Thursday, September 10, 2009

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Have you heard the saying that farming is like gambling? It is, truly! Flashing lights, loud noises, free food (in the garden, in season) and the rush that comes with risking it all...

The weather can make or break a crop. Let's say that you farm 100 acres (small, by most standards today, but it's a nice round number). If you've got half of it planted to corn, a quarter of it to soybeans, and the rest in hay or wheat, your corn crop is worth 1/2 of your annual CROP income. You might have livestock besides, but a bad year corn-wise can really cut into the designated money to buy food and clothing for the family.

The weather is never perfect, always variable. This year, we've had a cool, wet year. Our pastures were simply lush in August, when they are usually nothing but dried-out weeds. We've had a fabulous year for hay, getting lucky (or benefiting from God's providence) on the timing of the rains.

But the repetitive, regular rains have cost us our oat crop. The rains likely sprouted the grain in the heads, and the ragweeds took over at the end, when we should have been harvesting, but couldn't due to the incessant rain. Grain crops need to be harvested dry or run through a grain dryer. With the likelihood of sprouting and the certainty of fighting weeds, we decided it wasn't worth harvesting.

We cut and baled some of the oats for straw for bedding for the sheep. The rest we are discing under.

The oats were to be feed for the sheep this winter, and seed for next year. Yes, we have some left over from last year. Yes, we can buy some from another farmer. But it's one of those things that gives you a sick feeling when it happens. You win some, you lose some.

Maybe we can swap some of that hay for some oats, eh?


  1. and here i am complaining about my silly little tomato plants that didn't make it this year... that's awful! doggone rain!

  2. Sorry that the weather hasn't been very cooperative this year. Your posts are always interesting to me. I'm such a city girl.

  3. Oh, how terrible! Silly rain. Hope your other crops more than make up for the loss!


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