Friday, November 20, 2009

Finished with Harvest



Above:  As we pass mid-November we are finishing the harvest on GriggsDakota. We planted minimum acres into corn this year, so we are among the first in the area to complete harvest. We are very fortunate to be enjoying fall weather. The season can change quickly in November and winter rarely gives up once it takes hold. This month has been clear, relatively calm and pleasant.
Above:  All of our corn had to be dried, which is an expensive proposition. That is why some farmers hesitate to start on corn that has not dried down in the field. This year there is a mold present in the ears of some corn that has caused farmers to rush to get the corn harvested and dried.  If left to develop this mold will make the corn completely worthless as food for man or beast. So, despite the cost of drying, farmers proceed on the theory that drying will be worth it. Some cornfields are too wet to drive into until the ground is frozen. The farmers must wait and hope the snow stays away long enough to get their harvest done. Open winters, one where the snow fall is minimal, are rare. However, these farmers need a couple weeks where the temperatures stay below freezing and the snow stays away. That is much more common for late fall in GriggsDakota.
Above:  Jim has run an electric fence around the edge of this field, his cattle can dine on the leftovers from the corn harvest. Grain, leaf, husk, cob, and stalk are all digestible food for the cattle. Of course, properly set combines leave little grain in the field. That is what these cows will eat first. The husks, leaves, etc. are delicious to cattle, but provide minimal nutrition. David Davis, superintendent of the University of Missouri Forage Resource Center believes cattlemen can expect their herds to get 40 to 50 percent of their total digestible nutrition while grazing corn stubble. Soybean fields offer 35 to 41 percent of total digestible nutrition to grazing livestock according to Davis, while stubble from small grains such as wheat and barley provide much less nutritional value. It is important that cattle get supplemental feed for protein and energy. The full article can be reviewed HERE.   There is also an interesting article relating to fall grazing written by Greg Lardy, North Dakota State Extension Beef Specialist. Click HERE to learn more.
Above:  We don't want anyone hunting our beef, but with the crop in the bin and the last days of deer hunting upon us, we're after our winter supply of venison.

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