As a result of the NY Times article and my response in my last blog Stay Calm and Farm On, I received several comments via facebook, email, or twitter about issues of sustainability on our farm. One thread of many comments was the definition of sustainability and how can a modern, conventional farm, call ourselves sustainable. Here was one of the comments:
"If the farming focus is not on the health of the soil as foundation (ie. biodynamic or organic farming) then it's about destructive attempts at manipulating nature for profit ("intellectual property"). This at the expense of our environment as a whole. "
For 3 generations now, we have invested in sustainability. Our main focus has always been our soils. We have been planting cover crops, green manures, and no-till farming since the 1960's. We have always practiced Integrated Pest Management (IPM) because it's simply more cost-effective and good stewardship. The perception is that these are practices used only in organic agriculture. To us, they are simply the way we operate our farm. Always have, always will.
|My father-in-law on an over the row, no-till Hiboy, 1964. High tech for its day.|
Today, we continue to invest heavily in equipment and technology to help us not only be more efficient but also to continue to improve our soils, use less resources, lower our CO2 emissions, and improve our water quality. Sustainability does not meet a cookie-cutter, one-size fits all model, or apply to only one type of farming system or practice. Soil types, climate, topography, equipment, resources, access to capital and amount of debt carried by a family farm are all factors that contribute to its sustainability.
So today, we were top-dressing winter wheat using our GreenSeeker technology and it ties in nicely with my comments about sustainability on our farm.
|My husband, Hans driving the sprayer outfitted with GreenSeeker technology. He is applying fertilizer which is called "top-dressing" the winter wheat crop.|
How do we know it requires fertilizer?