Friday, April 22, 2011

Benefits of winter legume cover cropping

We have started to till up the fields planted last fall with winter peas. The peas have developed a significant amount of root nodules as far as I can see. The presence of root nodules indicates a healthy amount of nitrogen fixation going on. This is the main benefit of cover-cropping with legumes. It reduces our need for additional nitrogen as a fertilizer. We hope to dramatically increase our usage of winter legumes as a cover crop in the future. They also help crowd out weeds and prevent the need for multiple passes with a tractor in the spring to kill weed sprout mechanically. Now if we can just find a reliable source of organic seed!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring planting update

We have been planting oats and flax over the past week or so. It has been tricky to find windows of good weather that allow us to actually get on the field without tearing it up. We managed to get about 20 acres of flax and 20 or so acres of oats in the ground so far. We have a long way to go. This is starting to look like a repeat of last year. A long, wet spring does us no good. I need to go spray compost tea on the fields I've planted this spring, but various mechanical problems with trucks are making that impossible. I can't use the 3-wheel buggy to spray the fields...too wet, and I need to take the tube buggy on a trailer to the field. Okay, that's fine, but the tube buggy only holds 200 gallons of liquid. The truck with the holding tank has bad brakes right now so we are delayed.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

We are pleased to announce the formation of Willamette Seed & Grain

Willamette Seed & Grain (WSG)is a partnership between A2R and several other local farms including Stalford Seed Farms and Sunbow Farm that is designed to help fill the gap in the local food supply chain by providing seed cleaning and processing for local grains, beans, and edible seeds. WSG has several certified organic seed cleaning facilities, as well as 2 grain mills either operating now or under construction. We also have the capacity to roll oats. Check out the WSG website at for more information. This is a huge step forward for the local food system in the Mid-Valley. Thank you to all of the members of WSG for your hard work in the last 6 months!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A2R Farms featured in The Oregonian

The Oregonian did a feature on us about our flax. Flax is getting a lot of interest up and down the valley. Thanks to Brent and Eric from The Oregonian for a great piece. Click the title of this post to link to the video.

Compost tea going on the fields...

We've been spraying compost tea and fish fertilizer on the fields for the past week or so. We are better set up this year to crank out back-to-back batches than we were last year. We have the holding tank which we put a finished batch in as soon as it is done. This allows us to get another batch brewing right away. Or at least when the tank is done filling, which takes 4-6 hours. We also have several pre-treatment bins for treating the compost with fish and humic acid for 3 days prior to brewing. This activates more fungi in the compost. We also have a large tote of fish set up right next to the brewer. This is great because now we can just pump large amounts into the spray buggy instead of pouring bucket load after bucket load out of small jugs. That was no fun lemme tell ya. I am really excited about the tea this year. I can't wait to see the results of using several applications of fish as well as tea on the crops. The rate of application is roughly 16 gallons per acre of the tea/fish mixture. The fish is going on at roughly 2 gallons per acre.