Feeding your family like our own

Where did the Blog go?

Where is the Blog???? Is that what you’ve been asking yourself?  We apologize. The farm as you may well imagine is a busy place, but there are a number of things that impact how a day, week or even a month play out. Some drastic and some just annoying like a 750lb boar that chooses the only day of rain in weeks to unhinge the gate and go for a joy ride around the farm amid the lightening and apocalyptic downpour.  I swore…. that he was smiling.  Some things like injuries can stop your day on a dime and unfortunately a lot of these things we have no control over since we work daily in a high risk environment.  And then there are the disasters like losing acres of land at harvest time to fire, a spark from a combine or a grass fire out of control.  This is life on the farm, for the most part all the surprises must be dealt with first and as many entrepreneurs we struggle to keep balanced between work and family. Not an easy task when the office is in the house, and there is no time clock in the barn or field, the cows just don’t get it!.  Perhaps this explains why making wine is a popular endeavour.  With a family of 7 too it presents some interesting days, between animals, kids and crops well a day off at least every 2 weeks or so is pretty important!. We are a farm family after all. We appreciate our customers respecting our no Sunday sales policy.

The time and chores necessary to keep our farm functioning can be at times a painstakingly slow wheel and even slower in 40 degree weather!.  Honestly hats off to everyone working outside this summer, even the animals!.  With few times of the year allowing for breaks we did take one after that crop saving rain on Sunday. The animals had an almost a peaceful expression as our world took a breath and soaked up moisture.  Unfortunately the rains were sporadic throughout Southern Ontario and some were left un quenched, we were one of the fortunate ones.  However the crops are not out of the woods yet or in the bin so to speak.  Hay for example has suffered so much this year due to drought that right now in southwestern Ontario one round bale is double the cost it was at the beginning of this year! With no real break in sight and not much of a second crop coming who knows where the hay will come from to over winter all the animals? How will farmers feed these animals?.  What will the cost of meat do in the stores? Something to ponder.

This year we have planted about 1900 acres. Corn, Wheat and Soybeans and hay.   We rent fields in our area from land owners, fellow farmers and from developers who have bought up the farmland in speculation.  Some of the fields we work are several km away, and some are here in Bradford and the time spent manoeuvring the streets, traffic and back roads of Bradford to get there is becoming increasingly challenging.  This may sometimes include crossing a finish line of a bike race all in the name of getting to the field before the rain did!  Many thanks to the consideration the locals that aren’t annoyed or impatient when they see the “cultivator”, tractor with hay bales on a wagon or “combine” crossing through an intersection or down a back road.  Truly, the patience and caution some drivers exhibit on the road does not go unnoticed and is most appreciated since at the end of the day we all want our loved ones to make it home safe and sound.  Farmers do help feed cities, and towns, did you eat today? Then give the tractor the right of way!.

These crops take many months to grow and harvest time is get r done while everything else waits and this does include answering emails in a timely manner unfortunately. This is our job, our life and our love.  Most of the crops supply the conventional markets and some we grow for our animals, i.e. non GMO corn, and hay.  Field work is but a cog on the ever spinning gears that make up the inner workings of our farm and an incredibly important one.  All consuming in our thoughts especially in a weather year like this one.

The biggest of our challenges is Mother Nature herself.  Some hail global warming some say just history repeating itself, regardless unprecedented heat and lack of moisture are setting records for 2012 and it’s not over yet.  Many forward thinking farmers market their own crops as we do by relentless market watching, sound marketing advice and when all else fails as Mom said, trust your gut!. No one hits every market high and hopefully lands a few upward trends all the while praying for the success of harvesting your crop.  High prices are just that unless you have a crop in the bin. Value should be placed on every hour a farmer spends marketing, even the 3 O’clock run to the DTN computer to ease your mind about a marketing decision.  Drought in the corn belt of the U.S.  and  parts of Ontario have set crop values  soaring.  July 19th 2012 as the markets closed it set a new all time high record for corn, never before seen.

Record high crop prices are just that if there is nothing in the bin. What does it all mean?

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