What Goes into Prepping the Fields for Quality Forage?
The changing of the seasons is always an exciting time around Standlee! It signals a slight change of focus for us. Spring, especially, is always a favorite time because the weather is warming, the sun is out, and so are tractors. Spring means planting, testing soil, inspecting fields, and making sure everything is ready to start growing our premium western forage.
Our farm managers have spent the winter servicing equipment and attending trainings to become the best, and now, they are ready to start moving. We spend a lot of time focusing on three things in the spring:
- Planting new fields of forages or annual crops as part of our crop rotations – crop rotation allows us to decrease weed pressure in our fields as well as keeps our soil quality high by allowing us to use different planting and harvesting methods.
- Preparing our irrigation equipment – we have mostly dry summers here in Idaho and being able to add water by irrigation allows us to control how much and when each of our crops get water. We probe soils for moisture to ensure there is just enough without causing any run-off.
- Adding fertilizer to our fields growing forage – all growing things need food and growing forage is no different, so we sample the soil in our fields and then apply fertilizer to them based on the requirements of the crop and what the field is lacking.
When fields are planted and fertilized, our farm managers start their careful monitoring of each of the fields on our farms. They make sure that the fields are free of weeds, our forages are getting enough water, and everything is growing how it is supposed to.
Once May hits, we anxiously await first cutting and start relying on Mother Nature to be kind to us (we appreciate the water, but not when it’s time to cut). If all goes well and we don’t have late spring rain, we will be in the field harvesting our first cutting of the season by the middle of May.