Monthly Archives: January 2018

Could You Get Paid For Good Farming Practices?

 

A lot of people and publications are talking about sequestering carbon. Some think in the not so distant future there will be a market for that. As a farmer rancher you can have a huge impact on how much carbon stays in your soil.

Regardless of how you feel about greenhouse gases, fossil fuels, climate change and all the controversies related to carbon, we are moving that direction. Getting carbon into your soil and keeping it there has huge benefits for your crops and livestock and it just so happens that its great for the environment beyond your land as well.

So what can you and I do? How about no till or minimum tillage on your farmland? Keeping the physical soil structure in tact will store carbon and increase organic matter over time. More organic matter means more water holding capacity, less drought problems, less fertilizer inputs. In other words its a win win!

How about your crop residue? Returning it to the soil, particularly as a shield of protection on the soil surface aids in organic matter and carbon retention, another plus.

Plant cover crops! We tend to think in terms of making hay or silage or grain from our crops but cover crops , which can be grazed, build the soil. The root mass feeds the soil microbes and holds carbon and the biomass above ground reduces erosion and lowers soil temperature by shading it on hot days. Good for the soil, good for the atmosphere!

Manure and compost. Manure which can be directly applied by the grazing animals builds soil organic matter and increases the amount of carbon the soil can hold. This also adds to soil structure and increases topsoil. Think of a dry sponge, the structure is right to hold a lot of water which will in turn water your crops during extended dry periods.

How about crop selection? Perennial crops eliminate the need for any tillage while annual crops with a high residue can aid in holding the carbon on your farm ground. Some folks are even broadcasting a shorter plant into the growing taller grain plant rows to keep the soil covered during and immediately after harvesting the grain.

I know a lot of people have been doing this because its environmentally responsible and the right thing to do. That’s great and I applaud your efforts! As we get closer to a carbon market you all can teach the rest of us how to do it. Undoubtedly your expertise will be valuable!

Work hard.
Have fun.
Make a difference!

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3 Easy Steps To A Perfect Garden

 

It’s January and it’s cold outside but the seed catalogues have already started coming in the mail.

Garden Seed

That is a good reminder that it’s not too soon to be planning your spring garden. Make your garden a total success this year by doing a little planning now. Before long it will be time to get your hands in the soil and enjoy the relaxing and therapeutic benefits of growing healthy food.

Garden Veg

First off, if you don’t have a spot for a garden or you want to break out a new area, go out there two or three times during the day and look for shadows. Structures, trees, and fences can block the sun and cause slow soil warming in the spring and plants that need full sun won’t do well at all. Also check for drainage, when it rains does water run off or pool in these areas? Poorly drained soils or low spots are a recipe for disaster. Do you have a water source nearby or will you have to install a hydrant?

Second, what type of garden will you have? Containers, hay bales, raised beds, or tilled soil? Make sure you have access to everything you need. Dirt, top soil, compost, mulch, hay and building materials all need to be acquired and delivered to the site.

Finally your seeds and plants. Will you order seeds? do you have a local nursery where you can buy healthy plants? How many and what type of plants do you want to grow? Remember a little planning now will have you started off on the right foot for a great harvest later. You can do it! Lets get started.

Work hard.
Have fun.
Make a difference!

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