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Jennifer Ewoldt

Jennifer Ewoldt, Rural Route 4 columnist

Ever heard the phrase "Hurry up and wait"?  That's exactly what farmers are trying to do right now.  We are trying to be patient with this Iowa spring weather, when we really just want to get on with the business of planting our crops.  However, as long as we have wet fields and this up and down weather, there's not too much that can be done. There were a few farmers able to get some early fertilizer on or early tillage work done last week on those couple of warm days, but many didn't even try. There are still some wet areas in our fields, so we weren't in much of a rush. The co-op came out and applied some of our early fertilizer with their big spray booms, but that's as close as we have gotten to actual crop preparation.

We did some field work in a sense - one of Robb's friends worked with the blade to level out and fill in some of the low spots in the fields where there was a little erosion this spring. All that rain washed a little dirt in some places, and there were a few ruts in the fields from last fall when it was a little too wet for the combine. Now those are all nice and level again, and seeded down with grass in the waterways. That will make it a lot nicer when Robb gets out with the planter. It seems that no matter what we do to prevent water runoff, there are some places where it cannot be helped - especially with the hilly fields that we farm. It does make me glad, however, that we are doing no-till farming and cover crops on these fields. I cannot imagine how bad it would be if we still used traditional tillage for everything and no cover crops.

Speaking of cover crops, I can see the green rye grass growing in many fields around Scott County. This cover crop will be green for a little while, and will prevent soil from being washed away by these spring rains. = It's been there since it was planted last fall, holding the soil in place with its roots.  Soon it will be fertilizer for the ground as it is tilled under or killed off for planting.  Green fertilizer - just what our soils need to stay healthy.

The pastures have also been greening up everywhere I look, and the cattle and horses are enjoying it immensely. I love to see the calves running around in the fields now as I drive around.  Ours are not yet out on the pastures because we don't want to cause any soil erosion, but they will be heading out soon when it's a little drier. Besides, we can keep a closer eye on the small calves in the lot close to the house.  Our horses are very happy, however.  That last bale of hay we put in the feeder seems to be taking forever to get eaten - they are munching on the fresh green grass instead.

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Another season is underway for us - spring soccer season.  It has been a cold start so far, but we are already running to practices and games all over the place with our two boys.  I am lucky in a way, because spring planting has not started and Robb is still available to help drive.  It makes it much easier to have two parents when you have two boys going in opposite directions at different times.  We have looked at each other several times and said "Thank goodness we only have two!"  I do enjoy watching the soccer, though. It's fun for parents and kids, and it teaches teamwork and responsibility. It also involves learning to win without gloating and being obnoxious, and learning to lose graciously and without giving up. I think those are qualities that will stick with kids long after their sports days are over.

Until next time, when I hope we will have planting progress to report, I hope you can stay warm and dry, and enjoy some Iowa spring.  My spring bulbs are poking through the soil (and the leaves that I haven't cleared away yet).  I see buds breaking on the trees. There is the hope of spring soon, even if it was temporarily put on pause.

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