It’s a great time to look back and reflect upon what happened on the farms in 2014. I like to do this by reviewing the pictures I’ve taken. If you’ve followed this blog there have been a few posts during the year that told parts of the story as seasons and crops progressed, starting with this post from March in Oregon, then this one from April that focused on California scenery, and most recently this one from our Stakeholder Appreciation event in September in Oregon. Now we’ll look at all 6,800 acres in both states from January to December.
We had record snowfall around Corvallis in February, causing many barns in the area to collapse, but the historic loft barn remained standing at A2R Farm.
Mid-April was a lovely time of year and the ladybug on these fava bean blossoms caught my attention. We harvested a good crop of organic fava beans at A2R Farm, which was since sold for cover crop seed.
Sheep and cattle grazed on opposite sides of the fence in this picture from April. We brought the cattle and sheep together at Wattenpaugh Farm (foreground) near Corvallis in May when oats were planted on field in the background.
In mid-May I took a flight above our Oregon farms in an ultralight and captured the greenery at A2R Farm (foreground) and our now-acquired Davis Farm (background).
Many of us are familiar with backyard tomatoes, but it was quite a sight to see hundreds of acres of transplants on our Brentwood Creek Farm in May.
Pasture was at its prime in May and early June. One of Pete and Beth Swanson’s guard dogs enjoyed the forage as much as their sheep did. Pete and Beth run thousands of sheep at Brentwood Creek Farm.
Many of the acres in California grow alfalfa hay that we sell. We manage one of the alfalfa fields organically (certification is scheduled in 2015) and in early June I took a look at one of the prime cuttings. This field at Brentwood Creek Farm was cut for hay five times in 2014!
We held a first-ever Stakeholder Appreciation event in California in early June. Investors, employees, farmers, ranchers and their families shared lunch under tents alongside the fields and toured operations at our Burns and Brentwood Creek farms.
Our excellent corral and scale infrastructure investments at Brentwood Creek Farm are appreciated by our tenants. Animals are weighed periodically to check for rates of gain on our pastures and eventually to calculate the monetary value of grazing.
July in the Willamette Valley means seed harvest. Shown above is Larry Magill getting into a swather to cut the fava bean crop.
Pastured hens enjoyed the spray from the center pivot during a hot spell in July at A2R Farm in Oregon.
My favorite crop of the year was red clover. It was grown under a center pivot at A2R Farm and provided a spectacular 150-acre bloom in August.
Tomatoes began ripening at Burns Farm in California in August.
Many Burns Farm pastures were rich in alfalfa (purple blooms) as we sowed our pasture mix on lightly tilled alfalfa fields. This field was cut for hay soon after this image was captured because the forage grew faster than the livestock could graze it.
I enjoyed the sunset reflecting in an irrigation canal on Burns Farm during a warm summer night in August.
One of the latest crops to be harvested is winter squash. Shown here is a giant variety of organic butternut that will be turned into baby food. It was picked up off the field in November and yielded 17.5 tons per acre.
In the cool of November the grasses thrived again. Laying hens enjoyed an evening foraging at A2R Farm.