Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sowing (Wild) Oats

Admit it. When you read "wild oats," you thought maybe this was true confessions or something. Nope, just boring old me.

But I guess Facebook thought I was all racy last week. When I tried to post my working cattle tales last week, I got a message saying I was being blocked because of offensive content.

Offensive content?! Who me? I finally figured out that maybe they weren't happy about me using the term "castration." (There I go again: I'll probably get blocked today, too. Will I ever learn?!)

I had to type the information into the little form, telling them why I believed it was an error that I got the blocked message. Long story (albeit not so short), I figured out how to post it anyway. Take that, Facebook.

But that's about as wild as I get around here.

We did, however, plant some oats this spring. This is how the oats look, right out of the seed sack.

Oats are not typically in our crop rotation. This year, Randy planted the oats on March 1 in an old alfalfa field.

He used the drill to sow the oats (which weren't wild, by the way).

(This photo was taken during wheat planting, but it shows the drill.)

He planted oats in the alfalfa so that he could get one more cutting from the field before he worked it up. An alfalfa field is productive about 7 to 8 years.

The oats are also a good source of nutrition for our cattle herd. At the end of May or the first part of June, he will swath the field and then bale it.

Even though we usually don't turn down a rain, he'll be hoping for no moisture on the swathed oats. Oats spoil more quickly than alfalfa if it's rained on.

This photo makes the plants look huge, but it's perspective. I had the camera on the ground and in the "close-up" mode. Still, I wanted to show the two different plants. The "bushy" plant is alfalfa and the grass-like plant is the oats.

It costs about $25.00 per acre to plant the oats, figuring cost of seed and use of the machinery. But it should yield a couple of tons of oats and alfalfa for that last cutting. That will increase the value of the last cutting of the hay and provide good feed for feeder cattle.

And there you have it: Not so wild oats on the County Line.

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