Tree Farms

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As you drive through rural North Carolina, your first impression is that you are driving through native forests, but then you see something strange. From certain angles as you speed by, you realize all those trees are in rows! Tree farming apparently a huge business in this area!

It takes around 50 years for these pine trees to reach maturity. Talk about planning for the next generation! There are small financial incentives that produce income on a yearly basis such as CRP programs and the sale of pine needle straw, but the big payoff is rarely seen by the person who planted the trees to begin with.

On the way out to New Bern, there are fields in every stage of tree development. I thought you might want to see them.

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This is a young tree farm. It is amazing that any of them grow with all the weeds around them. But there are lots out there!

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As the trees start to mature (around 30 years) They drop their lower branches, making straight logs that logging companies love.

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At around 50 years they are 80 – 100 ft tall with needles only at the very top.

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The rows are then cut. The logs are hauled away and the tops are left on the ground.

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I am not 100% sure of the time frame, but it looks to me like they let the tops decay a bit and then plant new trees among the old tops.

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And the cycle starts again.

Do you have tree farms where you live? What types of trees are grown there?

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

South Dakota Agriculture

Grampa Tom has been wanting me to tell you about the land and agricultural practices here near Onida, SD.

The dirt here is very similar to what we are used to back home, only with small mountains in between large expanses of rich soil.

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The hills and flat lands were formed by glaciers. To farm this ground, the folks here have had to clear a lot of boulders from their fields. It’s not unusual to see a pile of boulders in the corner’s of fields and every now and then, they just have to farm around one.

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Until 30 years ago, very little of this land was farmed. Lack of rain and the short growing season made it unsuitable for much but cattle and wheat. Even then it was common practice to fallow the wheat fields every other year. But recently, geneticists have developed short season corn, wheat and sunflower varieties that are drought tolerant, allowing farmers here to plant much more grain.

You can see in this picture that the density of the corn crop is much lower than what you typically see in the corn belt. When I saw a field that was planted late, it was so sparse that I thought there was something wrong with it, but Grampa Tom says they do that on purpose here to help each plant get the sun and the water that it needs.

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They can’t get the yield that we do back home, but these new genetics help these farmers to have more diverse operations which helps cash flow. And that’s a good thing 🙂

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue