Summer season farming: find out how farmers care for their summer crops and livestock
With the First Day of Summer, June 21, upon us, it’s the perfect time to discuss summer farming – because there are many things farmers do each year during this steamy season, and for many folks in production agriculture, summer is their busiest time of year.
Is your Operation Ready for Summer Farming?
First, before summer crops are planted, land preparation must take place. For instance, many farmers take the opportunity to test their soil to determine the quality. If the quality is low, they will likely work to improve it by applying organic matter or eliminating soil salinity.
Speaking of summer crops – like corn, cucumbers, melons, peppers, tomatoes and squash – they require tending, and farmers must ensure they’re getting plenty of water. For example, the average tomato plant needs more than 30 gallons of water in a season. Farmers must evaluate and decide the best (and most cost-effective) way to ensure their plants stay healthy and well-hydrated. Cool-weather crops, on the other hand, require a slightly different approach as they are more sensitive to the heat. Along with plenty of water, farmers can use shade netting, or another form of controlled shade, to keep these plants healthy,.
Summertime also means weed management efforts are in full force. Summer weeds can rob subsequent crops of soil nitrogen and stored soil water, and they can reduce crop emergence by causing physical and/or chemical interference at seeding time. Many farmers choose to use herbicides, but some, particularly those who have organic operations, may use other methods to manage weeds. Some alternatives to herbicides are employing preventative tactics, crop competition, and cover cropping.
Finally, those with livestock have even more to manage during the summertime. To keep animals cool and healthy, farmers must ensure air circulation systems are in place to maintain an environment in which heat doesn’t reach dangerous levels. Many farmers even build shade shelters in their fields to protect livestock from suffering heat stroke. Additionally, farmers care for their animals by providing fresh, cool drinking water, and many also provide misting systems, water pools, and mud wallows to help livestock cool off.
Get Financially Prepared
Regardless of the season, AgAmerica Lending is here to help you with the right financing for your operation. Contact us today to learn more about how our industry-unique 10-year line of credit could give you the necessary operating capital to get set up for success in any season.