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Posts Tagged With: terraces

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!

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

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

What Daddy’s Tractor Does in the Winter

So I’ve been rereading my recent blog posts and I’ve noticed they are all about chickens.  In fact, you may have noticed that the tractor has been entirely missing from “Daddy’s Tractor” for some time.  Has it been sitting idle?  Is it broken down or rusting in a fence row?  What does Daddy’s Tractor do in the winter anyhow?

Actually, Daddy’s tractor has been quite busy as of late!  For the last few weeks the tractor has been acting as snow plow.  Out here in the middle of nowhere the county snow plows take several days to get to our roads.  And even after they’ve been cleared the wind often blows across the open spaces, filling in the gap between the piles of snow on both sides of the road and blocking you in even worse than before.  So out come the neighborhood tractors.  Daddy, grandpa, and many other farmers use their equipment to help out all the families who live on these back gravel roads.  Its just one of the neighborly things that still happens in the country.

Daddy's Tractor does all kinds of jobs, including plowing snow!

The tractor has also been busy improving the quality of our fields.  Earlier this winter we redid the terraces in the field behind our house.  Terraces are a must on our rolling fields; they keep water from washing away topsoil so our fields stay filled with good dirt and streams stay clear of runoff.

Daddy's Tractor, what the tractor does in the winter

The snow actually helps you see the newly built terraces; the raised lines of soil are the first places the snow melts.

And more recently the tractor and skid steer have been working to rid a farm of the fallen trees and old fence rows and adding good topsoil where its needed.  They are also using the dump truck for this job, which is a lot of fun for Daddy :-).

The tractor also has the job of taking hay to the cattle.  One of the older tractors on the farm has a bale spike (observe) on the back so it can easily lift and carry those huge hay bales out to the field.

And its hard to believe, but soon Daddy’s tractor will be hard at work getting ready for spring planting!

Categories: Science | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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