Dear farmers and agriculturalists,
I have been at a few events this fall and there sure is a lot of interest in carbon, quality feed/food, and soil regeneration. High fertilizer, especially nitrogen, and chemical prices have also been farmers’ concerns. No-till constantly comes up – it is a practice, not a farming system, that may help or may not lead to improved soil health and sequester carbon. Having said that, why would you till if you don’t have to?
Let me start with the good news about today’s dairy markets: It’s time to evaluate. That is exactly what my family is doing on our own farm. What expenses can we eliminate or reduce? On most dairy farms, there are things one can do that won’t negatively affect today’s production (or future production) and cow health. But there are also areas where you can’t skimp.
What are the key things we must do to maintain our farms in the future?
It’s a nice sunny March day today. Spring must be right around the corner. Are you ready?
I have spent my career working on soil health, nutrient delivery and quality feeds and foods. Yield is minerals, sunshine and water mixed in a carbon biological base. It’s not about how cheap the nutrient is or how much I add, it’s about uptake, availability, and exchangeability. When this company first started, it was about the source of nutrients and how we delivered them.
As more consumers care about clean air, clean water and clean food and want to buy organic foods more land is being transitioned to organic. Many organic farmers also talk about “regenerative farming”, but what does this mean? Regenerative farming is a system of farming that focuses on healthy, mineral-rich, biologically-diverse soils that grow healthy, mineral-rich food while also improving soils, crops, and the livelihoods of the farmers. A farm can be certified organic just by avoiding prohibited chemical substances, but regenerative organic farmers also do …
I’m sitting at our big table in the farm office this morning looking out at the rain. Two months late, but here it is. We got so dry this fall it was hard to work down the corn stalks after seed corn harvest. Overall our crops are OK, and some are looking really good. We’re now gearing up for a fresh start next spring. We need to put on our fall fertilizers (mostly Midwestern BioAg calcium sources and manures), do fall tillage and plant cover crops …
Farming is an ever-changing and challenging business. By this time of year, crop outcomes are mostly out of our hands. Being organic, operations at Otter Creek Farms are always intense, from planting time all the way up until the window for weed control passes.
In southwestern Wisconsin, organic production got off to a poor start with all the rain and cold. However, the last ten days in May were great, and the crops are looking good.