Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Baling" Out

We're baling out on this year's milo crop. Literally.

Last week, the guys swathed most of our milo fields.
After it dries down, they will bale it and use it for cattle feed this winter.
Photo from 2010 - showing baling.
Before swathing, Randy gathered samples of the milo stalks at two different locations and took them to Hutchinson for testing at a lab.
One location came back as suitable for cattle feed. The other field tested higher for nitrates, so he'll have to feed a mixture of half alfalfa and half milo stalks. 

Because of the drought, farmers/ranchers must take special care to check for nitrates in feedstuffs. Nitrates are normally converted into protein by a growing plant. But in severe droughts such as this one, nitrates can accumulate to toxic levels in the stalks of plants such as corn, sudangrass, sorghum, and even weeds. 

Nitrates can cause illness - and even death - in cattle, so it was important to do testing. Nitrate poisoning can also cause the abortion of a fetus and lower rates of gain, but those effects may show up later in the fall when ranchers or their veterinarians complete preg checks on the herd's cows and heifers.

Randy also had the insurance adjustor come to examine the fields before swathing. The guys left two, 8-row strips to satisfy the insurance claim needs.
The adjustor will come back to determine the yield of the grain still left standing.

Because double-crop milo isn't eligible for crop insurance, Randy left that field standing. Later this fall, he will probably fence it off and graze cattle on it.

You can click on the image to make it larger. But, what it boils down to is that even more of Kansas, including the counties where we farm are in exceptional drought.
We are certainly not alone. Last week, the drought map revealed that much of Kansas is now classified in Exceptional Drought. That dark red strip across the state is not good news for any fall crops, including our milo. 

Keep praying for rain! While it is too late for this crop, we need some moisture to plant next year's wheat crop and to replenish our pastures. 


  1. Good Morning Kim,
    I am so sad for you and your family, this is a devastating loss. Maybe times will be better soon and the rain will come. You are in our prayers.
    Miz Helen

    1. Thanks Miz Helen! We are fortunate to have insurance (though the premiums are high). I don't know how people survive without insurance. Keep praying for rain! Thanks!

  2. Looks like Randy is on top of every thing.

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