Minnesota Farmer

The watcher

Between the rain and the wind it has been hard to get any field work done.  This is prime season for taking care of weeds and last minute fertilizing in corn and soon will be in soybeans here in Minnesota.  After 12 inches of rain in May, we were left with soggy fields and not many days left to get field work done.  A few more rain showers here in June and then some very windy days have further delayed weed control.

Most weed control chemicals used in our area need to be sprayed on in a water mix.  I usually put on about 12 gallons of water per acre to spread the herbicide.  In windy conditions, winds over 15 mph, it is hard to put the herbicide mixture where you want it.  So, windy days mean no weed control.  We have been able to spread some fertilizer and haul last years corn crop into town, that along with planting the last of the soybeans have kept us very busy.

In the process of making those trips across the field you get to assess the soil conditions and weed pressure, you also get to check out what wildlife is out in the field.  Usually I will be seeing mice and ground squirrels along with the birds that are looking for a free meal of a disturbed insect or worm, sometimes a hawk will swoop in for a meal.  Holes dug into the field that are bigger than that needed for a mouse are sometimes found on hilltops that are not too rocky.  I always wonder what is digging and living in those holes.  Last week I got to see one of the residents as she peeked out to watch me.

The red fox is a bit rare in our area.  There are always a few around, but the coyotes will track them down and kill them.  Fewer fox, mean more coyotes, more fox, mean fewer coyotes.  The problem is that they both are depending on those mice and ground squirrels as their main menu item.  Yes, they will take a rabbit or a pheasant if given the chance, and a coyote will take a deer if there is an injured one around, and a sure sign you have coyotes in the area is if your cats are all missing.  Fox and coyotes are in direct competition.

I’ve seen fox on my farm every few years.  I know they must be around, but usually they are secretive creatures who are seldom seen.  Usually if you are to see them it is when they have pups to feed and are spending extra hours out hunting.  I consider them a welcome guest on my farm.  Anything that eats mice and ground squirrels is my friend.



1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

I’ve seen a fox only once, several years ago while driving along a gravel road in the Minnesota River valley bottom between Granite Falls and Morton. They are beautiful creatures and even more so now that I know they eat mice.

Comment by Minnesota Prairie Roots

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: