Just a day or so ago these were thriving, healthy bean plants.
Then came the hail.
A massive downpour and so much falling ice that it destroyed our crops in a matter of minutes.
And there was nothing we could do.
These leaves are useless to the plant now. No more photosynthesis. No more energy. No more crop.
There is insurance. But this is heartbreaking. This is farming.
Did you know the answer? Monday I asked what these signs on the edge of fields represented. Several people commented, here or on the Facebook page. The signs don’t designate field ownership, which was the misconception I was trying to correct. Instead they are a little more like billboards. They advertise to other famers what brand and variety of seed was used to plant this field. So here the seed was sold by Pioneer. If you looked at this field while driving past (and farmers do) and noticed the ground was similar to yours and the soybeans were doing really well you might take note of the number in red as well. Calling a seed salesman and asking for “Pioneer seed” would get you a very long list. Here’s a screen shot from their website. You scroll through two pages of this chart. But if you know the number you can click through and find the information about the seed you are interested in. The website provides information on how it grows in different soil types, how many days it will take to grow to a mature plant, how well it does against disease. And while you might go around with a brand name on your jacket, you probably don’t go out of your way to advertise for a company. Neither do farmers. Seed representatives for the various brands check with farmers for the the fields using their products and then scout for crops that look best. The reps put in signs to advertise their business. For the farmer a sign is a little bit like a gold star. Your crops look great! Brian (AKA Daddy) used to scout for sign-worthy crops during an internship he had in college. It’s hot, sticky work! Some of you also mentioned test plots, or research, where a company or university grows a seed to learn how it does in a specific area. You can usually identify test plots by the rows of signs. Also important, seed companies work with farmer/landowners to do these test plots. The seed representative (rep) sometimes gives a farmer specific seed to try for free, or the rep may come and plant the seed himself. It’s a pain on our farm, but some growers really like the advantages of test plots. While the companies do own ground, probably near their research facilities, it is a TINY percentage of farmland in the US. So the family farm isn’t gone. In fact, non-family corporations actually make up only 3% of farm ownership in this country. 97% are still family farms!
I’m assuming you’ve seen Disney’s Planes. Besides being yet another fun movie from the World of Cars it’s also a terrific film because it features a farmer! Well, okay, a crop duster, but still. And while Dusty leaves the farm behind in search of fame and fortune, anyone can tell you he got his work-ethic and moral principles working in the corn fields!
At any rate, he’s a favorite around here.
Which is why it was lots of fun when Daddy stopped by the airport and commissioned a crop duster to drop nitrogen fertilizer on our fields!
All the extra rain we’ve had is causing the chemical nitrogen (and when I say chemical, I mean all-naturally occurring element number 7 on a Periodic table) to go deeper into the soil where the corn’s root system can’t reach it. Since corn depends on nitrogen– think Squanto adding fish to the Pilgrim’s garden– this is a problem!
Nitrogen is usually added before the fields are planted…
(like this ^)
but this little hiccup called for Plan B.
It really is pretty amazing to watch a crop duster work. They fly SO LOW! Then the loop and roll at the ends; it’s kind of our very own air show.
To go with our vey own Dusty Crophopper.
If a picture is worth a thousand words then the message a film can convey is simply amazing. Which is why you need to see this movie. You might be amazed what you don’t know about farmers.
FARMLAND Teaser Trailer 2014 from Farmland on Vimeo.
It’s available for purchase at Wal-Mart tomorrow, March 3, 2015. You can also get it from Netflix on DVD (not streaming) or upload from iTunes, youTube, Amazon, and several other stores.
I highly recommend it.
The documentary follows the stories of six young farmers and ranchers of all shapes and sizes. There’s the “One Woman Farmer” growing produce in the northeast, an organic farmer handling everything from seeds to bar codes in the southwest, a poultry producer, a cattle rancher, hog farmer, and a row crop guy. And their stories are real.
Really, really, real.
These are the problems we face. These are the decisions we make. This is what our life looks like.
This is how food is grown in America.
That’s not something you don’t want to know about.
Categories: Animals, Family, Food
Tags: animals, documentary, FARMLAND, GMOs, modern farmer, Organic, row crops, technology, young farmers