I hope you had some oats today. They are nutritious and valuable to the eater. They can be of benefit to the grower, too.
- In the early spring, my husband works up his land to prepare it for the crop.
- He secures the seed. This year we used last years’ seed which was saved for this purpose. (Those oats are fertile enough to grow in our field this year.)
- He has an old oat drill that has served us well for many years. He maintains it well to preserve it.
- Seed that he will put into the drill for planting must be cleaned. We would not want to plant weed seed and chaff. So we get the fanning mill out of storage and clean the oats till my husband decides he has enough for planting his fields.
This year the weather challenged farmers to the limit. Oats are planted here in mid-late April. However, the snow and ice left over from a May 2 snowstorm stayed in the fields so long that they could not be worked up and planted till many days later.
Oats are left alone to grow till they mature, which in most cases is in late July. This year it is mid-August. We watch the oats grow like grass for many days. The green in the field is beautiful. As the seeds form, they go through a “milk” stage. The milk hardens into a seed; the green plants and their seeds give way to hues of light green and then golden. When the weather permits, the seeds can be harvested.
In our case, our neighbor swathes our oats. The oats are dry at this stage. The stems are golden straw. Yet a few weeds that have mingled with the crop are green at the cutting. Therefore, for safe storage’s sake, the weeds must dry, so they do not make problems as they go through the combine. They, along with the straw, will be baled and stored in the barn. A wet, fresh bunch of weeds could get hot in the barn and start a fire. For prudence’ sake, the swathed oats are left a few days to dry in the sun.
Our neighbor returns a few days later to combine the swathed oats. Combining separates the oat from straw and chaff. From there the oats are deposited in a wagon. My husband unloads the wagon load onto our elevator which drops the oats into the storage bin.
Now you know some of the work a farmer does to supply you with your breakfast of oats. Enjoy!
photo credit:Wenda Grabau
photo credit: Wenda Grabau