Organics: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Posted November 16, 2017 by Dani Kusner
And no, it’s not Christmas; at least not yet! Last week, I presented at the MOSES Organic Transition for Commercial-Scale Farms workshop in St. Louis, Missouri. The audience included seasoned organic and new transitioning farmers, along with organic mentoring organizations and industry partners. This event was the kick-off for The Andersons’ organic tradeshow season. The momentum from the workshop—large acreage row crop farmers considering the transition to organic—and the cold snap that hit the Midwest last week made me think of a few reasons why this is the most wonderful time of the year:
- HARVEST: Harvest can be both rewarding and humbling. It is a time to reflect upon the effectiveness of soil health practices, crop rotations, weed management, and nutrient applications. The success of such practices is not necessarily measured by yield, but could also be measured in protein count or bushel weight. Perhaps success can even be measured in increased earthworm counts or reduced soil compaction. Did smarter crop residue management result in nutrient credits? Did the farmer recognize improved return on investment due to more efficient weed control? These are all examples of factors that contribute to improved yield for an organic farmer. The next time you are pondering your crop yield numbers, realize all the management decisions that have gone into the crop; give yourself credit for net positive decisions where they have paid off, and evaluate areas of the farm needing more management attention.
- SOIL SAMPLING: If the ground has not frozen yet, there is still time to pull 2017 fall soil samples. Begin management for 2018 by knowing what is in the soil. As an agronomist, I cannot stress the importance of making fertility decisions based off of soil samples enough. Several farmers ask about prescriptive nutrient management plans for their organic acreage. I do not provide a “one-size fits all” recommendation because every farm is different. The most critical information needed to make an accurate, customized recommendation comes from recent soil sample analysis. No soil sample is perfect and it does not provide 100% of the information needed, but it serves as a reliable baseline for decision-making.
- THANKSGIVING: To celebrate the simple gift of life with friends and family—what more could one ask for? I believe we are our best selves when we take the time to pause, slow down, and be grateful. The Andersons wishes you and your loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
- ACRES ECO-AG CONFERENCE & TRADESHOW (December 5-8, 2017, Columbus, Ohio): Join The Andersons and other conventional, transitioning, and organic farmers in Columbus, Ohio, the first week of December. The Andersons is a lead sponsor of this annual organic convention and we can be found on the trade floor Wednesday through Friday to answer your questions. For more information about the conference or to register, visit https://www.acresusa.com/events/2017conference.