- Tillable - 3600
- Corn - 1500
- Hay crop - 2100
These are total acres from both the East Montpelier and Craftsbury Farm.
We are constantly looking for ways that we can improve our field management practices to improve our efficiency, reduce our costs, improve our yields while at the same time optimizing our resources and protecting our environment. In 2008 we started the transition to a no-till cropping system, we have successfully completed the transition and now plant all of our crops using no-till techniques. Changes moving forward will be experimenting with diversified cover crops for double cropping to improve soil health and ultimately improve yields.
No-till farming is a way of growing crops from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage. No-till will aid in moisture retention, reduce erosion, increase soil health and living organisms in the soil, plus it will greatly aid in the retention of nutrients.
"No-Till farming is an excellent way to get more annual crops in your crop rotation because it reduces soil erosion greatly." Sandra Primard, USDA-NRCS Agronomist.
The two images shown below capture results from no-till corn planting.
In 2014 we began purchasing some equipment to improve our manure handling system. We started moving manure with Semi-Tankers to a "Frac Tank", a holding tank, on the field side. These tankers unload into the Frac Tank without needing to go onto the field. Our manure spreaders, with flotation tires, stay in the fields to reduce compaction. In 2014 we also started construction on a satellite manure pit at our new farm, the "Haven". Having a satellite pit, will allow us to move manure throughout the year, reducing heavy spring traffic. In 2015 we are purchasing a "pit crawler", the crawler is designed to stir the manure while it is being pumped into our Semi-Tankers to incorporate the sand with the liquids. This will reduce the amount of solid manure spreading, again reducing traffic on the road during our busiest spreading seasons. With these systems in place we eventually can move towards applying our manure through a drag hose which would further reduce soil compaction. Spring of 2016 we hired Eric Severy to drag hose several of our nearby fields from "The Farm" and "The Haven", we ended up spreading 225 acres using this technique!
plans for 2016
We will continue to experiment with different cover crop mixes, including adding some peas and triticale to new seedings in 2016 to increase 1st cut yields. We will also keep installing tile drainage, and continue to improve our manure handling system. These plans all have the same goal in mind, to continuously improve on soil compaction which leads to improved water quality and yield.