Harvest is complete. The weather is getting colder, and there’s snow on the ground.
Although farmers aren’t out in the field every day like they are throughout the warmer months, farmers are busy running their farms the whole winter, too. To find out more about what winter looks like on a South Dakota farm, we asked Peggy Greenway, a South Dakota farmer, to share her thoughts in this guest blog.
When it comes to crops, harvest is done, so we have some extra time to get to those projects we have been putting off for awhile. My husband and our employee do a lot of maintenance on buildings, fencing and equipment, making sure everything is in good shape for planting.
This is the time of year we also sit down with our agronomist and pick out which seeds to plant for the coming year. We have a plethora of choices when it comes to choosing seed. On our farm, we choose to plant GMO soybeans and corn. GMO crops have worked best on our farm over the years, and we appreciate the benefits they bring, like not having to spray insecticides and being able to use minimum-tillage. We usually buy seed from at least two or three different companies to see which seed works best on our land.
We’ve also been busy getting all of our bookwork up to date. Since farming is a business, we do a lot of bookkeeping for taxes and to track each enterprise of the farm. We also work with a farm business management program through our local technical institute. We keep very detailed records on each field and crop. This helps us know which fields are more productive and helps us make decisions on different types of seed. We also keep detailed records for the cattle and pigs. Just like every business, tracking expenses, income, and productivity in different areas is important to the health of our farm.
Winter is a time when things aren’t as hectic on the crop side, so we have the opportunity to sit down and think about our farming operation and make decisions for the upcoming year. However, when a farm like ours is diversified, with livestock and crops, we are busy every single day, and that’s what makes it fun! Though the way we care for our animals varies a little with the weather, we are working everyday to make sure they are comfortable and healthy.