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A Peak At Our Soil Fertility Process

written by

Ben Simmons

posted on

December 25, 2021

Before I discuss our soil fertility process I need to mention a housekeeping event that I will do before year end.

After about 2-years with our new email delivery provider we have accumulated more than 2,000 email addresses that our newsletter delivers to each Saturday morning. However, only about 38% actually will open them (probably not the same 38% each week).

This is not uncommon! Folks hear about our farm from a friend or do a search and decide to register with every intention of one day placing an order. Then, life happens and pretty soon a year has gone by and they are no longer interested.

One of our motivations for cleaning up our registered users is our email delivery provider increases the monthly fee from $49 to $122 when the delivery crosses above 2,000. That's almost $900 per year.

So, our intent is to purge email address that have not been opened in the past 12-months or if the person has not purchased from our store in the past 12-months.

Now, a peak at our soil fertility program. First, I will mention past practices.

Back in 2010-11 when we were first getting started I used commercial fertilizer. It was easy and gave quick results. However, it was very expensive and resulted in an "addiction" meaning there was no end - you always had to do more and more to get any results.

Next, I used poultry litter. I contracted with a grower in Ovett for his litter and another farmer to haul it to my farm. Then, I would spend days (several times per year) spreading it across my pastures. Very time consuming, expensive, and nasty! While I do believe it is better long term than commercial fertilizer, it still was not the best solution.

The biggest problem was the litter included manure and wood shaving that was dry. Now, if it had been left outside to "compost" then the value would have been much better.

Dr. Laura Ingram in her work describes the soil food web.

Soil-Food-Web.jpg

Soil scientist tell us there are billions of bacteria, etc. in just a tablespoon of soil. And, that some of the biology, like Mychorrhizal Fungi, is more beneficial than other types as it is a key contributor for releasing soil nutrients (making it available) in a format plants can use.

So, our "ALL NATURAL" process includes everything we can do to make a good home and feed the microbial population in our soil! We have been operating this way since 2015.

Key steps include:
1) minimum to no tillage of the soil. We do not want to destroy the soil structure which should resemble the texture of a homemade chocolate cake
2) we want a living root in the soil at all times to help feed the biology
3) a diverse plant base is critical. Some plant species are more important than others
4) we want to keep the ground covered to help prevent erosion from rain/wind and help keep the surface cooler in the summer
5) integrate our livestock using adaptive grazing techniques

Sometimes our pastures don't respond like we think they should so we will take a soil sample and send to a lab that can analyze the nutrient and microbial properties of the soil and recommend corrective action. We will do this for several of our pastures next week.

There are a lot of moving variables that affect success! And, I am certainly not an expert! Joel Salatin recently stated - Nature Has The Last Word. I would agree!

So, if you are looking for premium ALL NATURAL beef, pork, chicken, and eggs raised on pasture as God intended - without growth hormones and antibiotics - and raised humanely then you have come to the right farm. Our delivery schedule and product availability is listed below along with several "Order" buttons that will take you to our website where you can browse over 90 product choices and place your order from the convenience of your home. It's that simple!

As always, thank you for rewarding our hard work with your trust and support. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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