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We had some pretty good weather for Easter egg hunts and outdoor activities this past weekend.

Granted, it was a little breezy and a light coat was almost needed — but it sure beat the rain and even snow that’s been known to show up for Easter.

In Wooster, Ohio — where I’m from — we had sun both days and Saturday in particular was a dandy. Most of the people in my family are beyond the egg-hunting age, but a few of my cousins’ children took advantage of the nice weather through a game of outdoor hide-and-seek.

Field work

As I drove to family get-togethers, I saw what looked like a significant amount of field work already done or in progress. The ground on top was dry, and if we miss the 20-40 percent chance of precipitation this week, the ground in my county will continue to dry up — maybe even too much so.

It looks like the Amish also are off to a good start. They usually start plowing earlier than others because their horse-drawn equipment is lighter and they can get in the fields earlier. And, they need a certain amount of moisture in the soil to keep the plow in the ground and to get a good result.

My brother finished plowing both of his gardens this weekend — partly because of the dry-down that we’re experiencing. He uses a one-bottom plow attached to a Farmall Cub, and if the ground gets too dry, it makes the tractor work too much and in hard clay, the plow can bounce out of the ground.

There is a good bit of no-till done in Wayne and Holmes counties, but there are also many farmers here who still use moldboard plows and chisel plows.

Good start

Most of the recently plowed ground won’t be planted for at least another couple weeks yet, but it sure is nice to have the start that we do. Especially when you think back to last year and the record wet spring — when guys who ‘wanted’ to do tillage were forced to go with no-till or minimum tillage because it rained nearly every day of the month.

Having the ground tilled early is beneficial in other ways, too. It allows some of the corn fodder and stubble residue to be chopped and mixed into the soil, and if we get a few rains on top of that, it will help it to rot faster.

The rain also helps break down clods of tilled soil, as long as we don’t get so much as to wash the soil away or cause flooding and compaction.

Planting

I’m anxious to see some of this tilled ground get planted, before it has much of a chance to wash out and erode. And I’m sure farmers are, as well.

But it sure is nice to be ahead of the game — at least for now — and to have some sun in the forecast.

I look forward to reading today’s U.S. Department of Agriculture crop progress report to see just how much field work is started, because I think it’s going to be fairly high.

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties.
Chris Kick
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