Photo #1 — Knee-deep in clover (this happens to be Alfalfa) Glenn Frozene is a proud and happy farmer since investing in the huge irrigation system seen in the background. The self- propelled machine can add an inch of water evenly over 150 acres or more in just over 3 days of continuous operation. Photo #2 — And, here's another source of "miracle production", in this central Wisconsin area, there's almost never enough rain to bring the crops through profitably. Water makes the difference between about 75 and 150 bushels of shelled corn per acre. And, keep in mind, a good share of that extra production is profit. BIG FARM OUT OF A LITTLE ONE by E. R. Minser Certain parts of agricultural America are right now enjoying production boons the likes of which farmers have never seen before. And, it's happening on soils that don't even measure up' to high average on anybody's measuring stick. Corn yields are being doubled or better. Alfalfa tonnages are being at least tripled. Vegetable crops are yielding better and of higher quality than ever before. The answer — WATER. There are areas in the northern extremes of the Gornbelt that are out-producing their fellow farmers in "perfect" corn growing areas like Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. These Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota producers have found the proverbial "equalizer" in plain old H 2 O. In order to find out just how much irrigation can mean to a farmer, we went up into the central Wisconsin community of Stevens Point. We visited at length with Glenn Frozene, a good Wisconsin dairyman who recently invested heavily in a self-propelled irrigation system. Glenn is one farmer who knows that each dollar invested in fertilizer will return him $4.00 or $5.00 — if he can get water to it. In past years his only limiting element in the entire operation was water. 1967 was to be his year. Son Larry was 18. He wanted to farm. © 1968 RURAL GRAVURE Some consideration was given to purchasing another farm to solve the problem. But was that the best solution ? Taxes were high and on the increase, insurance costs run high, initial investment was still another factor — not to mention probably new and biggest equipment for covering more ground. Glenn doubted that another farm was the answer. He and his wife, Dorothy, had heard of a self-propelled irrigating system that would take care of 150 acres of any and every crop — automatically. This sounded more like the answer. The area has long required irrigation to get any sort of profitable production, but it took lots of costly labor to be continually running to the field to move the pipes to a new location. Glenn Frozene sat down and did some figuring. He concluded that if he went to narrower rows, planted his corn heavier and fertilized stronger than recommendations, he could more than double his yields — with irrigation. Today if you go to Glenn Frozene's farm (and you're always welcome), you'll most likely see his irrigation system stretching out for 13 hundred feet delivering 11 hundred gallons of water per minute to his field crops. ~ An underground "river" gives him all the water he needs to keep the system going around the clock if he elects to keep it on. "The logic of going to self-propelled irrigation and doing a better job with what we have is paying off," said the "System"- atic farmer. "It used to be that 75 bushel corn was the absolute top yield around here. I have never in all my life seen such good corn and so much of it as I have out there in the field right now. It ought to make better than 150 bushels per acre without any problems," he continued. Frozene went on to say that corn ensilage tonnage should about triple and, without a doubt, his all important hay tonnage will be three times as great. "Usually spring rains bring on a good first cutting of alfalfa, but the second cutting, under dryland conditions, is usually questionable. Now, with irrigation, we should always get three cuttings and maybe four," he said. "It's absolutely fantastic. I can sow new alfalfa in the spring and get a couple of tons per acre that same year," he volunteered with some enthusiasm. Glenn Frozene hosted the 1966 Wisconsin Farm Progress Show. About 100-thousand farmers came to "the show" and got a glimpse of his pushbutton feeding operation. His dairy operation permits a milking string of 30 cows. In addition, he feeds out some beef. Three large silos are kept fuller than they ever were before with vastly more haylage and silage being produced. A pushbutton system permits him to mix. the ration he selects from his silos and a bulk feed tank. Yes, Glenn Frozene, Grand Marsh, Wisconsin has found a way to make farming easier and a lot more profitable. "Even better than that, I've found a way to take the year to year weather variations out of the operation. I can now plant, fertilize and irrigate to get a maximum production every year," he said. "I get far more mileage out of my land. This is a simple family farm — not a corporation. I sort of think this might be the move that can make the family farm stable and practical again." Corn population ranges from 20 to 28-thousand plants per acre in 30" rows. Since he can control virtually everything but the sunlight, Frozene is experimenting with going the limit. A buried electric cable takes the juice to the hard working pump that delivers water through the line of sprinklers that measures a quarter of a mile in length. The system walks itself around the 160 acres of the farm without any help whatsoever. It takes about three days to make the trip (one revolution) and deposits over 1 inch of water on the entire area. "Only bad thing —it brings the alfalfa along so fast that it seems like you're making hay all the time. It's so efficient it'll work you to death keeping up with the crop," he said. On unirrigated land, a 38-day recovery to the next cutting of hay is considered great. He has been getting deep lush growth in early bloom in 33 days. "I think it's just this simple," said the inspired Wisconsin fann- er, "we made a substantial but sound investment in automatic irrigation and made A BIG FARM OUT OF A LITTLE ONE— without buying any more land."
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