By Andrew Meier, Superintendent, Cherry Research Farm
The Farm crew has been busy during the past month! They have been working with university faculty and other volunteers to prune the Loblollys and some Longleaf pines in the agroforestry plots. The winter season always includes general cleanup and maintenance of our equipment, buildings and facility, and they have been doing a great job.
The month of January provided about 2.33 inches of rain, making it sloppy to work outside. On these wet days, the Farm crew works on getting our tillage and planting equipment prepared for a fast-approaching Spring season. Brent has been very busy the past few months maintaining our tree lines and ditches. Marvin, Matt and Todd can’t wait for the weather to warm so they can get to the fields. Ivy has been hard at work getting seed, fertility and other supplies purchased for the upcoming season as well as developing a crop plan. Everett has spent the last month re-mapping all of our field boundaries on the station. These maps will provide data that allow us to go back to the exact same boundaries within an inch of where they were originally mapped, year after year. This level of accuracy is critical for high-quality research.
The Dairy Unit has completed calving. Since October 2012, 125 Moms have had babies — 65 males and 60 females. The dairy crew is now focusing on getting these animals bred back for next Fall. The dairy crew is also mending fences and constructing new ones for the upcoming grazing season. Both the cows and the staff are looking forward to fresh grass. Apprentice Rachael continues to be heavily involved with the calves and the breeding season. Her assistance is much appreciated! Johnnie and Windy are busy keeping it up with it all to make sure everything gets done. Jeffrey, Todd, Billy, Bryan, Larry, Logan and Julie work to see to it that all of the daily chores are done. This includes milking the cows twice a day, feeding the calves, breeding the cows and making sure all of the youngstock are appropriately cared for. We certainly appreciate their efforts!The Livestock crew has been hard at it too. They have been working to construct a 40 x 40 facility to weigh and handle the pigs from the hoop houses. This is long-overdue and much-needed, both for the safety of our pigs as well as our staff. Jason and Brian have been doing a great job! In their free time, they are breeding sows for the upcoming year. The beef herd is currently calving and Mark and Steven have been doing a great job seeing to it that all of the animals are well-cared for. We look forward to hosting several labs with Wayne Community College related to livestock production in the upcoming months. The Goats started having their kids just this past weekend, and Danny and Jim are doing a great job making sure Moms and kids have all they need. Brad and Jason oversee all these operations and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.