The Farmer’s Corner

Spring 2019: The Crop Map

 

Farm Manager Eddie Clevenger and Production Manager Jeff Arnold examine the crop map in Eddie’s office as they prepare for a busy season.

Editor’s note: Farmer’s Corner is a photo-essay that spotlights the behind-the-scenes of farming from the grower’s vantage point. For this first feature, we focus on the wall-sized map of the Farm Hub that serves as a blueprint for the growing season. This piece is contributed by Jay Goldmark, field crops production manager. 

“A map of the farm is mounted behind a thin sheet of plexiglass, which, over the course of the winter months, we trace, write, scribble, erase, rewrite, and redraw the crop plan for the coming growing season. Viewed from several steps back, the outline of the farm resembles the shape of a butterfly, wings unfolded, with Wynkoop Road running the length of its abdomen and thorax.

The crop plan is a multi-year living map. For instance, if you look at the right forewing you’ll see in red marker the fields along Route 209 in Hurley, where we plan to grow successions of no-till cover crops to build organic matter, break compaction, and increase nitrogen in the soil for next year’s corn crop. Now look to the other side of the farm, the left hindwing, again outlined in red, where last year’s soybeans fixed nitrogen for a spring wheat variety we will plant called Lang. The crop rotation is rigid and somewhat loose at once. We believe healthy crops follow from healthy soils. Soils that are alive and capable of transforming seeds into plants that feed and nourish the soil.  One day, with spring feeling closer, I find myself peeking at the map again, imagining how the fields, after the snow leaves, will take off.”

–Jay Goldmark, Field Crops Production Manager