I wanted to take this time to give a spring update for the Farm. Over the past year we have been working diligently to improve the overall appearance, functionality of the Farm, and getting more and more club members involved with club events. We have been working with various farmers and vendors in the area for guidance, input and assistance with bigger jobs that the club members simply cannot do and the overall direction to get the most out of the Farm for income and crops for club members to utilize for club events.
Last year we planted a nice crop of corn that yielded a great amount of ears for corn grinding demonstrations and they weren’t the best looking ears due to bird damage, but they are serving their purpose in allowing Tom Trainor and other engine guys the opportunity to show case their engines, grinders and shellers, and it gave us the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and have a better crop this year for the engine guys.
When the farm was turned over from the last person in charge we had a very bad weed infestation that has been a battle to bring them under control so that there isn’t as much pressure to the crops that are planted, and make it a more enjoyable place so people can go participate out there without having allergy problems. The cost of doing this as of now is about 100-150 dollars a month for material and if the material needs to be applied using a self-propelled sprayer its 100 dollars per application.
Another area that needed to be addressed was leveling the fields. The eastern field along with the two northern boarders were in need of repair due to the lack of proper maintenance to the slope and side fall of the fields, which were causing us to use entirely too much water. In addition, the fields were not getting watered correctly side to side, which caused plants to either not germinate and gave the weeds areas of opportunity to grow and reproduce, or caused plants to not grow and yield correctly and cause a lot of border blowouts. This was a substantial repair and did cost the club 2400 dollars in total but as time goes on the savings in water and maintenance will be substantial which we are seeing already, when it used to take 8-12 hours to irrigate just the east side we irrigated the entire farm with 8 hours of irrigation.
This spring we planted our first crop of the year. The big field was planted with DeKalb DKC 67-44 field corn on 19 inch rows with the intention of selling the crop as silage to the dairy down the street. Jerry Geiger was instrumental in setting this up for the club so we could recoup the costs of the laser leveling and planting of the corn. I have been in direct contact with them to ensure that we are on the same schedule so when the silage choppers come through the corn will get chopped at the right time for them. Corn Planting is not an inexpensive endeavor if done correctly to get the most yield. 3300 pounds of pre plant fertilizer was put on the big field and two northern borders, and we purchased 5 bags of corn seed and only 4 and ¼ were used which if stored correctly can be used in future plantings. The two northern borders were planted with oats to let them go to head cut and baled for threshing demonstrations. As of now the cost so far is 2400 dollars to the club
As many of you have seen Arizona had a very wet and cold winter, and an extremely wet spring. Alfalfa production has been directly affected, by the weather and the field hasn’t produced a crop of hay for a few months now. The Alfalfa was doing great and there was a lot of it out there this winter and unfortunately we had a substantial amount of rain and were unable to get the crop cut and baled before a hard freeze devastated the crop. We were unable to get the crop cut and baled until January which only produced low quality bales that were used for both tractor shows and sold at the Apache Junction show. A few weeks after the Alfalfa was on the mend and growing we had another hard freeze that set us back another month. As of now the Alfalfa is looking great and is ready to be cut again as soon as the field dries out and there is not rain for a week after it gets cut. With the assistance of Ritchie Kennedy we have learned a lot about Alfalfa production and we will be putting the alfalfa on a watering and cutting schedule that coincides with his.
This has been a great experience for me personally and without the help of people like Mark Siion, Larry Rovey, Red Ronnebaum, Tom Trainor, and many others I don’t think we could’ve made the progress we have made. I hope that 2020 is a great year for everyone and we get a lot more participation from club members in the overall operations of the farm. It is my goal to ensure that everyone that dose participate has a great time and feels welcome to give their input, to how we can make things better going forward. Thanks for taking the time to read this update and hope to see you out at the farm soon…