Restock Dates: Please see our Farm Blog where we post our weekly newsletter for the latest updates

Impact Compost Extract Has On Our Pastures

written by

Ben Simmons

posted on

July 31, 2023

Good Morning and hello from your farmer,

As you know, our cows, pigs, chickens, and hens all live on pasture where they receive nutrition from the plants, Vitamin D from sunshine, and plenty of fresh air.

So, that being the case, it is critical that our pastures provide quality nutrition to grow healthy animals - that means NO chemicals.

Regenerating soil is not an easy thing to do. There is always more to learn. For example, last Spring is when I learned about the importance of soil biology and the role they play in making minerals available in a form a plant can use. The learning came from a special soil test called PLFA that identifies the type of biology and overall percentage of each type in your soil.

My soil showed heavy concentrations of bacteria and little fungi & protozoa. That means the biology was out of balance and was not able to make nutrients available to the plants.

So, last Spring we made two Johnson-Su Bioreactors for a highly fungal compost. It takes a year for this compost to mature - thus, we started using it Spring 2023 when planting our summer annuals. In the interim I continued learning and connecting with other farmers who were several years ahead of me. For example, Cory Miller owns 1,000 acre ranch in MT. When I last spoke with him June 1st he was just starting his 3rd year using compost. Cory told me he had already harvested all the hay his ranch needed for the year and that his neighbor's grass had not even started growing. WOW!

Two themes for success were: 1) they attended the Soil Food Web school, and 2) they had a consultant help them get started. That is why our oldest son is enrolled in the SFW classes (it is a long process) and then late June, Zach (who once worked with Dr. Ingham) came and helped build several compost piles & showed us how to use the microscope to test our compost.

As I mentioned earlier, we sprayed our compost extract while planting our summer annuals this year. This week I moved the yearlings into one of those pastures and was very pleased with what I saw. Here is a quick picture I took...

N-grass.jpg


The pasture includes Crabgrass, Millet, Bahia, Dallas, S. Sudan, peas, and more. Lots of diversity and good nutrition. Did you notice how tall the forage is? Key advantage is how it shades the soil and reduces the soil temperature.

Here is a picture of the next pasture they will move into.... same story.

M-grass.jpg


As we move the cows to a new pasture, then we are coming in and spraying a new round of compost extract in the pasture they just moved from. The good news is you cannot over apply!

(I intended to circle back and take a picture of the yearlings, but got too busy replacing a property line fence). Maybe I can make this happen for next week...

One of the "tricks" Zach told us about was adding red wiggler worms to your compost piles. Since our three new piles have matured where worms can be added, I ordered 2,000 red wigglers from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm. They come shipped in a bag with dry peat moss. Included was an instruction sheet that spelled out all you need to know to get the worms started. I was very pleased with the quality and service from Uncle Jim's.

Worms.jpg


This is a close up picture of the worms just before I covered them with compost. Did you know worms can double their population every 90 days? Amazing the work these creatures do for our soil & compost.

Lastly, for those who have been to the farm and seen the new ground we purchased in 2018 that I've had trouble trouble trouble getting to grow grass - well, when I took the cows off in June, Jared came in and bush hogged the weeds close to the ground. Behind that we sprayed a good dose of compost extract. Surprisingly the crabgrass we had planted is now thriving and I'm not seeing the weed pressure as before. Thank the LORD!

At Nature's Gourmet Farm, our intent is to create a community that evolves around one of the most intrinsically important things of the ages, and that’s the provision of sustenance. That's our passion - to raise healthy food to nourish families and strengthen immune systems.

** Product Availability Update **

Chicken - Restocked July 25th and sold out in a day. We will process again August 1st and 15th with restock the following day. By mid August we should be fully stocked on chicken. Processing will continue for twice per month for the balance of the year.

Turkey - Some of the first turkey we made into ground turkey did not come out perfect so we held it back. SOLD OUT! Thank you. We do have a few on pasture now and received a batch of 25 poults this week.

Eggs - Will add eggs each Wednesday at 6pm along with any other items processed (like chicken)

Beef - Restocked July 20th. Next restock will be about August 25th..

Pork - Restocked July 13th. We plan to restock pork again in August.

Lamb - Restocked April 28th. Next restock will be July 24th. We have contacted a fellow Regenerative Farm in MO who will deliver Ground Lamb & some Loin Chops this weekend while visiting our farm. They also recently started processing their own animals on farm as well. So, we will fellowship & share best practices to help each other be better.

