Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Farming Wheat - Explained

In The Field:  Oh Lordy!  The Blogger format has changed in the few weeks since I've been on here - I'll have to learn it all over again!

Sorry it's been so long since I've written - as the days get longer, the time gets shorter.  Funny how that works.  Well, that's how it works in farming families.  When the days are short, My Love gets home earlier - the longer the days, the later he gets home.

Right now is particularly hectic.  It is the last few "free" weeks before harvest starts.  Which means EVERYTHING that must be done in the next 2 months must be done these last weeks.  Lambs must be weaned, marked, and cut, if necessary.  The machinery must be checked and oiled.  And the weather is watched like a hawk.  This is the season for thunderstorms - yes the rain would be lovely (our grass desperately needs it), but often with those thunderstorms comes something devastating. Something that could, and has, financially ruined many a farmer.  Hail.  Yes, it's a 4-letter word. 

For those of you who live in the city, or just don't have any experience with farming life, the worst hail can do is ruin your car.  For those of us whose livelihoods depend on the crop being harvested and sold, it can destroy us.  It can completely obliterate months and months of work and prayers. 

Back in the "old" days of my life, I worked and got a paycheck every 2 weeks.  That isn't the way it works for farmers.  We invest last year's "paycheck" on seed, diesel, fertilizer, and machinery.  We plant the seed.  We pray for rain. And then we pray more.  We wait, sometimes not so patiently, for the crop to spring from the ground. We watch it grow, we watch it mature.  And, as with right now, we watch it dry.  (Drying in the field is necessary for certain crops like wheat and corn - once harvested, it is stored.  If the moisture levels in the wheat or corn are too high, they will mold - hence it is imperative that the moisture levels be low enough to prevent mold and mildew).  Once the levels are low enough, the crop is harvested.  And then the prayers continue for good prices.  (See pic of this year's wheat below):



Some of you may "play the market" with your 401k or IRA.  We play the market with every dime we hope to make.  A few years ago, wheat was selling at less than $3/bushel (about 60 lbs) at harvest.  That is barely enough to cover expenses - and not enough to feed your family for the year.  Thankfully we have grain bins to store the wheat in - this enables us to hold the wheat until prices are better - we get a bigger bang for our buck. 

So you can understand why "HAIL" is a 4-letter word around here.  People laugh when we say we don't have to go to Vegas to gamble - we gamble every day! 

Good news in the family life - Baby Girl is WALKING!  Well, toddling really.  She turns 1 in a few weeks and she's already fast on her feet!  Crawling is SO last year!  LOL! 

Have a great one!  I'll post harvest pics soon!  Just a few more weeks!

K.

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