Friday, June 21, 2013

Out and about walking the hayfields

Been quite a week.  The weather cleared for awhile, just long enough to walk the fields and check the drainage.  With all the rain we've had lately many of the farms have lost their first crops, leaving fields still too wet to replant and try again.  We've been lucky but continue to be watchful.
Some prolonged dry weather would be helpful right now so that we could get the hay mowed and baled.  Those long waving blades are pretty in the morning light but in order to have enough feed for the winter, most farms need at least two cuttings. 

Multiflora Rose is becoming problematic for many farms and orchards in the East.  Introduced a number of years ago by the Department of the Environment as a natural fencing material to divide pastures, Multiflora has taken a toe hold and has spread to many undesirable areas.

 If you look carefully in this photo, you will see the Multiflora growing up and covering the trees.  In no time at all, this plant can completely take over and smother out any competing plant life.  It's not uncommon to see great cushions of roses growing in pastures or along roadsides.  On the upside, there is so much growing in our area that the morning air is lightly rose scented.
Although there are many toxic solutions that will kill these plants.   One of the best solutions that New York is experimenting with is allowing controlled goat grazing.  Goats love these plants and in no time will eat them to oblivion.  Two or three passes over the area where the roses are growing and the Multiflora is done.  What's more, any rose hips or seed that is consumed is rendered sterile in the goat's gut, not just pass through like it does when eaten by deer or birds.  Goat droppings add nutrients back into the soil and unlike cow or horse manures, breakdown quickly and don't burn the soil.
Sidebar: as promised, I finally saw one of the tulip poplars in bloom.  The flower was deep in the leaf cover.  Unlike those showy tulip trees at the nursery, these have only a few flowers and you really have to look for them.

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