Watch as Farmers Grow

Monthly Summary – August 2012

August 13th, 2013 | Posted by miker in Monthly Summary

Monthly Summary– August 2012

Logs reviewed and summary prepared by MR, August 10, 2013

General Observations:  Eight Thunder storm events noted and 21 irrigation applications.  Electrical fire near farmhouse after powerline broke along route 579.  It seemed like a lot of tractor activity with late season plowing and haying, and lots of planting as the crew prepares for the end of the season.  Finally MR expands the Big Garden Beds, plowing in a new section to the south of the Blackberries.
New Big Garden Beds
Equipment 85 hrs: Up from 30 hours last year, 15 hours mowing with the Kabota, 25 hours with the Ford, 10 hours with the JD (it was only 5 last August) and 12.5 with our new Case 265.  Seemed to be lots of Tractor time for our 2nd year Trainees KG and RR, cultivating and bedforming, also chisel plowing for KG.  Haybine required removal of blade and reriviting of two cutter teeth.  Observed and assisted by KG, RR and TH.

Administration 25 hrs:  As ever, accounting and payroll.  Payroll for the month was $5,987 for 6 workers ($3,000 less than ’11).  Cash coming in is regularly deposited and quarters and ones retrieved for the cashbox.  Significantly less hours than last August, probably too busy in field.

Infrastructure 100 hrs: Hard predation of chickens noted, down to 55 birds total.  Field edges and Diversions mowed.  8/16 the fence lines and irrigation valves were weed wacked.  MR pointed out clear example of soil erosion at the end of a newly planted field beds to crew.  Emphasized the significance of soil loss even on a small scale – imagine how bad on a large scale.  New BGB’s!  finally plowed into shape by MR with JD using moldboard plow.  Fairly roughly done, enough to clearly delineate the beds for excavator to finish the job.  While Moldboard plow attached, MR modified the layout of the Fields in Veg. C, moving the central field to the North, to accommodate a poorly drained area between the south and mid sections.  Disc harrow in use at end of month for rough tillage of fallow fields.

Greenhouse 14.5 hrs: RR and KG slogged thru “hard work!” of clearing zinnias from Farmhouse Gothic in order to plant Tomatoes.  During rainy days, transplants thinned.  Weekly thereafter members of the crew trellised the House Tomatoes, pruning and clipping.  By end of month, House Tomatoes yielding well but losing more than half to rodent damage – Critical to control rodent population – Cats adopted, but too late to protect this years crop.

Composting 6 hrs:  10.5 cubic yards applied to fields, pre-planting.

Planting 78 hrs:  Training for KG and RR; bed forming and the associated tractor ‘Set-up’ of straight shanks and spyders.  Ordered Cover Crop Seed; 1,200# Triticale Rye, 250# Hairy Vetch and 320# Winter Pea.  CH filled out edges of Corner Garden with perennial Sweet William flowers.  Nice notes of crew working well together, tuning up BGB’s for big direct seeding push on 8/17.

Crop Care 174 hrs:  Hand weeding in Salad mix, with heavy weed pressure and poor germination.  Weeding and cultivating, Tomato Trellising both field and greenhouse.  With increased irrigation towards end of month.  Late Blight discovered in Ralphs House, MR cut down and buried effected plants under hay and plastic tarp in order to reduce spore distribution – seemed to contain the Blight from spreading.

Harvesting 376 hrs: Down 200 hours from last year, was it increased efficiency or less to harvest?  Multiple entries of Harvesting being disturbed by heavy t-storms in first half of August.  Carrot yields from 100’ BGB’s of 500#!  Special harvest and discussion of the ‘Wild Greens- Purslane’ from beds that had poor yield of the intended squash crop.  Tomatoes yielding well, over 50 trays harvested on 8/21.  Late cutting of Hay in Veg. D and Central Northeast fields, and raking too, hoping to get crop in before arrival of Hurricane Issac.  Crew introduction to harvesting zinnias – stem size, where to cut and handling into buckets.

Handling 82 hrs:  Friend of RCM asked to use our facilities for upcoming event, needed space for many sunflowers.  Full training review for crew regarding selection and sorting of ripe vs ripening, handling trays and calculating the cost of labor into the actual yield 8/21.

Marketing 187 hrs: There was a “market assessment” done on 8/14 as we tried to identify the cause of decreasing sales as compared to last year.  The most significant finding was that the amount of produce sold, compared to what it should have earned was consistently inaccurate, sometimes more, sometimes less.  One clear difference was the impact of having SO Blueberries last year and not in 2012.  The take home message was despite a decent effort to accurately record crop sales, we need to do a lot better recording sales info.

Hopewell– $383, $553, $467, $507, $661; Total: $2,571 (decrease of $1,490 from 2011)

WWCFM– $1,231, $1,297, $1,415, $1,549; Total: $5,492 (decrease of $3,216)

Summit $2,556, $2,670, $3,284, $3,555; Total: $12,065 (increase of $3,316)

Total August 2012 Market Income: $20,128 (decrease of $1,400 from 2011)

Special Projects 8.5 hrs:  Delineation of ‘Permaculture Field’, mowing a section to be renovated into hay and defining the remaining area to be planted with Orchard and Perennial Plantings.  KG took on the preparations for ‘Tomato Fight’, mowing paths.  RCM culminated long hours of planning and prepping with a successful delivery of Flowers for her friends wedding.  Last of the “ranchettes” killed by marauding raccoon.  End of month Tomato Processing run – 650 pounds of ripe tomatoes for sauce and ketchup.

Weather:  Drought conditions at beginning of Month

Week 1:  Heavy shower associated with Thunder Storm.

Week 2: More Thunder storms, noted 2.5 inches in ½ hour, then another 3.5” three days later.

Week 3: Finally, Clear weather, conditions drying.

Week 4: Dry until last days then saturated with heavy shower.  Weather turning cool.  Hurricane off Coast of Louisiana approaching.

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