Thursday, April 12, 2012

Planting Oats

We snatched an opening in the weather to work a field and plant oats. We used the new spreader to achieve even more coverage than that obtained from a drill. A drill plants many rows close together. But they are still rows. This spreader just flings the oats willy-nilly. Hopefully the oats will come up in a blanket that suppresses any weeds. We'll let you know later this year which technique we like better. 


Unfortunately, when you plant with a spreader, it's hard to know where you've been and where you're going.


So before they started the farming crew measured the coverage of the spreader. They walked off the field, placing buckets on both edges of the field. The driver criss crosses the field, steering by the buckets. (Ahem) Bigger farmers have tractors equipped with GPS, so they don't have to do this step. They just push a button.


Here's the seeded ground. See the oats?


After the ground was worked, but before the seeding started, the seagulls came. First one, then another couple, then a small group, and then many. They were eating worms, freshly turned up. But it made me think of the Parable of the Sower.


After spreading the seed, we drove over the field with a cultipacker. This levels the field and presses the seed down in the dirt slightly, to encourage germination.


It takes a long time to drive back and forth over the field with the cultipacker, as it is fairly narrow. Now we wait for rain.

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