Carlyon Family Blog

From Farm to Field May 22, 2015 10:33

Hello readers.

I am Briana, the youngest of the three daughters at Triple Lyoness Farm. I've taken two years of University Transfer at Lakeland College while playing a mixture of basketball and some soccer. I am currently living at home for the summer while working for Crop Production Services in Westlock, as a crop scout and occasional operations support. I do not necessarily pay rent, but I do provide labour for the farm. Most of our current work is focused on moving cattle around in preparation for summer pasture rotation.

We use pasture rotation to lessen the affects of the cattle upon the grass and give it time for regrowth. We constantly are checking fences and water systems. Our solar water systems pump water into troughs away from the dugout, so that the cattle are not disrupting the riparian ecosystems of the water body. Most access to water on our farm is fenced off to reduce the livestock's impact. Manure and pasture runoff can cause an increase of nutrients in the water which leads to unwanted algae and plant growth. To reduce nutrient runoff from the pastures, we pile manure and bedding for it to dry out and then after spring run-off, we spread it as 'recycled fertilizer' on our pastures. By doing this, we can lower our costs of production because we don't need to buy as much fertilizer from our local retailer. Maintaining fences and watering systems while the cattle are on pasture rotation always keeps us busy throughout the summer.

(Male Mallard duck that I photographed Thursday evening on our home dugout)

As a crop scout for CPS, I have training for weed, disease, and insect identification  and crop staging. This covers all weeds of Alberta, and some found in other areas of North America. A dry year, like this spring has been will help with disease and weed control. In the Westlock area, farmers are growing cereals, pulses, hay, and canola. Cereals can mean wheat, oats, rye, or barley, while pulses are chickpeas, faba beans, and hay fields with alfalfa, grasses, and clover. My knowledge of weeds is useful on the farm because there are many plants that are harmful if they are eaten. Also, knowing whether the amount of weeds is putting too much pressure on the grass that the cattle require to graze.

I am reading up on how many of the plants that we commonly know as weeds are edible for humans. Look for my next blog to find out which plants are edible in your backyard.

Til next time, happy growing!