The Farm

Our farm is located in south-eastern North Dakota.  Geographically, we are just outside of the Red River Valley, and on the edge of the Prairie Pothole region.

The landscape has some gradual hills, but for the most part is relatively flat.  There are many small sloughs scattered about, and some valleys where rivers cut through.  The loam-type soil can vary throughout one field.


North Dakota is arranged on a grid system and from up in sky the land looks like a quilt of squares.  The various fields tend to be the size of a quarter section (160 acres).  The fields that we farm are spread out with the furthest one being about 20 miles from our homestead, and not all right next to one another.

My husband and I farm about 2,500 acres with the help of his parents.  We raise grains (small and large), and do not currently have any livestock.

We grow an assortment of crops for a multiple reasons with the main focus being on soil health, weed control, and labor.  All of the crops are planted, and harvested in a certain order.  We ensure there is balance in our crop rotation.  The grains are either exported or made into products that you and I may use.

Here is a brief description of the crops we grow:


Winter Wheat


Winter wheat is planted using no-till equipment directly into the stubble of harvested spring wheat or soybeans from the previous fall.  The seeds germinate and go dormant once the winter temperatures arrive.  In the spring the plants reemerge.  Winter wheat is the first crop we harvest every growing season.


Spring Wheat


Spring wheat is a different type of seed than winter wheat, but looks the same when it is growing.  It is the first crop that we plant in the spring, and harvest almost immediately after winter wheat.  We raise hard red spring wheat, which is often used to make bread and other baked goods.


Barley


Barley is another cereal grain we grow, that may look like wheat from a distance.  We grow the Tradition variety of malting barley. Our most recent crop was shipped by rail from our local elevator to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and used to make beer.  Planting and harvest is typically around the same time as wheat.


Corn


Corn is the second-to-last crop planted in the spring, and the last crop to be harvested in the fall (sometimes into the winter).  We raise a handful of varieties of corn, and change them from year-to-year depending on seed selection from companies.  The #2 yellow corn is used in animal feed, and made into ethanol and other corn by-products (i.e. tortilla chips, corn syrup, etc.).


Soybeans



Soybeans are currently the only legume crop that we raise, and we change the seed varieties from year-to-year.  It is the last crop that we plant each spring, and the second-to-last crop we harvest (just before corn).  Soybeans help create a large array of products you probably use everyday, and animal feed.