soybean field

Richard Wilkins, Greenwood, Delaware


Farm: Richard farms 400 acres of soybeans annually with his wife, Donna, and nephew, Christopher. In addition, he produces 400 acres of corn, 250 acres of wheat, 100 acres of barley, 200 acres of vegetables, 250 acres of hay and raises 150 head of beef cattle. Richard is treasurer of the ASA.
Richard Wilkins:
Rain on Tuesday forced us inside to catch up on some much-needed equipment maintenance. We always have the typical challenges of equipment breakdowns – no matter how good of a job you do of going over it; you’re always going to have some type of a breakdown.
One management decision we’ve made this week is to interseed a perennial grass mixture for hay into a field that had been planted with a winter forage crop. (To “interseed” means to plant a different type of seed into an already planted field.) We didn’t have a very good stand in that field after this harsh winter. That field originally would have been intended for just a single-cut harvest of hay, but now by interseeding the perennial mix into it, that field will be in grass hay for the next 3-4 years.
We’ve put in our planting of peas since we grow vegetable crops in addition to the green crops, and now we’re spreading fertilizer, which is poultry manure, and getting it incorporated into the soil. Our goals for the week would be to get the corn planter ready and to get close to having all of our poultry litter spread and incorporated.
The utilization of poultry manure litter as our primary source of fertilizer is a very sustainable farming practice because we’re using an organic source of nutrients that binds itself more closely to soil particles for a slow release of nitrogen, which helps to improve our water quality and adds organic matter to the soil.
As I look ahead to planting, I want to tell our international customers that we are certainly doing the best we can to make the plans and preparations to produce another bountiful harvest of soybeans for them.