2015 was a challenging year in Moldova, with much of the country receiving no rain from early May until October. Crops were typically about 30% of normal, and in many cases, there was no harvest. An unstable economy and political environment only added to the difficulties that most people faced. Continue reading
The no-till planter will be used for at least three farms this year at Dancu, Iabloana and Vadul lui Isac. These farmers have been instructed in the specific requirements for a good result and are eager to proceed.
In April, Leslie Yoder and Herb Graybill, board members with no-till experience, will be in Moldova to supervise the work. Russian language copies of a booklet Steps Toward a Successful Transition to No-Till by Sjoerd Duiker will be given to each farmer.
During the same visit several Level I assistance farmers will be visited to monitor their planting and offer any assistance requested. A credit Union, InvestCredit, has invited ASM to meet with some of their farmer clients to determine possible cooperation.
The May Newsletter will have pictures of the planting.
In the spring of this year two fields of about 5 acres each, both in the northern part of the country, were planted with the no-till planter.
The one at the Iabloana Farm was on a previous barley field. The previous newsletter had pictures of the testing of the planter there.
The one at Baroncea Farm was on a previous corn field.
Both farmers were given detailed instructions on planting, weed killing and care of the plots for the summer.
Unfortunately, the ASM employee who was responsible to monitor the plots and report back to the board regularly was overwhelmed with other responsibilities and did not do his work well.
As the summer progressed we were not receiving periodic reports and pictures but continued to hope that all was going well.
After harvest, two board members, Jim Ranck and Daniel Ness, and a farmer friend of Jim’s went to Moldova to check on the results of the ASM program and the no-till plots in particular. We met major disappointment and frustration.
The good news was that at both sites there was evidence that the planter worked properly, spacing was right and the corn did come up.
The bad news was that at both sites the weeds were not sprayed at the appropriate time and got out of control. At Iabloana the farmer eventually disked the field and left it fallow. At Baroncea the farmer simply abandoned the field and weeds were as high as the stunted corn. There was no attempt to harvest the corn.
The Board will meet in a few weeks to make plans to provide proper supervision for next year.