Tractors, planters, sprayers– all equipment you might think about using when spring rolls around. But this year we have been putting a lot of hours on Grandpa’s bulldozer in order to get ready for spring planting.
The field just across from our house was pulled from a government program called CRP and the owner wanted to rent it out for the first time in 20 years. (The CRP program was started years ago as a way for farmers to allow poor production land to rest.) It was mostly great news for us. It meant more land that is very close by and a landlord we enjoy working with. You can imagine the downside if you think of trying to use anything that has been left alone for 20 years!
The field looked like this, all 200 acres of it.
So much brush everywhere!
It has been no easy task to get it ready for spring planting!
The landowner used a mower to cut down the small trees. Cory used the skid steer to pull out the larger brush and Grandpa has been handling the largest obstacles with the bulldozer. Wayne used the custom cultivator to pick up stray sticks and then whoever is free has been using the tractor and disk to cut up the stalks so the planter and later the combine won’t run into anything capable of tearing it up!
Daddy and the guys made this custom cultivator last year to pick up brush. The prongs are close together and all along the back bar instead of spaced throughout. You can see how it catches sticks!
The skid steer can pull small brush and pick up the piles. Because the attachment on the front is shaped like claws the skid steer can shake the dirt from the piles, leaving more soil on the field.
The dozer knocks down the larger brush and then pushes it into piles
When the disk comes through it chops up the ground into big chunks, hopefully getting rid of pointy stalks!
Last the harrow smooths up the dirt, leaving a happy field ready for bean seeds!
The field looks quite different from those first brush pictures, wouldn’t you agree!
You may remember from previous posts that, while this field looks picture perfect its not how we usually farm. The loose soil can easily wash away leaving our fields without the necessary top soil to grow good crops, plus polluting nearby streams.
Grandpa also added to the farm this year, buying the field across from his house.
This field connects all four farms, Grandpa’s home, this new farm, our new rental, and the field our house sits on. What a difference in how it looks!
This farm will not be worked at all. It’s been cow ground for years but we won’t be tearing up the grass or anything. Instead we’ll simply plant beans directly into the sod. The first year won’t likely be a great one, but taking care of the soil will have more benefits in the long run.
Because really, we’d rather not be using a bulldozer to get ready for spring planting!