Monday, September 21, 2020

Crop Rotations

 In order to plan our crop rotations, I've created three groups, with each having approximately 100 acres, from the 300 acres that we farm. Each of those "groups" are made up of 4-5 parcels that are, in turn, within 1/4 mile of each other. The first of the 100 acre groups surrounds the main farm, the second is about 5 miles away, and the third is 12 miles from the main farm.

I have arranged the three groups to rotate between the three main crops we grown: corn, beans, and either oats or wheat with clover (rotated in the order listed, primarily to avoid disease issues caused by growing small grain the year before corn.) This means that once we're fully transitioned to USDA Organic production in 2022 we will have approximately 100 acres each of corn, beans, and small grain/clover every year. This spreads the field work load out, making things more manageable, as different crops are planted, cultivated, and harvested at different times of the growing season. 

Added to the above is the necessity of transitioning the conventional/chemical ground we farm to organic. This process takes 36 months from the time of the last prohibited substance, in this case Round Up, to the harvest of the organic crop. We do that by putting the ground in clover for the first two years. Year three can be harvested as certified organic because the "prohibited substance" was actually applied the summer before the first year of the transitional clover.

Here's a chart of what we have planted this year as well as the rotation for the next five.

By 2022 all the ground will be in certified organic production. We started this process in 2016.

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