Finding Balance in Soil Fertility
This week the guys are spraying fertilizer on the pastures! This always raises questions from our followers because, when most people think about farmers spraying their fields, they think about pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals being sprayed. You all know Grass Corp. doesn’t use those things on our pastures, so everyone wants to know what is being sprayed and why. Hopefully by the time you get done reading this, your questions will be answered and you will be more informed than ever about how your food is produced.
First, let's talk about why we spray. Our ultimate goal is to fully restore the biology in the soil so that this soil life can feed the plants the nutrients they need. Ideally, the ecosystem would operate in perfect harmony and nothing would ever need to be applied to the pastures as a supplement. However, this is rarely the case since soils have become so depleted of minerals and organic matter over many decades. Rebuilding these soils is a work in progress. While our grazing management and regenerative farming practices do work toward improving soils and healing the ecosystem, we believe we can speed up the healing process and boost the nutrient density of the food we produce through careful supplementation. We're still working on our home farm that has been on the path to healing for the 17 years we've been here, as well as all of the other nearby farms we've been blessed to care for. Plants have to get nitrogen from the air and minerals from the soil in order to grow. When these things are out of balance, it negatively affects the health and function of the plant.
Now let's talk about what we spray. In the early springtime, we spray the pastures with a blend of biologicals, various key minerals and just a bit of nitrogen to kickstart growth and aid the pastures in producing enough nutrient rich foliage to feed our animals. Let's go into a bit more detail now about what exactly gets sprayed and what each ingredient does.
Phase II: Is an all natural, fish emulsion and molasses based fertilizer product that is loaded with biology and available minerals that naturally feed the plant and add microbial life to the soil. This is the bulk of what we spray and have found that it pairs well with our regenerative practices in boosts soil life as well as adding overall quality to our plant growth. This product was developed by a gentleman who's been a personal mentor to Stan beginning some 37 years ago! You can read more about it by following this link to our suppliers website: https://www.phaseiienergyfarming.com/product
Liquid Nitrogen: Helps to jump start the pastures in early spring when the air is still rather cool. We don't want to artificially produce a huge amount of imbalanced plant growth by loading on a lot of nitrogen, but a small amount does help to make our entire blend work more effectively.
Nachurs Ortho Phos and BioK , Liquid Calcium: These are bioavailable forms of phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. Plants aren’t so different from humans in their nutritional needs. Without access to sufficient phosphorus and calcium, plants are unable to efficiently absorb other minerals. By adding these to the mix, we ensure the plants are packing more of these essential quality nutrients into our pasture plants. Potassium is essential to plant development and structural integrity. Plants that are low in potassium won’t produce as many leaves and result in sparse pasture growth. This link (https://www.nachurs.com/k-fuel) is the potassium we use and is mixed with orthophosphate (bioavailable phosphorus) from the same company.
Stan, Gavin, and Joel have put many hours into research on plant nutrition and are working hard to raise the nutrient density of the pasture plants. Sometimes the conversations around the house sound like a group of scientists speaking as they share the things they have learned, observations from the field, or discuss the current and future nutritional needs of the pastures. They carefully assess the current needs of our pastures and only apply things that are needed for maintaining health and balance.
I hope this answers your questions and opens the door to give you a look into the complexity of the soil and pasture management that goes on at Grass Corp. Who knew you would learn so much about plant health today!?
If you have further questions or comments, let us know or start the conversation below.