During the growing seaon, Jamie and Traci walk through the fields on a routine basis looking for problems such as weeds, diseases, insects, fertility issues, and the like. If a problem is identified early, it can be often corrected. Also these observations can help will planning for the next crop year.
Row crops were the main focus when starting Wayne Trace Farms, Traci and Jamie both hold advanced degrees and professional certifications in crop production, while working professionally in the crop production industry. The livestock endeavors have become increasing important to diversify the operation. We are a relatively small field crop farm, however we do not think small. Our farms that we own or rent all have their own challenges and special needs. We work to identify own to maximize each acre while conserving what we can. We have adopted the no-till cropping system, this means we do not till the fields before planting. The residue from the previous crop covers the field protecting it from erosion. Many of our acres have hills that would result in soil washing from the field if we did not adopt this practice. No-till also helps us reduce fuel and machinery costs.
Planting Soybeans spring 2016, the corn residue is from 2014
In the fall technology plans yet another big roll. While the GPS is guiding the combine to drive itself while harvesting grain, the combine uses GPS to make a map of grain yield across the field. This is also the time of year that data is collected on plots in the field. Plots are like a miniature research projects. We plant a wide range of seed varieties to help identify the varieties that will be planted the following year. Also the same variety maybe planted at various populations to help better define the seeding maps. When space and time allows plot can also be performed to identify the increased yield or reduced cost of using a product or treating a problem.
Our planter also utilizes GPS. During the winter months, with the support of our Pioneer Seed Dealer, maps for each field are made that identify the ideal seeding population for the variety based on soil type and other information about the field. The planter then uses GPS to identify it’s location in the field, and plant the correct number of seeds. This is being done while the tractor uses GPS to drive itself.
We do utilize GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds to reduce the use of pesticides, while there are many concerns about GMO, many times those concerns arise from incorrect information and perceptions. If you desire to learn more about GMO’s re recommend www.gmoanswers.com.
Harvesting soybean variety plot
The adoption of contemporary cropping practices and the latest technology is key in crop production. We also utilize GPS (global positioning system) technology in all aspects of grain production. In the fall we use GPS to collect geo-referenced soil samples, and then use the maps created to generate fertilizer application maps, this allows the fertilizer spreader to adjust fertilizer application rates as it travels the field the following spring. Our goal is to use as little fertilizer as possible while maximizing yield.
While raising crops for grain, the livestock needs cannot be overlooked. We bale wheat straw in the summer after the wheat is harvested. The straw will be used for livestock bedding throughout the year, in most years we have enough to sell some. Another common activity during summer months is making grass hay for the sheep. We need enough hay to feed the sheep during the winter months.