Here are a few visitors to the wheat field--sandhill cranes, one of my favorite birds. They come to the farm in the fall and spend the winter with us before heading back to Canada and Alaska in the spring. They are huge birds, standing 4-5 feet tall, with 6 foot wingspans. They like to dig around in soft soil looking for invertebrates to eat. I usually don't worry about them in the fallow rice fields, but I'm a little concerned about them in my young wheat field. When the plants are small like this, it doesn't take much to uproot them. It's a tough transition to suddenly think of my winter friends as a pest!
The wheat crop has been in the ground for a couple weeks now, and even though we haven't had any rain at all, there was enough residual moisture in the soil to sprout much of it. The concern now is if there is enough moisture in the ground to keep it going until it does rain. We've had a very dry fall, and I saw several wheat fields being irrigated last week. I'd rather not have to turn on the pump, because organic wheat planted in an old conventional rice field isn't likely to have a huge yield, and I need to watch my costs very closely. Pray for rain!