Repurposing the old pasture for planting crops
Historic Crop Development Prior to Haskaps

Our intention was to develop this five acre property into a hobby farm or at least show what can be grown in the area.  The land is gently sloping to the south with full sun exposure.  This provides excellent drainage, easy working conditions and the soil is some of the best agricultural land in the valley. 

 

Initially, the south 3 acres were fenced and we let our neighbours run about 10 head of cattle for two summers.  

 

We terminated the use by cattle and plowed the firmly trodden field in the fall of 2013.  Deer fencing was added to all areas.    It was left that way over the winter.

We began by plowing the field in November of 2013 and then disc-harrowed in the Spring of 2014.  See the  picture above illustrating the work of the disc harrow.

 

Initially, we were concerned as to the handling ability of our small tractor but the Kioti diesel worked well in 4WD for plowing, discing and later seeding.

 

The idea was to plow the approximately 3 acre field into quarters so that later we could experiment with four different crops.  It is sort of funny but we can now refer to being out in the south quarter!!

 

 

Out in the Field -- Our First Experience with a Seed Drill

 

 

It took a little time to get used to the drill and to set both the depth and rate of seed depending upon what we were planting.  As mentioned, we divided the field into four  quarters.  In the SE, we planted rye; in the SW Triticale (a rye/wheat product); NW we planted Much More Wheat; and in the NE we planted Hulless Barley.

 

The recommendation was to seed at a rate of about 100 lbs per acre.  That is what we came close to and our seed drill rows are about 6 inches apart.

 

Luckily although we planted late (20th of May), the weather was in our favour with warmth and periodic rain showers.  All of our grain began to sprout on the 5th day.

 

We had an excellent crop in all four quarters as shown below.

 

 

Even though we proved that four types of grain could easily be grown in Grand Forks without irrigation, it was decided the cost of harvesting equipment and storage was too much.  Consequently an alternative crop (Haskaps aka Honeyberry) was tested and grew well.