Snirt lies on the ground

A lot of weird-looking brown crust is on top of the snow. It's topsoil blown in from Texas and New Mexico -- called snirt. 

Fire, snow and rain are the highlights of the past two weeks. It’s difficult to imagine now, but it actually became dry enough to burn our goat prairie. Goat prairies are somewhat unique to our area; it’s one of the few places they exist. They are steep sun-facing dry hillsides in unglaciated regions. Managing and restoring them includes doing prescribed burns. My neighbor fires my prairie when he does his own. I follow by burning some scrub areas along my fields.

Besides the occasional manure spreader, I saw one farmer working a field as I passed through Grant County in the far southwest corner of the state. The day after that we received 10.5 inches of snow with a lot of weird-looking brown crust on top of the snow. It was topsoil blown in from Texas and New Mexico. Normally we don’t see snirt in our valley; it’s a stark reminder of how we all should be doing the best we can to preserve our precious topsoil from the ravages of wind erosion. Since then we’ve had almost 3 inches of rain. There isn’t much snow left.

I did what farmers all over do when the weather is bad; I went to an auction. An elderly farmer died leaving behind a nice tractor collection and two new Case IH Magnums. It was interesting to look over the equipment he had. My wife’s been wanting something smaller to cut weeds around the farm so I bid on a Ford 601. The deal we have is that she gets a sewing machine for every tractor I have. But since she bought this one, I guess I’ll be getting a sewing machine.

Wade Bulman owns and operates a small farm of 236 acres in the west-central Driftless Area Region of western Wisconsin. He primarily grows cash grain crops, but has a small cow-calf herd and finishes his steers.