This spring has been a continuing challenge. The cold and snow stretched on into May. Had it been a normal spring, the oats would have been drilled into the ground by mid-April. Yet it took till May to get that job accomplished. Again, for our area, the goal is to get the corn in the ground by the end of May, but the continuing rains kept farmers out of the fields. Some folks like us did not get the corn crop planted till mid-June. We had to settle for planting 3/4 of the crop that we had anticipated. We just ran out of time to plant corn. The farm schedule has been altered many times.
Farmers have had to consider the shortness of the growing season with the time it takes a crop to mature. If the season cannot support the time it takes for a crop to mature, then farmers must reconsider what they will raise. For our farm, we are raising more oats rather than the corn we had expected to plant. If indeed there is a need for extra hay by mid-summer, we can bale the immature oats and use them this winter for the cattle. If our hay is abundant by mid-summer, then we can opt to let the oats mature for cattle feed or a cash crop. Oats need a shorter amount of time to develop and will work with the time we have left in this growing season.
Today is June 30, and we have only been able to cut and bale hay three times. We need to cut hay five more times for the first crop. Rain has been the prohibiting factor. We need good quality hay for cows to produce milk well. Due to the January thaw, we have unfortunately suffered a good deal of winter-kill for good-quality alfalfa hay. Hence, the hay we do have ought to be made on sunny days. Hay needs 2-3 consecutive sunny days with good conditions to dry for proper baling and storage. That is why the rainy conditions this May and June have made it so difficult. Rain on hay causes it to lose nutrition. We want to avoid that. We normally expect to have all of first crop hay finished by July 4. It will be a very hard to make that goal now. It is still possible, but if the weather pattern does not shift to more sunny days, it will be hard to accomplish.
The Lord is in charge of the weather. We will wait on Him to see how He works all of these things out. “Wait on the Lord and be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27:14.
Photo Credit: Bretta Grabau