2018: What are we going to plant in the year ahead?
As we start farming OurField for 2018, with the slightly larger area of 28 acres and 60 members we promptly need to decide what we want to plant or how we want to farm the field this year, as John needs to order seeds on Mon 9th April. So here is the timeline:
24/25 March: FARMER'S THOUGHTS Farmer John Cherry will kick of the conversation with the options he thinks might work.
25 March - 4 April: DISCUSSION we will discuss these ideas, with members asking questions and adding in any extra research or ideas.
5 April - 8 April: THE VOTE based on the discussion a series of options will be put to vote.
9 April: JOHN ORDER SEEDS
Grahame Hunter started a poll Wed 4 Apr 2018
What shall we put in the field this year Closed Sun 8 Apr 2018
The clear majority of those voting chose the cover crop as a break with a possibility of grazing. John Cherry's recent comment suggests this was a good result.. he wrote
"This year farmers are tearing their hair out as it has done little else but rain for the last couple of months and most people haven't turned a wheel. The forecast is grim for the rest of this week too. So I'm happy with the vote to grow a low cost, fertility building, weed suppressing multi-species cover, we can take our time to let the ground warm up before planting. We will be growing the same thing on the field next door, which should make thing easier for grazing if that turns into a possibility."
I am providing a range of options not all of which are likely to yield profit this year, and which John and others can comment on alongside the voting which will end in 3 days.
option 1 may result in a profit at the expense of soil fertility in future years
option 2 could build up the soil for a bumper crop in 2019
option 3 might have good results if members wished to engage in finding markets, but is uncertain,
option 4 is a variant of 2, but with a chance of some income to cover costs..
|0 - A commercial grain crop - Wheat or Oats|
|16 - Cover crop, partly edible, perhaps cropped by cattle|
|1 - Pumpkins, buckwheat or other irregular cash crop|
|8 - Spring beans|
Christine Lewis Fri 6 Apr 2018
Seems the right thing this year - we need more time to decide the crop and how to manage and market it. I also prefer to pay more rent to cover additional costs of grazing.
Abby Rose Sun 8 Apr 2018
Hard to decide between this and spring beans, but feel like this option gives us a little more time and I'm excited to have animals on the field!
Harriet Sun 8 Apr 2018
Hi all, thanks for all the info. In M. Pollan's the Omnivore's Dilemma he details a lot about grazing and how to make sure that the grass/pasture crop is grazed in a way that is best for the soil. So I would be for some research on such methods.