SEGMENT: FARMING METHODS, LOSS OF FARM, & REFLECTIONS
Karl Boekenhauer>NIU Collection>NIU Collection, Segment 4
- Arranged work so 1-2 wk vacation after threshing. Neighbor boy hired to do farm chores (care for livestock & chickens). Went to different places including Sister Bay, northern WI & other places within 500 miles.
- Had a flock of 500 laying hens. "Egg-man" came around twice a wk & picked up eggs. Karl notes that some farmers with many fewer laying hens took their eggs to local grocery store usually on Saturdays & traded eggs for groceries.
- Some grain sold. Corn & oats were cheap. Corn was $.15/bushel, but necessities were cheap also, e.g., gas was 5gal/$. Sold excess grain (that not fed to livestock or used as seed for next year's planting) at local elevator & paid by the bushel.
- FARMING METHODS
- Started out with two-row planter pulled by horses. Corn cultivation was planted & cultivated in a "checked" pattern (42" x 42"). Did about 4-5 cultivations to kill weeds. Planted about 12k plants/acre. By narrowing (20") rows & abandoning checked planting & cultivation of corn farmers got 20-22k plants/acre.
- Pesticide use not as common as today. Remembers corn borer but not solution Diseases not as great in past. Continuous corn planting has probably increased disease problems.
- "Farming was part of me." Started farming because he liked the challenge & independence better than teaching. He quit his college education to start farming
- LOSS OF FARM
- Karl quit in 1952. "The banker helped….." change his mind about farming.
- LAND ACQUISITION
- Karl started out renting land & later bought 80 acre farm (at $100/acre) from uncle who did not have sons (but wanted farm to stay in family). Paid uncle on installments of $25/ month.
- LOSS OF FARM
- Economics & poor management forced him out. When he was in egg business eggs were cheap. When raised hogs, hogs were cheap (sold for $3.5). When was in dairy business milk sold for $2.5.
- TENANT FARMING
- Considered expanding. Did work 3 farms, on crop share farming arrangement in which landowner was paid with 50% of profits, before quitting, but expansion did not improve profitability.
- CROP ROTATION
- 240 acre farm would have 4 60 acre fields; rotation would be 3 yrs of corn then year of oats then year of pasture or hay.