Innovative farming techniques often call for innovative tools.
At Dutra Farms, just like many farms across the country, that
means that the field crew pulls double duty as equipment engineers.
A wonderful example of this ingenuity is the seed driller
retrofitted by farm manager Virgilio “Hilo” Yepez
and his team so that the mounded cover crop rows between the
raspberry canes may be easily and uniformly seeded. In order
to accomplish this task, the outside seed cups had to be turned
at an angle and the middle ones raised. Nothing a little welding
and retrofitting—and a whole lot of imagination—couldn’t
The cover crops are planted in December—side by side
with the new raspberry canes—
and then cut down before they start competing for light with
the berries, which will be ready to pick in July. Bringing
the cover crops down without harming the maturing berry bushes
was another specialized task to which the Dutra Farms machine
shop turned its collective attention.
“They had to create their own unique piece of equipment
in order to turn the cover crops under,” says Eco-Farm
conference organizer and farm tour guide Amigo Cantisano.