If you visit Cherry Farms near Greenfield during harvest, operated by Jim Cherry and sons Chris and Jeff, you will find perhaps three operations going on in the field at the same time. But one of them won't necessarily be tillage.
You will find Jim running the combine. And depending upon field conditions, you may find someone driving a tractor with a grain cart, catching him on-the-go once his hopper gets full, all part of keeping harvest flowing as efficiently as possible. The cart then dumps into a waiting semi at the end of the field, off the field and on the grass if possible.
So what's the third operation going on at the same time the combine is in the field? It's a tractor pulling a rotary cutter. "We like to have it in the field right behind the combine," Chris says. "Our goal is to clean up fence rows and waterways, or whatever we might have, as we go."
When the combine leaves the field, the fence rows should be trimmed up in good condition as well. One tractor, a rotary mower, and an employee is dedicated to this job. For that employee, cleaning up the field by mowing fence rows after harvest is job number one, Chris says. He enjoys telling his employee who runs the mower how nice things look after he has done his portion of the harvest operation.
How do you make money paying someone and paying the fuel for mowing fence rows at the end of the season, as soon as the combine leaves, often while it's still in the same field where the fence rows are being mowed? If you understand relationships with landowners and stewardship, experts believe it makes good sense.
One could also make the case that mowing down weeds is always a good thing to do at any time of the year. But in this case, it's more about making sure landowners are pleased and satisfied with the job that's done on their land. Mowing the fence rows after harvest says 'I care about your land' in its own way.
It may be a little thing, and perhaps some appreciate it more than others, but it's standard operating procedures on farms like Cherry Farms near Greenfield.