Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: The Wife Report
In honor of the AM radio stations who educate their listeners on all things agriculture with their reports, commentary and advertising, I present the summer wife report, direct from western South Dakota. Derived from a variety of solid and questionable sources, held in a sleep deprived mind for hours to weeks, take it for what is worth. Please read with your best impression of your preferred commentator.
Hay in western South Dakota is fast becoming exceptional this year. First cutting alfalfa was average at one to two tons per acre and taken just as the weevils hit. Second cutting and grass hay looks amazing. Every tractor and two-thirds or better piece of worn equipment have been pulled out to help in getting caught up.
Hay prices remain steady from 2017. As the 2018 crop comes in and is listed for sale, optimists foresee the price going down considerably. Pessimists do not, citing demand in drought-stricken Colorado and Utah as likely sources for keeping prices high. Trucking should remain steady.
Rain has also allowed planting of millet and Sudan to wrap up in most sandy soil types. Two-week-old Sudan is nearly six inches tall.
Wheat is filling nicely, if it didn’t get some random, or maybe not random, disease. Rusty stalk, worms, tetanus. I really don’t know, but it’s very, very bad if it gets it. If it didn’t get “it,” you’d better start making sure the combine is ready to go.
The weather pessimists are struggling not to be overly happy with the year. Most have decided to be irritated that the frequent rain showers are causing the hay to grow so fast they are becoming more behind with each passing day. Sympathy for them is scarce.
Pastures look great, cattle are fat and slicked off. Calves are predicted to be on the heavy side this fall. Breed-ups should be great if all your bulls didn’t get foot rot.
Mosquitos were non-existent early but came on with a vengeance the last week in June. Use bug spray or risk needing a blood transfusion.
Flies are also having a good year and controlling them on livestock this summer has been more challenging than usual. Talk of pinkeye has begun.
Tourists are the only thing thicker than bugs. Pay attention, because they’re not. Consider it practice for the bikers.
Check those fences, the rain in recent weeks was heavy in many areas, causing minor to major fence issues. Those cows will find the holes if you don’t. The clover always looks better on the next ridge and the neighbor’s ugliest bull never gets foot rot.
Kids are mostly naked this time of year. Consider passing on purchasing any clothes beyond a couple town outfits and put the money toward sunscreen and bug spray. Or a sombrero big enough to shadow their entire body.
Your wife is driving a tractor because she loves you. It has AC because you love her. That’s romance this time of year.
It’s not like this everywhere. Pray for those that are facing drought and flood. God doesn’t give us all a picture-perfect summer at once.
That’s all for now. Otherwise known as it is time to rake hay.
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