Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dry Fall

It's the last day of October, Halloween, and we've had only traces of rain since the first week in September.  My forage estimates tell me I currently have about three months of forage now standing.  Without more rainfall in the next 30 days I will not have enough forage to get through the winter without feeding some hay.  Most paddocks are holding what water has fallen.  We are getting about one half inch growth of forage every three to five days.  If we could get a good soaker, growth of our fescue could top over one inch per day during this normal good growing time.  I shouldn't be complaining since many of my neighbors are currently feeding hay and many have fed hay more on than off for most of the summer.

Most farmers I run into are suffering under our current economic structure.  This is apparent when it now is almost impossible to know of a farmer who neither he, his wife, or both hold jobs in town just to keep thinks together.  My ranch/farm is a business.  A productive business does not require a second, or third job to keep things going.  If you own a McDonald's franchise you shouldn't need to have a teaching job or sales job to pay the bills of that business.  My business is 35 years old this year.  It has become more difficult each year to make the ranch profitable.  I would like to blame someone else for this difficulty but a great deal of the blame I know comes back to my management.  I know I must reduce my input costs even more, and select for livestock that can produce on what the ranch grows.  I also now am very aware that most outside help from chemical sales companies, fertilize dealers, equipment companies, feed gurus, corporate fix a flats with their latest gizmo and the land grant universities supported by these sharks, are not in business for my good.  They are all in the business of building wealth.  And the only place they have to get that money from is from the pockets of us ranchers and farmers. 

I have said for years that the only real builders of wealth are farmers who create from the energy of the sun, rain water and their keen intellect.  Aside from earth mining of our hard elements, all others live from the backs of us ranchers and farmers.  All other products and services stem from the only product man can not live without, food.  We as ranchers/farmers have fallen behind in keeping this in perspective and have allowed politics and the greed of others to sway our better judgement.  We have been taught to produce without question, a commodity with low value and less nutrient density than our bodies can survive on and then give it away as if it has no value.  When in fact, food is the only real need in this world.  All else is only a want or desire, not a need.

I wonder where I could buy a good 2 inch rain?  Now that's a real need.