Killdeer in the Soybeans

Reeger’s Farm’s work can be divided into two operations. There is the fruit and vegetable farming that Mary manages (this is the part I help with) and there is a grain farming side that is managed by Mary’s brother Bill. Bill grows wheat, oats, soybeans, and corn on Reeger’s Farm and on some land nearby that we lease. Today we had a job to do in Bill’s soybean fields.

This year Bill has planted soybeans on a number of fields that grew corn last year. Yet there are a few volunteer corn stalks cropping up in the fields. A “volunteer” is simply a plant that grows on its own, often coming up as the offspring of last years crop. Bill told me there are sprays that he could use  that target volunteer corn without harming the soybeans, but this would be expensive and there are not that many volunteers. It was more sensible and cost effective for us to simply walk through the fields and pull up the volunteer corn.

One could say that today we weeded corn. A weed is defined most simply as an unwanted plant. There is no characteristic that makes some plants weeds and others not. In most of our yards grass is not considered a weed, but when we find it in our tomato and pepper fields, it is a weed. So today, you could say that corn was a weed.

Some of these things are not like the others…

As you will see in the photos above and below, the fields we worked on today are known as “no-till” fields. By not tilling in between crops the soil can maintain more nutrients and moisture. This method also helps to severely reduce soil erosion. You can see the bottom of corn stalks from last years crops laying in between the soybean rows. While the soil look dry and dusty, the no-till method has allowed this land to maintain rich soil underneath this top layer. There is much to be said about no-till methods and I think they are pretty interesting. Yet the blog must go on so if you want to lean more, try Wikipedia!

Residue from last years crop that decomposes where it lies

As we walked through the rows plucking out corn, Mary came across this Killdeer in the field! Birds often make their nests in fields and this mother bird was squawking in defense, standing right beside its nest!

Mom with the kids

What a surprise!

As I was reading on Wikipedia about no-till methods, one of the very advantages to no-till mentioned was the protection of birds and burrowing animals that make their home in fields.

Finally, here is a sneak peak of what is going on with our peppers!

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