This is my dad, feeding cattle quick, mostly likely before going back to plow.
I learned so much from my dad, the late Kenneth Ficke. But, just as my son Austin Ficke could attest to as well, sons learn what not to do from their dads too.
All summer long, in 1976, I watched my dad fight a field of sweet clover that had made its way through wheat stubble. Every day, all summer, he would go to the field and try to plow some of it. It would get eight to 10 feet tall. He would plow and plow as much as he could get through without going crazy.
The plow, of course, would plug constantly. It was a John Deere 4430 tractor pulling a John Deere four-bottom plow that dad borrowed from his friend, the late Chet Shaw. We didn’t have a tractor with a cab and Chet didn’t want dad out there in all that growth.
Finally dad couldn’t take it anymore and neither could the plow and neither could I watching him. So, dad ended up killing the clover with some chemicals. Then we put it into milo the next spring and finally back to grass.
That old John Deere plow just may still be in Chet’s shed. Oh, and another part of the story, after fighting that clover all summer with the John Deere plow, Chet had heard an Oliver plow was better. So my dad ended up actually buying an Oliver instead. Maybe he wanted to erase all the memories of his battle of 1976. I can’t be sure though.
What I can be sure of is now I have allowed that field of sweet clover to come back. I seeded some clover in the same spot on the old “battlefield” but a lot of the clover is left from those early days on the farm. Now I have my Graze Master herd go out there and eat the clover and tromp it down. What was basically my dad’s battlefield and then a brome and alfalfa pasture is now a diverse mix of forage for my cattle and healthy nutrition for the soil.
Ultra-High-Density-Grazing (UHDG) practices are healing the land, never to be battled with an old plow again – just happy, grazing cattle over a field of memories. I think my dad would be happy about that too.
Yes, my dad taught me far more from his many successes. This particular battle he taught me a lot about how sometimes we can leave well enough alone.
Love you dad!
This is where Kenneth's Battle of 1976 took place. In bloom, with the plow at rest.
Pictured is a portion of the Graze Master Herd grazing in a paddock that has been inter-seeded with clover. This is a snapshot of the ultra-high-density-grazing we are conducting at Ficke Cattle Company.
Drilling in Savings! By Nate Belcher
Now is a great time to think about drilling in warm season cover crops.
Warm season cover crops are great for forage, building a healthy soil profile, retaining water in your fields and providing fertility.
Examples of great warm season options:
All these crops would be great winter kill crops, dying naturally, so that you would need no chemicals and would be ready to get the drill going for spring planting! Cover crops are also beneficial whether you have livestock to graze or not.
Green Acres Cover Crops and partner Ficke Cattle Company – Graze Master Genetics™ works as a team to provide you with a full-circle approach to cropping and livestock systems.
Cover crops are an added monetary value to your farm or ranch.
They reduce fertilizer input costs.
They add a web of nutrition above ground and below ground for complete soil health.
They provide feed and forage for livestock.
They help retain water within the soil structure of your field and pastures.
They protect the soil and your pocketbook.
And so much more . . .
Seeds included above are only a portion of what we offer.
Call us for your seed needs, seed pricing and place your seed order today!
The Green Acres Cover Crops Dryland Research Farm is located at Ficke Cattle Company: 873 182nd Road
Pleasant Dale, NE Call (402) 499-0329 to schedule a tour. Planting into high residue, retaining moisture and money in the pocketbook.
This year, the first cutting of alfalfa hay was the best ever on 21 acres at Ficke Cattle Company. The 21 acres produced 4.76 bales per acre at 1,600 pounds each. That is, conservatively, approximately 3.8 tons/acre. We are thanking God and shooting for multiple cuttings.
The celebratory “alfalfa hay” first cutting also included cereal rye, hairy vetch, Austrian winter peas, red clover, sweet clover and wheat planted November 8, 2015. We applied no synthetic inputs. One application of all-natural Pro-Soil, a foliar micronutrient, was added to this crop at a rate of one pint/acre last summer. Pro-Soil provides natural food for both the soil biology and micronutrients for the plant itself. We will be applying Pro-Soil to these acres next year as well.
We also know our increased bee population, thanks to our Russian immigrant friend and his son, has strongly impacted our yields. Compared to last year’s good crop it is 20 percent more and last year was very good.
Contact Nate Belcher at (402) 580-0015 or Del Ficke, at (402) 499-0329 if you would like to explore your Green Acres Cover Crops seed options and learn about Pro-Soil products today.
Good things “Turnin’ Up”
These are turnips that were flown on in the fall. At that time, there was not enough moisture to germinate. This spring they did germinate so last fall’s “failure” turned into this year’s success.
The turnips were terminated and the field was then planted to milo. Since the turnips grew this spring, they really provided a mellow seed bed to plant the milo into. The turnips prevented soil crusting and helped retain water.
Wild roses have sprung up where we've allowed nature to do its best work.
We're wild about these roses and about the potential of the future of farming and rural communities . . . Working together, we know we can better care for our neighbors, the land, livestock and water.
Consider going wild about the possibilities and stop by or give us a call!