As we mentioned in our last post about chipping potato harvest getting underway, grain harvest is still going on. Though we started grain harvest around Malin and have worked through a gigantic organic barley field on the Lower Klamath refuge, we’ve moved our combines down to the Running Y Ranch to harvest the wheat we planted there.
Though we’re proud of our chipping potatoes, raising grain is a major factor of our farming operation. When Bill and John got together all those years ago, they focused on raising wheat, which is evident when you see the grain fields we’ve planted around the Klamath Basin. To get some perspective on the impact of raising grain on our farm, and since our harvesters and focus is on the Running Y, let’s take a quick look at how much grain we planted there. Out of the total acres we’re farming there, almost 67% of the ground is under wheat. Now compare that to the other crops, we have 12% of the ground in chipping potatoes and almost 10% of it in alfalfa. And in case you’re curious, we’ve dedicated almost 6% of the farm ground on the Running Y to the Walking Wetlands. What is the percentage of acres in production that are organically farmed? 16.81%.
Why so much grain? For starters, grain is a good market to be in, and John and Bill have been raising grain in the Klamath Basin since 1975. Grain farming is also a part of our sustainable farming plan. Potatoes take a lot of “power” out of the soil. By rotating grain and alfalfa crops into fields that have either just been in spuds are or going into potatoes, we’re able to add organic material, nitrogen and other essential elements back into the ground. This makes it so we rely less on fertilizer, which is better for the environment, for the soil itself and for our operating line.
With that in mind, while we’re excited about potato harvest, we have to remember how important grain harvest is to our farm as well. Let’s hope the skies stay blue, the grain continues to ripen nicely and we get the crop into storage safely. Here’s to heavy yields!