Luck of the Draw
By Kim L. Fritzemeier
KFRM Central Kansas Reporter
Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line
What does it take to produce a good stand of alfalfa? I suppose I could innumerate things like a firm seed bed, cooler temperatures and just the right amount of sun and rain.
Our alfalfa adventure began with a visit to Miller Seed Farm near Hutchinson to pick up seed. Randy did have a little luck involved in this venture before he ever started planting. He won one bag of seed at a customer information meeting earlier in the month. At $200 a bag, that was definitely an evening well-spent (plus he got supper out of the deal, too)!
Another nice by-product of planting alfalfa? It's a great weightlifting exercise to carry all the 50-pound bags into the shop until you're ready to use them. (You will notice that I carried my camera instead of the bags, even though I could probably use a little weight training in my fitness routine.)
Last Friday, Randy got a little more weightlifting in when he filled the drills with the alfalfa seed. (Again, I successfully avoided the task by using my camera. Now my friends know why I take so many photos.)
And here's a close-up of the seeds, which are treated with fungicide and inoculant.
He also mixed in a quarter pound of turnip seed to cover the 70 acres we were planting. The turnips provide a little additional cover during the winter on the newly established alfalfa fields. (Plus, his wife is in charge of the church's food area at the fall bazaar. I'm always looking for turnips to sell by the pound. Nice side benefit.)
Jake disked the fields to clear them of weeds and work in the wheat stubble. It also helps create that firm seed bed.
Randy then followed with the planter. The yellow tank on the planter holds fertilizer, which he also applied as he planted the alfalfa.
An alfalfa field produces hay for about seven years, during which we harvest the crop to feed to our cattle and sell the extra.
And then came the rain.
But, there were glimmers of hope. Yesterday morning, we were able to find a few hearty sprouts of alfalfa in the field.
My eternal optimist isn't ready to write off the entire crop. However, he figures that replanting is in his future. It costs about $50 an acre for seed each time you plant. (That's why I can never re-do the bathrooms in my house. Alas, such is the life of a Kansas farm wife. There are trials along with the considerable perks.)
For more information about me and my family, head on over to my personal blog, www.kimscountyline.blogspot.com
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