Early spring freeze leads to total loss of barley stand

CM-MR-29-2-Early-spring-fre1eeze2by Karl H. Kazaks

PORT ROYAL, VA – Stephen Ellis walked through a field of barley, some of it green, some of it yellow — almost none of it heading like it should have been.

“Basically we’re killing this crop and going into early beans,” he said. “There’s not going to be enough to run a combine through.”

It was late April, and that afternoon Ellis would spray the crop, with the goal of getting in early beans by the end of the month. Earlier in the month, cold weather had sealed the fate of these 65 acres of barley. Ellis estimates freeze damage to the stand to be over 80 percent. [Read more…]

Three generations at Windermere Farms Percherons

CM-MR-39-3-Three-generatio1ns-3bby Hope Holland

For a man who got off to an admittedly rather freewheeling start in the world, Gerald Allebach of Windermere Farms Percherons in Spring Mills, PA has done pretty well for himself, his family and his farm. He has the absolute backing of his wife, Melissa, whom he refers to as “just about the best draft horse trainer in the country”. He also has a darn good back up in his son, Abraham, who carries a man’s load of work without being told what to do or when it needs doing. Abraham is named for his grandfather, Abe Allebach, who with his wife Mary, started what has become three generations of Percheron horse breeders back when the farm also had dairy cattle. [Read more…]

Soil erosion and tillage equipment

CM-MR-1-Soil-erosio1n1by Tamara Scully

Plowing, tilling, harrowing, fertilizing and all the other things farmers do cause soil disturbances. Calculating the impact of the disturbance can assist conservation planners and farmers in designing management strategies that protect the soil from erosion.

Five main types of soil disturbances exist: inversion with some mixing; mixing only; mixing with some inversion; lifting and fracturing; and compression. Different tools will cause different disturbances. The severity of disturbance is related to the depth of the soil involved, as well as the speed of the equipment. [Read more…]

Crop Comments: Old country gets ornery

In an article “Glyphosate Most Heavily Used Herbicide in History,” Mike Mozart stated that although enthusiasts for genetically engineered crops preach that this technology reduces herbicide use, the reverse is true. With the arrival of glyphosate-tolerant crops in 1996, use of that herbicide has increased by almost 2,000 percent in the U.S. and 1,500 percent worldwide. (More and more weeds have developed their own herbicide tolerance, resulting in the need for even more weed-killer applications.) Moreover, that between 1974 and 2014 over 3.5 billion pounds of this herbicide were applied in the U.S., with two-thirds of that amount being sprayed between 2004 and 2014. [Read more…]

Recent developments with right-to-farm laws

CM-MR-50-2-Recent-de1velopments-0075by Steve Wagner

In 1911 the Spur family began to farm about 15 miles west of Phoenix, AZ. In 1956 Spur’s successors began to develop feedlots, and in May of 1959 developer Del Webb started planning a retirement community to be known as Sun City, about 10.5 miles north of the Spur feedlot. By 1965, the Del Webb community had expanded to within 500 feet of those feedlots. The proximity of the feedlots to the retirement community was bound to cause issues, and did. Some tenants had already moved in, but the fragrance of manure and accompanying flies started to inhibit housing sales. [Read more…]