From the Farm of Gary Zimmer

Dear Farmer/Agribusiness person,

It’s amazing how well things seem to be doing on the farm this summer. They’re late, I know, and at a few times this growing season I wasn’t so sure that we would have much to harvest. We do get tired of always having to switch to ‘plan B.’

Our field days are coming up (Aug 20 and 21) and we are ready to show and present what we do here on Otter Creek Organic Farm. Not everything works perfect on every acre every year, but our soil health and resilience, fertility and tilth definitely take out some of the environmental hits. What do all those words mean? Not all is black and white, not all is easy to measure. Being organic and having to cultivate was a good thing this year, following all the rain in July and the resulting tight soils. Depending on biological nitrogen (from manures, cover crops and soil life) does stop or reduce the nitrogen loss. Our corn got darker every day while corn in our area got more yellow. Split applications of nitrogen would really have helped our conventional neighbors, also getting more air in the ground would be a big plus for them. Never forget, we have jobs to do as farmers and planting and harvesting are just two of them!

Field Day has a  new format this year Our field days have changed this year, with Otter Creek hosting two afternoon-only biological farming events Aug 20 and 21. We are an organic farm and as such we do things around the organic system, using biological practices. Even if you’re not organic, you can certainly learn from the principles (they remain the same for everyone) even though some production techniques would be different.

We have also split the event into two days, trying to get more opportunity to share what we do with a smaller group. The first day, Soils Day, will be looking at the chemical, physical and biological aspects: how we manage nutrients, rotate and use cover crops, manage carbon inputs, select fertilizers; what we do about tillage and how we feed, evaluate and take care of our soil life. On the second day, Livestock Day, we will be sharing how we feed and manage the cow, the heifer, and the calf. We’ll talk about not only the rations, but also the work and management we do to feed that balanced ration and feed the feeds we grow, both pastures and forages. You can’t violate the principles of the cow or the soil. Come and learn those at our field days.

All are welcome, see you Aug 20-21,
Gary F. Zimmer