A second April snowstorm, followed by May 2 snowfall of 16" in parts of Minnesota, has slowed fieldwork once again.
Dateline: April 18, 2013. As another snowstorm sweeps across Minnesota, I wonder why my great-great-grandfather decided to farm here.
A German immigrant, Julius Buscho landed in New York in 1859, then moved to the Princeton, WI, area to work on farms.
In 1864, a year before the Civil War ended, he enlisted with the Union Army, trained in Pennsylvania, and was assigned to the Third Regular Cavalry in Missouri. His unit was soon transferred to Arkansas, back to Wisconsin and finally to New Mexico before he was discharged in 1867.
At 27 years old, after seeing so much of the country, Julius and his Pennsylvania bride, Lydia Fie, settled on more than 400 acres near Owatonna, MN, about 80 miles south of the Twin Cities.
Despite the snowy winters and starting from scratch, he lived a prosperous life, according to History Of Steele And Waseca Counties, Minnesota.“The solicitor and writer of this sketch (J.W. Coapman) happily and unexpectedly found this comrade very nicely enjoying an abundance of the comforts of this life, upon one of the finest farms in the state, and possessed of an unusual amount of land and personal property, a noble wife and a family of bright children.”
Of his seven offspring, three sons divided the land and also farmed. One was my great-grandfather Ed, who handed his land down to grandpa Ralph, who then sold it to my dad, Vernon, and uncle Eldon. My cousin Karl is farming much of what was Julius’ land now.
Each of these five farming generations experienced trials.
Julius came to this country with nothing, worked hard and offered his sons a start. His son, Ed, lost his arm at age 22 while shredding corn. He couldn’t change the fact that he lost that arm, so he learned how to farm without it.
All of these farmers persevered because they did the best they could with what they had.
Too many livestock producers today are facing the possibility of a second or third year of drought, low hay acres and lower hay stocks. A late spring has been keeping hay prices high, but, as one university forage specialist recently wondered, how long can beef producers afford $200/ton hay that they used to buy for $65/ton? Dairies, too, can’t afford high prices, and that has growers worried.
Nevertheless, a majority of those responding to our 2013 Crop Outlook Survey (see “Our Readers Will Grow A Bit More Hay”) weren’t concentrating on the problems, but on the solutions.
They’re cautious, but not afraid to try new products, machines and management techniques to increase their forage yields.
Many mentioned that they’ll take more soil tests, apply more fertilizer, control pests better, put in more irrigation, manage water better or try a growth regulator or foliar fungicide. Switching to baleage was in the plan for several survey takers, and many will improve their cutting management.
They’re thinking like my great-great-grandpa Julius, and great-grandpa Ed, who lived the sentiment that Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl expressed: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Speaking of changes, you may notice a familiar name to which Hay & Forage Groweris now closely connected. Farm Progress properties, which organizes the Farm Progress Hay Expo each year, was bought by our parent company, Penton Media.
We’re now the largest and most diversified ag information business in North America, called Penton Farm Progress.
Hay & Forage Grower is proud to be a part of this field-demonstration-heavy Hay Expo, slated for June 19-20 just outside of Waukon, IA. As our first-time contribution to the event, we’ve invited Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska Extension forage specialist, to speak on hay marketing and prices (see “Hay Expo Set For June 19-20 In Waukon, IA.”)
In this issue, we are also reporting on our visit with one of the hosts of the Expo, Bill Regan of Regancrest Holsteins. We tell how he manages the forages that help produce a herd with top-notch genetics in the story, “Hay Expo Host Dairy Divvies Up Duties.”