I enjoyed your article on oil prices and the need to rethink
some practices (Oil
price spike creates incentive for real change). I assume
that you folks don't have livestock. Ruminants are the cornerstone
of our farming operation. Use of composted manure plus a rotation
that is two-thirds perennial forage makes it easier to maintain
healthy soils. Management is still key, of course. We bought
our present farm 14 years ago and have yet to purchase a single
bag of fertilizer. Our spring cereals this year yielded two
tons per acre. First-cut hay yields were down a bit due to
dry conditions, but we still managed to harvest an average
of 3.5 tons per acre over two cuts.
These results are hardly earth-shattering, but they are respectable.
Without livestock, it would be more of a challenge. I hope
that some of the deluges of rain you folks have experienced
this season haven't caused too many headaches. Here in our
part of Ontario, we've had a summer with just about the right
balance of moisture and heat. Believe me, it was welcome—in
2005 we had about the worst drought I've ever seen. No rain
from mid June until early September.
Thanks for the email. I’m glad you're reading New Farm
and enjoyed the article. Every now and then, it's good to
have a year when the weather treats you right. It gives you
the inspiration to try it all over again next year.