The fact is in this day and age I always have my phone with me. I use it to capture moments in time through photos and also with posts on social media. It's fun to share my day and what's going on in my life but I also use it as a type of diary, a way of keeping track of my year in farming.
This year I've become more aware of how social media can also have a down side. Many times I've seen people having to defend themselves from others just wanting conflict. I am not on social media to argue with people over politics or how we grow our crops and have realized that it is nearly impossible to change someones outlook unless you are talking to them face to face. I try to be as positive as possible on twitter and have fun, there is enough negativity in the world without having to see it in your timeline.
Over the last few years I've been able to connect with many farmers over Twitter and had the opportunity to meet many in person. Sometimes IRL (in real life) they far exceed what you would hope they would be. Sometimes you are way more excited to meet them then they seem to be to meet you. But thankfully most fit into the first category. It's broadened my circle of people who I can bounce ideas off and learn from. It's great when you have a question and people honestly want to help you. I think in the past farmers were protective of ideas and were more competitive with each other. But now with the world at your finger tips more and more of us have come to realize that we don't need to compete with each other but rather rising water raises all ships and through sharing knowledge we make our whole industry better.
Now onto Rumsey Soybeans. Rain was a huge factor or more like the lack there of as you can see from my Monday posts. I realize many areas were far worse off but the fact is in my area that it did lower yields. This is my third year of growing this new crop and every year I learn something new. I'm getting a better handle on weed control. I'm slowly finding out what varieties work the best for me. I'm also starting to figure out what I'm going to need for yields to make this financially sustainable. Long term I can see Soybeans becoming a regular part of our rotation in Central Alberta but for now it's still in it's infancy and varieties need to adapt to our cooler and sometimes dryer climate.
So every Monday or so I'd post precipitation as well as Heat Units since the Seeding date. It's a great reference to compare year to year numbers and different highlights over the growing season.
I use these as a reference to the previous years to compare the development as well as a way to remember timing of spray applications.
Overall I was happy with the results this year. My yield was in the low 20's but the crop came off quite early and dry. I'm growing them for at least 2 more years so I'll have 5 years of experience and will be able to make an educated decision whether to continue or not. I have no doubt that eventually Soybeans will be grown in many non traditional areas all across Canada as new varieties come out. I wished yields could have been in the 30's but as with anything new there can be growing pains. My other crops were all about average yields this year which surprised me considering around 6" total rainfall. Residual moisture in the sub soil from last year payed dividends and hopefully we get some late fall and early spring moisture to replenish what we pulled out.
From spring to fall I come across times when I just need to take a photo so I can enjoy it for more then just a second. These moments normally would be enjoyed by just me. I spend most of my days by myself on the farm so twitter has become a way to share the amazing things in my days with others.
This year I was able to attend different farm events that I normally wouldn't have the opportunity to. It was fun to see many familiar faces as well as to make many new friends.
CropSphere in Saskatoon
FarmTech in Edmonton
CanolaPalooza in Lacombe
Meet in the Middle in Olds
Getting to meet a fun group of Italian farmers and tour them around my farm this fall
So even though it obviously can have its ups and downs, Twitter has become a valued resource on my farm. Having access to the combined knowledge of my peers has helped me many times. I've learned new ways to do things from many others that I use daily. I also found it to be a good tool to capture and store data on my farm for future reference.
It has become a vehicle of sharing and helped me to make many new friends that never would have been possible if it weren't for those crazy hashtags and 140 characters.