Category Archives: #organicagriculture

Organic Grain Transition Seminar Scheduled 3/10 | Daily Dirt

Looking to hand over the reigns to the next generation, but needing to change things up a bit? Looking for more income per acre? Do you want to hear about chemical-free farming?

Then you won’t want to miss the Organic Grain Transition Seminar we will be co-hosting with the Land Connection on March 10 in Champaign. We know that change can be scary and making the transition to organic acres can be a tough process, but we’re here to help. Some of Illinois’s largest organic grain farmers will be sharing their journey into organic cropland along with the pros and cons they’ve experienced in transitioning.

Whether it was dealing with pest problems in the field or storing organic harvests apart from conventionally grown grains, these experts will cover a variety of topics including soil fertility, cover crops, crop rotation, marketing options, organic transition, and record keeping.

In addition to a little bit from us about organic inputs and fertilizers as well as the Land Connection, Jack Erisman, Harold Wilken, and Gary McDonald will be speaking. Erisman, of Goldmine Farm in Pana, has been farming 2000+ organic acres for over 25 years; Wilken, of Janie’s Farm in Danforth, has been farming 1100 organic acres for 12 years; and McDonald is an organic conversion consultant.

Our goal is that by Tuesday evening, you will not only know how to select ideal alternative crops, but plan for soil fertility and pest management without synthetic inputs, getting the best price for your premium product.

The seminar will be held from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 10 at the Champaign County Farm Bureau, 801 N. Country Fair, Champaign. The cost is $125 which includes lunch. If this is something that interests you, call the Land Connection at (217) 840-2128 to reserve your spot.

Hope to see ya there!

via Organic Grain Transition Seminar Scheduled 3/10 | Daily Dirt.

Ensuring Cattle Health In Dairy Farming | Trivedi Science – Scientific Research and Technology

Almost every industry that thrives today traces its root back to the livestock industry. It is the major supply of milk and beef which is a strong presence in the diet of every household. Dairy farming as an agricultural industry holds great prominence in the world’s history. It has been the cause that various nations survived and some crumbled when there were food shortage and onslaught of famines. Dairy farming provides the raw materials and inputs for agriculture. Cattle provide additional revenue streams to the agricultural industry in the form of milk, butter, meat, cheese, etc.

Milk exports are a major revenue earner for most nations which have less of industrial production. They provide livelihood for millions of farmers who are unskilled in manufacturing and production activities. Dairy farming is more labor intensive in nature. There is the huge risk involved in this business as he output can never be predicted with an accuracy. The health of cattle plays a major role in keeping up milk production to a certain extent.

Cattle, unlike other animals, require close medical attention and monitoring. They should be housed in safe houses to be insulated from contagious diseases. Since they are very timid and domesticated in nature, they are unfit to be let loose in wild conditions for grazing. As a result, it is the responsibility of the cattle owner to provide the best housing facilities to the cattle to keep them strong and healthy. In addition, to increase milk supply they should also be supplied with high-quality fodder and water. Regular vaccination and medical checkups should also be conducted to keep them immunized.

The housing facility of a dairy farm should be airy and spacious. The cattle should have adequate space to move around without bumping into other cattle. Studies have concluded that cattle injuries are mostly caused due to their housing in cramped places. There should be proper air circulation so that they don’t come in contact with airborne diseases. Dung removal and sterilization of the farm should be carried out periodically to keep the cattle disease free and the healthy.

Dairy farmers across the globe have been struggling to increase milk supply as cattle death rate and male calf birth have been increasing steadily. The fall in milk supply has caused severe profitability issues for dairy farmers some of whose businesses are close to bankruptcy. Mahendra Trivedi helped the ground of such struggling farmers to revive their business through his scientific intelligence. He devised a special diet for cattle that increased milk supply as well as enhanced their quality from previous levels. Mahendra Trivedi blessings also improved the health and immunity of cows that resulted in an extension in their mortality.

Trivedi Science has done vast researches through the Trivedi Effect. Know, how this phenomenon was miraculous for materials research, agriculture, genetics, human wellness and other experiments and researches.

via Ensuring Cattle Health In Dairy Farming | Trivedi Science – Scientific Research and Technology.

Growing wheat in a warmer world | Sustaining the Northern Plains

Global temperature data reported for January 2015 makes the month the second warmest January on record, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The warmest January on record was 2007 which included the warming effects of a Pacific Ocean El Niño warming event. There was no El Niño warming in January 2015. The five warmest Januarys ever recorded have all occurred since 2007.

All sectors of our economy will need to adapt to a changed global climate, perhaps sooner than later, according to many of the world’s climate scientists. No sector will need to find new ways to operate than agriculture.