More from the blog

Website Changes Coming

About two months ago Seven Sons announced they had SOLD Grazecart to POS Nation in Charlotte, NC. Our farm was in the top 5 to signup to use Grazecart back in December 2015. Back then it was very hard to set up... you had to work with the IT guy to program your site. Basically, flying by the seat of your pants. I had learned about Seven Sons and Grazecart during my time on the Board of the Grassfed Exchange Conference where Blaine was also on the Board. Additionally, you may remember that when we decided to add hens to our farm Beth & I visited Seven Sons to check out their operation. But, they (and we) perservered and today Grazecart is very functional and easy to "program" using widgets. So, the sale really saddened me because one of the compelling reasons we chose GC was that it was developed by farmers for farmers who market and sell direct to consumers. A little statistic - last year Grazecart supported about 450 farms. Our farm was in the top 25 largest users of Grazecart coming in around 22 or 23 if I remember correctly. There was no reason(s) given for the sale! The next communication came about a month ago stating POS Nation would transition Grazecart Stripe credit card process to POS Nation Stripe - again, no reason given. Farms were instructed to create an account on the new site and be ready for the migration to happen. All of this we have done. We are prepared, but have not yet been migrated. Then, this week several farms who had been migrated expressed disappointing results and lack of visibility on payments, payouts, reporting, etc. on the POS Nation site. I know when I checked my account status I could not log in. It took 4 email conversations over a 12-hour period AND then a couple of phone calls Friday morning before the issue was resolved. Late Friday afternoon the VP of Grazecart (POS Nation) emailed customers that the migration was put on hold until complaints were resolved. Additionally, this week - DRIP that powers our email marketing function communicated that Google & Yahoo email were cracking down on emails like our newsletters that are not delivered into inboxes. There are many reasons for this, but mostly folks are searching the internet and come across our website. They sign up to "check us out", and after awhile, decide to move on. Most never make a purchase. Some will make only one purchase and probably decide this is not what they are used to and fall away. Instead of using the "Unsubscribe" feature found at the bottom of our newsletter, they "Block" our email delivery. These are the ones that Google & Yahoo are after because these go into Spam folders and not inboxes. I am sure this is a big deal for email providers that cost them big money considering the shear volume of emails sent on a daily basis. That said, next week we will "Deactivate" about 288 DRIP accounts from ever receiving any of our emails. Well, enough of that for now! Remember, we showed pictures of the 23 registered Red Angus cows purchased from a ranch in WY? Well, they have started calving. Two of them this week. Here is a picture of the FIRST one. So glad we can celebrate this birth with our customers. At Nature's Gourmet Farm, our intent is to create a community that evolves around one of the most intrinsically important things of the ages, and that’s the provision of sustenance. That's our passion - to raise healthy food to nourish families and strengthen immune systems. If you are new to our farm then maybe you have been looking for premium ALL NATURAL GOODNESS of beef, pork, chicken, and eggs raised on pasture as God intended - with emphasis on Regenerative Principles and NOT conventionally raised animals (with growth hormones, drugs, chemicals, and antibiotics) - and where animals are treated humanely - then you have come to the right farm. Our delivery schedule and product availability are listed below along with 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! ** Product Availability Update ** NOTE: Restocks are made about 6 PM on the dates indicated below! Chicken - Restocked May 8th. next restock will be May 23rd. . Turkey - Only have ground turkey and turkey wings available. Eggs - Restocked each Wednesday. We are well stocked on eggs - especially large at this time. Beef - Restocked April 19th. Next restock will be May 17th. Pork - Restocked fresh cuts Wednesday, May 8th followed by cured items (bacon) about 12 days later. Lamb - April 17th lamb did not work out. They were only 50 lb live weight or about half the weight needed for slaughter.

Updates & Musings From Farmer Ben

Last week I announced that we continue to have strong demand for our half beef custom orders, and that we have scheduled a harvest date for 6 "custom" beef with Homestead Farm & Packing in Lucedale, MS. Here are the key dates: April 27th 6 beef (12 halves) added to our website for orders. First-come, First-served. Customer pays deposit to reserve order. June 1st Cut-sheet due not later than this date. Best practice is to complete within a week of placing order. Cut sheet can be found at this link - scroll to the bottom of the page https://naturesgourmetfarm.com/custom-bulk-orders. June 3rd I will deliver the cows to the plant.

Do You Need A Half Beef? Must Read

Before I get into the main topic, let me share that our new mama cows are going great. They are settling in and now curious when we come around. For example, last Monday Jared picked up a load of chips for our chick brooder bedding and while unloading they eased up to see what we were doing. Very cool! Next, we want everyone to know that we are mostly FULLY STOCKED on beef, pork, eggs, and chicken. Its been a long time since we were last able to communicate that. Exceptions are filet, flank, and hanger steaks. Who bought all of those filets?