How Milk Improves Soil Health
Row Crop Farmers and Hunters
Part 5 of 5
For Row Crop Farmers
Row crop farmers can also benefit greatly from some of these practices. Lowenfels, who co-authored the book on microbes, urges anyone who uses herbicides or insecticides to soon thereafter apply compost tea to increase the microbe population that was probably greatly reduced by the chemical spray. Fish would also work in this situation. For the busy grain guy, there are companies that make products ready to go into the sprayer. One such firm is AgriEnergy Resources. Mike Wyatt, an independent consultant that works with AgriEnergy, has helped me gain some insight into the world of microbes.
If you want bigger deer like you read about in Iowa and Illinois, the methods set out in this article should be used on your hunting land, especially the food plots. Animals are clearly attracted to plants that have been treated with sea salt. And they also choose high-brix plants over those with low brix levels.
I know Terry Gompert personally. He’s the real deal. In 2007 he organized a high-stock-density grazing seminar in as remote an area of northeast Nebraska as you can find and attracted over 200 people. Included among that crew were Jeremia Markway and me.
Based on my knowledge of and respect for Gompert and the results Markway experiences just down the road from us, why wouldn’t I be willing to try this? To me, it’s a no-brainer. I’ve made arrangements to buy milk from Alfred Brandt, who lives just south of Linn, and Chamois MFA has agreed to spray 50 or 100 acres in mid-April. A 1,000-gallon tank containing 150 gallons of raw milk and 850 gallons of water will provide the perfect ratio of three gallons of milk and 17 gallons of water, which applied at the rate of 20 gallons per acre will cover 50 acres. I hope to get over at least 100 acres. Whether we include something with the milk – such as fish, molasses, or earthworm casting tea – is a decision we haven’t made at this time. We are also going to broadcast one ton of sea salt at a rate of 20 pounds per acre.
For years I’ve been a dung beetle fanatic, thinking that I needed dung beetles to build my soil. I’ve probably been wrong in this regard. I now think I need to build my soil and the dung beetles will come. Dr. James Nardi, in his classic work Life in the Soil, describes dung beetles as picky eaters.
That may seem strange, but my experience convinces me his assessment is totally accurate. I hope – and I do believe this will happen – dung beetles will choose to come to our farm because we have upgraded the food supply.