Wednesday, 1 May 2013

When Life Stinks

Oh, you know those days, when you are cruising through the country and suddenly you get a whiff of something not so sweet, and someone says:

"Ewww, it smells like cow poo."

I have written about grass seeding, have told you about haying, and now its time to explore your sense of smell and explain what exactly is going on when a drive goes from scenic to plain old smelly.

What on earth could those farmers be doing?

For the past week it has smelt exactly like cow manure because everyone has been making hay while the sun shines. But to get the grass growing again, and replenish any nutrients it needs fertilizer. It so happens we have two large concrete basins of the stuff!

Just a corner of the entire pit which, when I was small, I used to beg my parents to turn it into a swimming pool--although currently I wouldn't advise diving in. Here is the boom of our tank plunging into the slurry depths and literally vacuuming up the manure. 

Hoses, hydraulics and gauges--oh my! Plenty of things to keep your eye on, like the meter on the right side, indicating when the tank is full or empty.

A full tank out spreading manure onto a freshly cropped field. Notice that nice, even spray? (And notice how far I'm standing back?) Seeing this application method may raise questions about leaching into the water system, and we do rely on rain to carry the nutrients down to the plant roots but farmers must also spread sensibly. Over spreading can suffocate the grass (and ruin a potential crop), and hauling out of season, (when its either pouring rain or frozen) will cause ruts in the field, harming the land, or means that the fertilizer cannot penetrate the frozen ground to reach the roots, both pointless endeavours. And of course, we drink the water in the area--so that's extra motivation to keep it clean!

Remember: every stinky story has a sweet lining: all that manure keeps your scenic country drive lush and green and our ladies in the barn happy. I guess its a trade-off.

Happy first of May! Please share any stories, comments or questions below. I would love to read from you. :)