Springtime at Lamb Farms
You may be noticing a lot of dust in the air. Our mild spring has been a blessing for us as we are already busy with fieldwork. Drive along a county road and you’ll see a tractor shrouded in a cloud of dust as it works its way across the field.
Farming keeps us busy all the time, but when spring rolls around everything speeds up. These are the days when it seems like you can’t get enough help. There’s lots of activity and I really do like it all. Around here we call it “squirrelling.” I might be doing one job when something else pops up that needs attention. That’s my role, I could be running a sprayer and the next thing you know I’m helping fix a planter. We have 10 full-time people on the farm and while we are busy year-round, there’s extra energy and excitement when it comes to planting season; opening the fields, applying fertilizer and planting should all come together like a well-choreographed performance.
Old farmers say that farming is a lot like gambling and even with early spring that is true again this year. Along with the blessing of the mild spring and sunny days to work the fields, there’s risk; too much rain, too little rain, too windy or a surprise cold snap.
While farming has gone high-tech we’re still at the mercy of the elements. We usually don’t know more than a week out what weather we could expect. However, technology has helped us become much more efficient. Many people have the perception that we as farmers are doing more to our fields than past generations but that’s not the case. In fact, ag technology helps us avoid overworking or over treating the soil or planting seed that may fail in certain growing conditions.
This week I was driving a spray applicator. A GPS unit monitored the area of the field I had already covered and prevented me from spraying over an area twice. Using technology allows us to deliver precise amounts of pesticides, making our food supply safer than ever. We understand the importance being environmentally aware, good stewards of the land, and producing a quality crop that is safe for us to produce and for the consumer to use.
I was also able to multi-task from the cab of the sprayer, staying in contact with the rest of the team, keeping supplies running efficiently out to the fields and tracking progress of those working in other fields. Farming is also no longer the solitary practice of our grandfathers who might have sat for hours on a tractor plowing a field only to see someone when he stopped for supper.
Despite all this technological efficiency there is one thing I share with farmers of the past; the satisfaction of a well-worked field and the optimism of fall’s successful harvest.