Keeping It Organic
Crop rotation is an important cornerstone of farming
organically. The rules of our certifier require that we
rotate crops in such a manner as to maintain soil fertility
and plant health. The rotation we are presently following
is: alfalfa for 3 years, followed by corn for 1 year,
soybeans for 1 year, corn again for a year, small grains
(oats, rye or barley) for 1 year, and then back to alfalfa.
Maintaining this regime enables us to disrupt insect life
cycles, avoiding the need for pesticides. It also helps
with the perennial battles with weeds. Correct crop
rotation improves soil health and texture, lessens soil
erosion, and prevents one crop from exhausting the soil.
Weed control is a relentless battle for all farmers. We
control them organically with fieldwork techniques,
timing of field preparations, propane burners, and
maintaining superior soil fertility. Our most important
soil input and our primary nitrogen source is the organic
manure from our dairy.
Plowing under cover crops, using chicken manure
compost, and adding mined potassium sulfate and
mined gypsum, are additional ways of enhancing soil
fertility. Micronutrients are also added in accordance
with National Organic Standards, along with soil tests
and our own Nutrient Management Plan.