Some in agriculture point to increased carbon dioxide as a boon to plant growth and to warmer weather bringing opportunities for new crops to the northern plains. Reality is likely to be far less rosy. Eventually, farmers will be faced with restrictions on the burning of carbon based fuels and higher input costs. Methane produced by decomposition of animal wastes will be scrutinized. New insect and weed pests will invade our fields. Plant and animal diseases will be spread to new places. Heat, violent weather events, erratic temperature swings and drought are also predicted for the future of food production.

A recently released study by Vara Prasad, professor of crop ecophysiology at Kansas State University recently published a study on the effects of climate change on wheat production worldwide. According to the models he and his colleagues studied in the field and in controlled environments, as our world warms, future wheat yields could be reduced by as much as a quarter of 2012-2013 production.

Dr. Prasad and colleagues found that the effects from climate change and its increasing temperatures on wheat will be more severe than once projected and are happening sooner than expected. “Extreme temperature doesn’t only mean heat; it also means cold,” Prasad said. “Simply looking at the average temperature doesn’t really show us anything because it’s the extremities that are more detrimental to crops. Plants can handle gradual changes because they have time to adapt, but an extreme heat wave or cold snap can kill a plant because that adjustment period is often nonexistent.” Add to temperature extremes, the timing of cold, wet springs, too warm summers and rising night time temperatures. Under these conditions, wheat plants struggle to produce heads and seeds. Studies by European scientists produced similar results for reduced wheat yields.

Research into wheat varieties adapted to growing in drought or wetter conditions are needed to sustain food production. No variety alone, however, will give farmers the tools needed to grow food in a warmer world.

Along with new varieties of wheat, farmers will need to develop new growing strategies  and new soil management practices. In the future farmers will need to learn to grow food on fields which are protected from heavy rains and strong winds. Bare earth will leave the soil vulnerable to both drought and deluge. Cultivation will need to be minimized. Perennial plants, cover crops and mulching will need to be expanded. Soil organic matter will need to be maximized to retain moisture in drought and keep the soil from washing away in heavy rains. Crop rotations will need to be longer and more varied to control pests and diseases. We are already struggling here on the Northern Plains with cold, wet springs, hot, dry summers and rainy falls. According to these researchers, those problems are only going to get worse.

Farming has never been easy. Global climate change is going to make growing food even more challenging. There will be no silver bullets, single seed variety, or technological fix which will solve the new problems farmers will face in the future.  Farmers should be among the most vocal advocates for making changes which might slow greenhouse gas emissions and the effects on our world’s climate. We have a lot to lose.

Copyright © 2015 Janet Jacobson and Sustaining the Northern Plains

via Growing wheat in a warmer world | Sustaining the Northern Plains.

With precision ag, farmers and soils work better, not harder

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is coordinating a series of activities throughout 2015 International Year of Soil (IYS) to educate the public about the importance of soil. March’s theme is “Soils Support Agriculture.” In one of SSSA’s March Soils Matter blog posts, experts explain what precision agriculture is, and why farmers use it.

Precision agriculture is one of many modern farming practices that make production more efficient. With precision agriculture, farmers and soils work better, not harder.

A better name for precision ag might be “site-specific ag”. Growers are able to take large fields and manage them as though they are a group of small fields. This reduces the misapplication of products and increases crop and farm efficiency.

It has been said farmers were the first land stewards. They use research about weather patterns, soil temperature and humidity, growth, and other factors. They rotate crops to improve diversity, and monitor irrigation rates so that salts do not accumulate. They also use precision agriculture practices to apply nutrients, water, seed, and other agricultural inputs to grow more crops in a wide range of soil environments. Precision ag can help farmers know how much and when to apply these inputs.

There is a lot of technology used to make modern agriculture more efficient. For example, some farmers use global positioning systems (GPS) and GPS-computer guided tractors and harvestors. Other geo-referenced site-specific practices may include:

  • electromagnetic soil mapping
  • soil sample collection
  • crop yield data collection
  • aerial imagery
  • crop or soil color index maps
  • soil types
  • soil characteristics
  • drainage level
  • potential yields

Each of these geo-referenced data layers helps subdivide a large field area into smaller management zones. Using small management zones reduces waste while increasing production potential.

One example of a precision agriculture practice is to evaluate the natural soil variability of a field. If the soil in one area holds water better, crops can be planted more densely and irrigation can be sparing. Or, if the plot is used for grazing, more cattle can graze than a similar area of poorer quality soil.

By studying these factors and using precision agriculture, farmers are able to produce more food at a fraction of the cost. Farmers also conserve soil for sustainable food production. Precision ag results in a stable food supply, which results in a strong community.

As part of their celebration of IYS, SSSA is developing a series of twelve 2-minute educational videos. They are working in conjunction with Jim Toomey, who has worked with the UN in the past on a video series. He also authors the environmental cartoon, Sherman’s Lagoon. March’s Soils Support Agriculture video can be viewed at https://www.soils.org/iys/monthly-videos.

via – With precision ag, farmers and soils work better, not harder | Pork Network.