- Beth Tharp
Planning for Little Rain!🌧
Greetings from the farm!
An exciting event occurred on the farm last night: a fairly significant rain shower!
Since early June the majority of our pastures and crops have been without any significant water. And although we are not quite yet into the critical pollination period when corn starts to tassel or flowering period when our soybean pods are established, our crops were certainly needing a drink after the heat and dry of the last couple of weeks.
We understand that longer stretches of dry, higher heat and humidity and even heavier rain events should be expected with changing weather patterns. We do our best to prepare and manage for these events by using a no-till cropping system, planting cover crops, and managing the grazing pattern of our pastures. A healthy farming system starts with healthy soils.
No-till - Instead of tilling our soils in the fall or spring we plant directing into our previous year's crop stubble and cover crop. This allows the soil structure to remain intact, greatly reducing soil erosion, increasing carbon captured from the atmosphere, and improving the water holding capacity of our soils to have more water reserves during dry times.
Cover crops-Each fall after harvest we plant cover crops on our fields. This practice too greatly helps to improve our soils by reducing soil erosion, improving water holding capacity and increasing carbon captured from the atmosphere.
Grazing Pattern-We manage our pastures through rotational grazing and managed stocking densities so that they are not overgrazed, allowing the grasses and legumes to establish and maintain deep root systems to endure long stretches of dry weather.
It is times like the hot dry stretch we recently went through that remind us of the lack of control we really have. We can do our best to plan and execute our plan, but there are so many outside factors that are out of our control, such as the weather in our farming case. We daily lean on our Lord to sustain us and lead us through the dryer stretches of our lives.
Below is pictured our only irrigated field in which we do have some control over the water application to the field. You will notice the no-tilled beans are still settled under the tall cover crops planted last fall.