Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hitting High Gear

Although the date varies, at some point every year the weather and soil conditions get right in a hurry and spring's work hits high gear. I've learned over the years that it's best to have the equipment greased and ready to go well ahead of time because this window can slam closed at any time. If you miss it, it's likely you'll wind up spending twice as much for half the job. On this farm, our "turning point" happened late last week and I've been busy taking advantage of it. Although it's still a few weeks too early to plant warm season crops like corn and beans, anyone who has grass or spring grain to sow (or winter wheat to spray and fertilize) had better have it done and/or in the ground. I've been over every acre of both places several times and they are ready to go in all senses of the word. Our new place slopes gently to the south and it warms up (and greens up) quickly in the spring, at least relative to our other farm which is mostly north facing slopes. The photo below was taken yesterday morning as I was clipping part of a pasture that I let grow up last fall to check erosion before it got out of control. Our newest pasture is now fully fenced...we're just waiting on a run in shed (and me to run some water) to move our next group of horses. All things being equal, this ought to happen in the next couple of weeks.

Hope everyone is having a great week !


Jack said...

I'm intrigued by your term "turning point". I had nevr thought of things in this way as the spring season kicks into full gear.
Is it more pronounced in your clmatic area than here in the north country? (Had about 4-6 inches of snow last night and it looks like it will be here for at least a few days - stop gloating!).
I always thought of our spring (from an agriculturalo perspecive ) as being the first 3 weeks in May.

Jason said...

I think it's actually more pronounced in Ontario. Down here our spring comes on slowly and our windows for doing things are a lot wider than they were in Ontario.

Every year I farmed in the north there existed a window of opportunity for each crop...a time when weather, the calendar and soil conditions came together. It was my job as a farmer to be ready for (and recognize) those times and to not waste a minute when it was time to go.

On my well drained Durham County Dundonald Sand Loam, one needed to be ready to sow oats anytime after late March as soil and weather conditions permitted. The earliest I ever remember sowing oats is March 30 and they were the heaviest I ever took to Quaker ! Similarly, one needed to be ready to go with corn and beans by the last week of April. On Newcastle Loam between Hwy 2 and Taunton Rd. it was usually safe to add two weeks to those dates due to higher soil water holding capacity and lower elevation which caught frosts a lot later than DSL higher up on the ridges.