ABOUT THE RANCH
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Growing Grain at Horseshoe Bend Ranch:
Currently we lease our grain growing land to a 3rd party farmer with a crop-sharing arrangement. We grow dry-land winter wheat on about 200 crop acres per year. Wheat is a crop which is planted only every-other year in our dryland conditions. One year is a crop year. Following harvest in July or August, the stubble is plowed under. The soil is lightly cultivated through the following year to keep weeds from growing and taking precious moisture. That fall the new crop is planted. It sprouts and grows to about 6" tall before winter comes. It overwinters under the snow and ice, and grows until harvest the next summer.
Harvesting the Wheat crop. The stubble is cut high for straw.
We use conventional tillage for wheat but are experimenting with no-till solutions. No-Till uses much less fuel and causes less compaction of the land and less opportunity for wind or water erosion of the soil. However, it comes at the cost of reduced yeild and more use of chemicals, which are necessary to kill weeds that will otherwise overwhelm a wheat crop.
The chaff goes out the back of the combine and the grain is stored inside
Wheat stubble is great bird habitat, and deer love to graze it for fallen grains. Winter wheat is fantastic for deer over winter - they graze it all winter long causing minimal damage.
A portion of our wheat stubble is used to make straw which we sell and use ourselves for animal bedding and erosion control.
The variety of wheat we grow mostly ends up being exported to Asia to be made into noodles - some of the best noodles in the world!
Every trip or two around the field it is necessary to stop and unload the stored wheat into trailers for the trip to the elevator in town.