm dog Ben are great help to our hired man, Cory.

This shows farmers getting equipment ready for spring planting—so cool!  {DaddysTractor.com}

But Cory gets the job done anyhow!

This shows farmers getting equipment ready for spring planting—so cool!  {DaddysTractor.com}

The planter isn’t the only piece of equipment that must be prepared for spring.  In this photo you see a line-up of the tractors and the equipment they run that are ready for the sun to start shining!

This shows farmers getting equipment ready for spring planting—so cool!  {DaddysTractor.com}

The green and yellow thing on the end may look like the planter, but actually its a drill.  A drill does the same job as a planter- it puts seeds into the ground- but it does it a different way.  We use the drill to plant seeds that aren’t as picky about perfection, like wheat.  Some of our soybeans are planted with the drill too.  There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to plant everything with the planter.

What about you?  Are you as ready for spring as I am?!

Categories: Technology | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Farm to Table– Where Your Food Comes From

How many of us really know where our food comes from?  Sure, it grows on the farm.  Sure, you may go to the farmer’s market and purchase your veggies or visit a U-Pick to get the whole apple orchard experience.  But there is so much more to food than even farmer’s think about each time they sit down to the table!

Sure, farmers planted seeds, but where did the seeds come from?  Yes, farmers grew the wheat, but who baked that bread?

So here’s a look at a small piece of the big food picture; these are pictures of what we do with the corn after it has been harvested.

Hauling Grain (15)

Daddy drives the semi and trailer to the grain elevator. This elevator, part of a company called Ingredion, is in Kansas City. Ingredion is a smaller elevator than others, but it has some neat technology others don’t. The huge, concrete cylinders store grain. Imagine how much grain they can hold and then remember this elevator is small!

Hauling Grain (27)

Depending on the day, Daddy and Anna must wait in line for their turn to unload. Some days they wait for several hours.

Hauling Grain (63)

This is a scanning system. Our truck has a card on the dashboard with all our farm’s information. As you drive across this computer scans the card so the elevator knows who the grain is coming from.

Hauling Grain (37)

These trucks are waiting in line just in front of the probe. This machine takes samples of the grain to be tested for moisture, foreign material, to see if it is the correct kind of corn (waxy), and for a fungus called aflatoxin.

Hauling Grain (42)

This shows the probe sampling our corn.

Hauling Grain (49)

The machine will take samples from a couple of places in the trailer, often once in the front and once in the back.

Hauling Grain (71)

Then its into the office to await the results of the tests.

Inside the office Brett watches an employee test for foreign matter.

Inside the office Brett watches an employee test for foreign matter.

Here they check for alfatoxin.

Here they check for alfatoxin.

This screen displays information about the automated grain leg system.  The grain leg moves the corn from the shed where farmers unload to the concrete silos, which you'll see soon in another photo!

This screen displays information about the automated grain leg system. The grain leg moves the corn from the shed where farmers unload to the concrete silos, which you’ll see soon in another photo!

And now the appropriate thing to do would be to play in the semi truck while waiting yet again for your turn to unload.

And now the appropriate thing to do would be to play in the semi truck while waiting yet again for your turn to unload.

If test results are fine the next stop is this green shed.  Grain is unloaded from the bottom of the trailer and goes under the floor.  Then the yellow grain leg, using a belt and buckets, hauls the corn up and over to the storage silos.

If test results are fine the next stop is this green shed. Grain is unloaded from the bottom of the trailer and goes under the floor. Then the yellow grain leg, using a belt and buckets, hauls the corn up and over to the storage silos.

Daddy cranks open the hoppers on the bottom of the trailer and corn flows out!  This, I might add, is about the best part and the whole reason to sit for hours in a semi truck!

Daddy cranks open the hoppers on the bottom of the trailer and corn flows out! This, I might add, is about the best part and the whole reason to sit for hours in a semi truck!

Here Brett sweeps up each and every kernel, making sure it falls into the grate.  You might also see that the truck is parked on a plate of metal.  This is the scale which weighs the truck before unloading and after.  The difference is the amount of corn the elevator will pay him for.

Here Brett sweeps up each and every kernel, making sure it falls into the grate. You might also see that the truck is parked on a plate of metal. This is the scale which weighs the truck before unloading and after. The difference is the amount of corn the elevator will pay Daddy for.

And this is the last of the corn, trickling out of the hopper bottom.  All that is left of the trip is to close the doors and grab a ticket from the scale house telling us how much the truck weighed.  And then its back to the farm to pick up another load and do it all over again!

And this is the last of the corn, trickling out of the hopper bottom. All that is left of the trip is to close the doors and grab a ticket from the scale house telling us how much the truck weighed. And then its back to the farm to pick up another load and do it all over again!

Categories: Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Farmers Taking Care of the Land

It’s true.  Farmers haven’t always done the best job taking care of the land.  Generally not on purpose, but because we didn’t always know what was the best way.  But we have learned SO MUCH in the last hundred, fifty, and even five years.  Modern farmers are getting better and better at taking care of the land everyday!

Farmers taking care of the land {daddystractor.com}

Terraces have been a big part of taking care of the land on our farm.  Here in northern Missouri the hills can be quite rolling, thunderstorms can be very severe, and ditches, gullies, and streams abound!  Terraces are rows of dirt made around the shape of a hill that stop the soil from being washed away.  In the above photo you can see the terrace lines through the snow.  They are made with a bulldozer, which carefully pushed the dirt into a pattern designed just for that field. It costs a lot to build new terraces, but they should last more than 20 years, making them a good investment for our future.

Farmers taking care of the land {daddystractor.com}

When the bulldozer is gone, however, the field is sometimes left in poor shape.  The heavy equipment crushes the dirt and leaves deep tracks.  Seeds can’t grow well in the hard, uneven dirt, so something has to be done.  That’s when Daddy (and Anna!) pull out this strange contraption.  Its a field cultivator.  The arrow shaped pieces of metal in the front stir up the soil and the spikes in the back smooth it out, ready for tiny seeds!

Farmers taking care of the land {daddystractor.com}

I took these pictures, however, because this is a sight you won’t see often on our farm.  A field cultivator leaves the soil nice and smooth, but it also leaves it loose and ready to wash away in the next thunderstorm.  Once the seeds begin to grow their roots will help hold the dirt in place, preventing washouts, but for a few months this ground is vulnerable.  We only use the field cultivator when it is truly necessary and then we only use it exactly where we need it.

Farmers taking care of the land {daddystractor.com}

Here you can see the tractor driving on the top of the dirt mound with the cultivator repairing the ground on both sides.  You can also see that Daddy and Anna are driving only on the terraces, not the whole field.

Spring (should it ever bother to arrive) is a time for lots of dirt work.  Follow us here on Daddy’s Tractor to see more of what farmers are learning about taking care of the land!

Categories: Science, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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