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Crop Watcher

Commitment to livestock doesn't stop for wedding bells

Mallory Carlson and Ryan Vos

Mallory Carlson and Ryan Vos are planning their farming future as a married couple.

One of the biggest differences between livestock farming and many other professions is the degree of commitment to the day-to-day work.

Every day, when it’s time to wake up, there are animals to think about. Every night, before going to sleep, there are animals to think about.

The commitment to animal husbandry is part of what makes farming a way of life.

As livestock farmers, Ryan Vos and his fiancé Mallory Carlson don’t let chores or work get the better of them. The Slayton, Minnesota farmers both had livestock all their lives, and they are aware of the commitment.

The livestock chores won’t stop when the couple makes a commitment of a lifetime. The two will wed July 23.

A little over a week before they take their vows, Ryan will be loading up the last of the finishing hogs from his hog barn. He’ll hire a crew to come in and wash the barn down. Five days before the wedding, a new group of nursery pigs will be brought to the barn.

The transition can sometimes be challenging for the young pigs, so he’ll hire someone to help for a few days.

The pigs, though, remain his responsibility.

Ryan gave his report July 2 – well ahead of the big day.

Murray County needed rain, and a hot stretch in mid-June stressed the crops. The crops were still doing well, but it was time for rain.

“We’re dry, but it comes down to the corn rooting itself down,” he said. “We’re not sitting horrible yet, but right now we could really use a shot of rain. We need about two inches of rain, honestly.”

It’s been a windy summer, but there had been no damage at the Voses.

The most positive factors of the season are growing degree units and adequate sunshine. At the Southwest Research & Outreach Center, located about 40 miles from the Vos farm, growing degrees were 932 units July 2. That was in line with the historic average of 913 growing degree day units.

“We’ve been getting growing degree units at night, too, when it stays above 75 degrees,” he said. “We’re getting plenty of heat, but if we could get a little bit of rain right now – we’d have the best crop ever.”

Rainfall at the Lamberton station for May 1 through July 2 totaled 5 inches – 2.68 inches below the historic average of 7.68 inches by July 2. The research center noted there was no available soil water in the top 0-6 inches of soil, with about an inch of rain available from 6-24 inches. Soil moisture reserves remained at the 24-60-inch depths.

There were no real concerns for the corn or soybeans. The Voses had their soybeans commercially sprayed with herbicide.

“As far as stages, we are all over the board,” Ryan said. “We’ve got corn that’s five days away from shooting tassels, and we also have corn that is just barely getting started. All the corn is a decent height, but every stage you can think of is where we’re at.”

The Voses were baling road ditch hay, but they had quite a lot of harvest yet.

“We don’t like to start too early because of the nesting pheasants,” he said. “We like to be mindful of that.”

He was amazed by the variability in road ditch grass quantity. Some ditches had much more grass than usual, other ditches had much less.

The Voses hadn’t made any second cuttings of their alfalfa/grass mix, although some neighbors were chopping the second cutting for haylage.

Out in the feedlot, the cattle made it through a very hot stretch with temperatures over 90 degrees. The next load of cattle was shipping out in early July.

There were 890 finishing pigs in the hog barn as of July 2, and another load was going out July 7.

“I get baby pigs in on July 18. I’m going to have to hire someone to come in for a couple days,” he said. “That’s OK – it’s part of doing business.”

Ryan Voss is a fifth generation on his Slayton, Minnesota farm, raising corn, soybeans, alfalfa, Black Angus cattle and swine with his dad, Dale, and brother, Kyle. He is also a morning show host on KJOE country radio. 

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