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Winter Blues

Posted 1/22/2010 2:05pm by Renae Schlatter.

A few weeks back we had some snow that covered everything up and made the landscape beautiful. Since then, the weather has warmed up some causing some of the snow to melt away resulting in a not so beautiful landscape. There was not much frost in the ground before the snow came and it has not frozen hard since, so it has been more challenging this winter as far as feeding the cows go. We bale our hay into big round bales and transport them with a Bobcat loader. In the mornings while there is some new frost in the ground from the night they usually try to move a couple days worth of bales up closer to the animals. Every morning the cows are fed new hay. I've heard it said before that in Northwest Ohio there are two seasons, mud and summer.

The area where we are located is known for its heavy clay soil. If you walk through this soil when it is wet it will stick to the bottom of your boots or shoes and it seems like it will add inches to your height! We have often in the past bemoaned the fact that we have to deal with such heavy soil. It is really not suited well for row crop farming such as we used to do. We have since learned that it is actually an advantage for us to have the clay soil. This is because there are so many rich minerals and nutrients in the clay soil, if cared for properly, that will result in high quality meats and cheeses (from the milk). I understand that grass is a good soil 'healer' and what you see on top of the ground is mirrored below the ground as far as root structure goes. The more roots there are and the deeper they go, the less erosion there is and loss of the important organic matter that is most prevalent in the topsoil layer. There are many organisms that help improve soil quality and next week I will talk about earthworms and dung beetles.

Until then, enjoy what little sunshine we get this time of year.