It's the time of year when I start pacing back and forth, getting more and more antsy because it's getting closer and closer to harvest. The trucks and combine are all ready to go (or at least I hope they are), the wheat has almost dried down all the way, and now it's just a matter of waiting until the moisture level of the grain drops low enough.
There's only a couple of hundred acres to combine, but it always seems to rain sometime during harvest (so you have to wait a few days for the moisture levels to come back down) or something breaks down, so I like to get it cut as fast as I can.
It might just be me, but during harvest it always seems like I run and run and run and run until I'm finally done and then everything comes to a full stop. Or, it's like going a hundred miles an hour all day long with the engine and wind roaring in your head, and then locking up the brakes and coming to a screeching halt surrounded by a deafening silence.
In a little bit over a month the wheat has gone from just starting to head out to full maturity and drying down.
|Almost, but not quite ready to cut|
|Ten thousand more of these and you could bake a loaf of bread|
Last year, we had a late wheat harvest (last week in June) and more moisture, the crabgrass went from germination to 3 feet tall in 5-6 weeks, and I baled somewhere around 3500 lb. of crabgrass hay per acre. This year, the wheat should be harvested earlier, and the crabgrass has already germinated, so I might get close to the same amount of hay baled if we get a little bit of rain this summer (even if I only get half the yield, I'll be satisfied).
|Crabgrass just starting to grow in the wheat|
Of course, the same things that make crabgrass so productive and easy to grow are also what makes some people think it's just a weed, so I've only seen a handful of people locally growing it for hay or grazing. Crabgrass can be a weed problem when I grow sorghum or if I grew soybeans (pre-emergant herbicide will fix that), but the hay can be more profitable than the sorghum and it's usually a heck of a lot easier to grow.
I also tend to look at crabgrass as an easy cover crop, I don't have to do anything (except maybe fertilize it) and I can grow a lot of biomass (almost as many roots as above ground grass), bale some hay, also graze it, while controlling ryegrass a little due to the allopathic effects.
There's a lot of things in the world that I still don't understand, but I can't understand why more people don't grow crabgrass in a continuous wheat growing area.