March has only just begun and it already feels like spring is in the air. The days are getting longer, the sun is getting brighter and the grass is starting to turn green. I often find myself daydreaming about my vegetable garden and all the potted plants I plan on filling our deck with.
Like many other farmers, we have started preparing our fields for planting. With such an unusually warm winter season, farmers have been able to get into the field earlier than in years past. Preparing and taking care of the soil is essential for a successful harvest.
Lately, Dad has had me cooped up in the tractor that is hooked to the manure spreader. This machine does exactly as its name implies….spreads manure! We’ve been cleaning out the lots cows have been in all winter. We then spread that manure across our fields. This helps add important nutrients necessary for crop growth – such as phosphorus and nitrogen – back into the soil. Spreading manure is a great way to “recycle” the dirt and manure that can build up in the lots over time.
Our farm practices no-till farming. This means we do not till our fields before planting. This helps reduce soil erosion, compaction and the loss of organic matter. This makes springtime a little less hectic as we try and artificially inseminate all the cows before they head out to pasture for the summer.
Planting the crops can take quite a bit of time and with modern equipment, requires some skill. Some farmers have GPS technologies installed on their tractors that communicate with the planter to ensure each row is planted perfectly straight and each seed is equally spaced. This technology helps to reduce planting overlap and saves time, which makes the job more efficient and using less resources.
Farmers care about the environment and do their best to take care of it. Hey, if they didn’t…they’d be without a job!