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Chaos cover cropping - something new and growing

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by DKR, May 17, 2020.

  1. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    In doing research, I came across this

    Most Farmers in the Great Plains Don’t Grow Fruits and Vegetables. The Pandemic is Changing That. | Civil Eats

    On a recent Thursday, a group of farmers from Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska hosted a remote agriculture happy hour. There were a few dozen attendees, and nearly everyone was wearing a cowboy hat. In total, they farm more than 30,000 acres of cropland, most of it planted in soy, corn, or cotton destined for the global commodity market. The happy hour started with presentations about integrating livestock into cropping systems, but then things took a surprising turn: farmers began to discuss how they are feeding their families and communities.

    “Normally, between me and the consumer there is a gigantic divide that is hard to cross, but now, people are hungry and I have to do something,” Tom Cannon, one of the farmers on the virtual happy hour, told me several days before the gathering. Cannon, who farms and ranches 10,000 acres near Blackwell, Oklahoma, was already feeling the squeeze from the trade wars with China when the pandemic hit.

    more at linked article.

    Money quote
    Five springs ago, Emmons threw squash, edible beans, and a variety of brassica seeds in with his standard cover crop mixture and planted it on a couple of acres. The bounty was so impressive that chaos gardens are now a regular part of his annual planting schedule. Some of the produce goes to his own kitchen but most of it gets donated to local community groups—the food bank, youth groups, and churches—with the agreement that they do the harvesting. Emmons estimates that each acre of chaos generates 4,500 pounds of produce.

    Nothing new - cover crops are fairly standard but here - once the gleeners are done, he turns it out for the cattle. Then plants the regular corps set in rotation with increased yields.

    I found this nugget in the article
    "I met Cannon this past January at No-Till on the Plains, an annual gathering in Kansas for medium to large-scale farmers somewhere along the continuum of adopting ecological methods to protect soil health. Most have reduced or eliminated tilling on their farms in an effort to use fewer pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Many also use livestock and off-season cover crops to control weeds, enrich the soil with organic matter, retain moisture, and add nutrients for planting.

    I'll post more on this thread as I dig up more on the commercial no-till movement.
    Gator 45/70, chelloveck, Dont and 4 others like this.
  2. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Gator 45/70 and HK_User like this.
  3. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  4. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    No kidding...ya don't plant, pesticides and fertilizers aren't required.
    Gator 45/70 and HK_User like this.
  5. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    They still use (slightly modified) seed drills - but the cover crop si just 'crimped' and rooled. THe they plant on top of that.

    Helps with weed control and water retention.

    Maybe Rachel Carson should have pushed this farming method instead of lying....
    Gator 45/70, techsar and HK_User like this.
  6. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Cousin used to run several thousand head of hogs each year,Planted 500 acres of corn for feed.
    5 acres of popcorn for himself and family.
    HK_User likes this.
  7. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    no till works great for grains and most legumes but it doesn't work for every crop.

    Is a great option for winter cover crops that get plowed back into the soil as green manure.
  8. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I would have thought it more profitable to let it all go to seed in stead.
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  9. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    not really.... letting it go to seed lets in more weeds
    SB21 and Gator 45/70 like this.
  10. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    No, it is a cover crop. Intended to keep the soil moist and reduce/eliminate weeds Keeping the soil from blowing away (in dry land farming) is the biggest benefit.

    Look into wind-blown soil erosion. In some areas it can be more than an inch a season.

    Soil Erosion Caused by Wind
    it's a massive problem on the Great Plains.
    Gator 45/70 and Ganado like this.
  11. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Another food banker...

    This Oklahoma farmer plants vegetables with his cover crops; the produce helps feed the whole county

    again, chaos cover cropping - but with a real upside for local folks.

    Money quote
    Jimmy plants his MILPA seed mix.
    Then he flattens down the barley to form a protective mat.
    “We’ll come in and lay all this down,” he demonstrates. “So weeds can’t grow through that.”

    Less than six weeks later, his big garden is producing fresh vegetables for nearby food pantries and community centers.
    No long transports or production centers needed.

    as they say in the Big City - win-win.
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