Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Organic Fertilizer

Today we applied 9,000 pounds of fish bone meal to a hay field we plan to certify organic next year.  So far we have put 18 tons on this year to improve the soil and build nutrients.  We were able to document a one point jump in crude protein  when we did lab tests on hay that had been fertilized with bonemeal compared with hay that had not been fertilized.  That is not much of a difference but I expect the difference to grow as years go by if fish works in hay the
way it did in vegetable ground with carrots.

I plan to try another technique in one of the fields this fall.  Outside one of the corrals where we fed the cows in the winter for many years there is a ten foot pile of manure and bedding that is full of earthworms.  I am going to run some of that through a shredder that will eliminate rocks and produce a uniform material that I can apply with a spreader.  I think introducing worms and castings and the old manure will produce some good hay.  We won't know until next year.

Another experiment is taking some of the old hay that was bad in putting the round bales on their sides to absorb moisture on top of the worm bed.  It's my hope that the worms will help decompose the bad hay and someday return to the fields!