Saturday, September 26, 2015

Walkin' Fields

Perhaps you've heard farmers say they are going to check on crops or walk the fields. The first question my non-farming friends ask is usually, "Why?" It's important to make sure the crops are maturing properly. Checking on them can also tell you if they are ready to be harvested.

My brother checking on one of his hay fields. We had to stop to check hay before we could go to dinner. He picks up the hay to see how dry it is.  

Just as you may go walk through the garden to see if your tomatoes are ready, farmers do the same thing for row crops (corn, soybeans, etc.). It's just a MUCH larger area than most gardens.

As far as the crops go, we are mostly hay farmers, so my brother tends to walk the hay fields once hay has been cut to check on it and make sure it's drying down properly.

Just as soybeans should be about 13 percent moisture and corn about 15, hay should be pretty dry too. Wet hay can mold. That's bad!

It seems like the best way to make it rain in the summer is to cut hay. Never fails. That means you have to wait until it drys out again.

Hay season is long gone by now, but for a refresher course on what exactly it means to "do hay", click here to check out a post I wrote earlier this summer.

Back to the corn and soybeans! Since corn and beans should be under 15 percent moisture, they will be brown. If you see farmers in a field of green corn with equipment, they may be chopping corn silage (more on that here).

If the corn is a higher moisture content, farmers can put it into a grain dryer to dry it down a bit. I had never seen one of these until a few years ago. They generally aren't as big as the grain bins themselves and are connected to them.

A quick reminder to be careful on the roads this fall! Harvest has started in most areas. Long hours and trying to beat the bad weather means farmers are on a mission to get it done. In Indiana, we have been lucky to have a stretch of hot weather in the 70s and 80s the last few weeks. I'm definitely enjoying it! I'm not ready for summertime to be over, so I'm trying to soak up the sun as much as I can before it goes away and is replaced by snow haha.

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