Farm Week in Pictures 04/20/2013

It was a wet week for this Farm Week in Pictures!  We had rain almost every day ending with a big storm Thursday that dropped water on saturated soils.  We have no crops in the ground yet so no damage done there.  We will however be waiting until everything dries out before we can start to think about sowing seed this year.  As of now it hasn’t rained significantly in the last 24 hours which means a lot of standing water has already drained off or at least has found its way to all the low spots by now.  A few days of no rain will make a huge difference.  Let’s recap the week!

Taking Root
Winter Cereal Rye
Before the weather turned wet I walked around our cereal rye cover crop to do a little digging. The roots are providing some nice soil structure in the top few inches of soil. I’d like to get our backhoe out here to dig a pit in order to find out how deep the roots penetrated. This rye will scavenge nutrients from the soil, suppress weeds, prevent erosion, and improve our soil.  The roots will leave behind channels providing easy movement for crop roots, earthworms, and water.  We planted about 200 acres of cover crops last fall, and we have plans to do 400 this fall.

Not Drought

Surface Water Drain
Here rain water filters down to this low spot before heading under the road and into a waterway in the next field on its journey to the Wabash River. Flooding like this is common for this field, but it’s been quite a while since we’ve seen this due to 2012’s drought. This standing water was nearly gone two days later.

Banks of the Wabash
Wabash River Bottom
This screenshot from my phone shows our crescent-shaped river bottom field that borders the banks of the Wabash River. It’s not uncommon for this field to experience flooding following heavy rainfall. The tree line between this field and our other fields to the West constitutes a 100′ drop in elevation. If enough rain washes down the hillside we can find large rocks rolled out into the field.
River Bottom Flood
This is the same field shown above. As you can see, nearly the entire 64 acres is under water. Water that can probably be measured in feet in some places. This has happened before and will happen again. Good thing we don’t have any crops in the ground yet! The river should crest this weekend so it won’t be long before this field is clear again. We’ll discover logs and other debris when we come back to plant this field.

Down the Drain
Pattern Tile Drainage
This ground may look soaking wet to you, but I’m pretty happy about it. What I don’t have is a picture from the day before I took this shot when all this was under water and the field across the road was surface draining into our field. Under this area is part of the new drainage system we installed after harvest last year. Normally this spot would stay ponded for several days so I’m really pleased to see the water drain away much faster now that we’ve given it a path to follow. This system should improve yields in the immediate area, but we should also see a ripple effect of higher yields radiating out from the edges of this low spot.

Flushed Out
Drain Tile Outlet
This is the outlet of the system draining the field pictured above. A 12″ pipe about 1/3 full really moves quite a lot of water. Giving water an easy escape will also reduce erosion from surface runoff.

Water, Water Everywhere
Flooded Field

On the Loose!
Beef CattleThese girls are out and about.  Dad and I were touring the area to see the extent of the flooding when we came across this group of bovines in the road and in the woods.  There must have been a busted fence or open gate somewhere.  Within the hour I had picked up my son and while driving him past I found the farmer was already rounding up his livestock.  I bet these animals had some fun that day!

What type of weather did you experience this week?

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