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Planting Good Seeds Important for Both Soil, Children

by David Hochstetler

Published: Friday, April 19, 2019

Grazing in Michiana

Spring is here to stay. Ahh, how good it feels to go outside in the warm sunshine! The soil is warming up. The new alfalfa seedings have already sprouted. The perennials that laid dormant all winter have turned green again. Again, there is new hope, a new season, new life springing up from the soil.

A comparison with the crucifixion, the resurrection and the new birth in Jesus Christ. Giving each and everyone a renewed life, a living hope, redemption for all our shortcomings. We hope and pray with God's help we can live a more thankful life throughout the rest of the year.

Every year, I have a tendency to think maybe this year will be better. Maybe it will be a little more profitable. Yes, we do need to be profitable, but maybe I need to rethink my priorities. If I look back into the past, I can see and count more blessings than I deserve. These are blessings I had taken for granted.

As we plant the best perennial seeds in the soil, let's also remember to plant good seeds into our children and grandchildren so they can grow and serve our Creator for generations to come.

As I walk the fields, I come across some large bare spots that were caused by flooding from last year's abundance of rain. It doesn't seem quite fair. The Canadian thistle and quackgrass don't seem to be affected by the flooding.

Crop rotation, even without herbicides, will do wonders with those weeds and also Kentucky 31.

As I walk down the cow lanes, my mind goes back to the spring when we first moved to this farm. It was also a wet year. The cow lanes had quite a few low areas, with lots of mud. We did not have money to spend on gravel, so we had to look for an alternative.

We had a small tractor and blade. Every time it rained a little, we graded and graded to soften the ground, then graded some more. Finally, by fall I had about a 12-inch crown in the center of the lane for the cows to walk on. That held up quite well, until we could afford to add gravel.

We have a high-tensile hot wire running along the outside of the posts of our main cow lane. I will call this our feed wire. Then we connect each individual field to that feed wire. We also have a cutoff switch by each field. If we don't have the cows in a certain field we can shut off the charge going to each individual field.

When buying a fence charger, it is always a wise idea to oversize about one-third to one-half of what you think you really need. You will always have vegetation or something else that will cause minor shorts along the fence. Fence chargers are a lot cheaper than bloated cows that got through the fence. A fault finder is a must on livestock farms.

Horses will respect lower voltage. But cattle won't. If the voltage is under 4,000 volts I get uneasy. If it drops under 2,000 volts, I don't sleep well. It simply won't stop cattle from going through.

Also check all polywire, old or new, at the far end, to make sure the charge is coming through all the way to the end. Those small wires could easily be broken. Having owned an electric fence supply store, in the past, I discovered not all polywires are created equal.

When walking the farm, it is always a good idea to carry a fault finer, insulated pliers and a shovel. A shovel or spade comes in handy to dig out the bull thistles, the mulberry sprouts and the multiflora roses located along the hot wire. If you simply cannot find a short along the fence, check for a faulty insulator, and check your grounding system.

On a medium or larger system, you will need a minimum of three 8-foot ground rods. You may need to add more if you have gravel-type soils.

Always use top quality insulators when building electric fence.

If you have a solar system, always be aware of how many cloudy days we are having in a row. Sometimes there's just not enough sunshine to get us through the cloudy days. Or your solar system could be too small.

A lightning arrester is also very important. If you have a fence charger in a building, lightning can follow the wire all the way to the building. Without a lightning arrester it will damage the charger, and possibly other things that are connected to it, in the building.

If installed properly, electric fence works amazingly well. Just think what life would be like for a livestock farmer without electric fence! How did our ancestors survive without it!?

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