The most important thing to realize in farming is that there is no perfect system. Every farm is different. Every crop is different. Every year is different. What worked last year may not work this year as mother nature always gets the final say. We do our best to control the variables as best as we can to produce the safest, best crop possible. The soil on our farms, the health of ourselves, and the safety and satisfaction of our customers are the foundation of our livelihood and success.
Therefore, we would never purposely do anything to jeopardize that. However, in order to adapt to ever changing conditions we like to utilize all the tools in the toolbox, rather than limit ourselves to farming under one particular definition or another. Throughout the winter we attend numerous educational sessions to listen to professionals and other farmers to gather and share knowledge, as well as keep up with rapidly changing technology. With that said, how do we farm?
We use a common sense, sustainable approach to growing our crops that combines both organic and conventional practices. Our approach is a comprehensive, integrated pest and crop management system (IPM) that allows us to adapt to the unique conditions and challenges that each growing season presents. This integrated approach is focused on preventing pests by eliminating the root causes of pest problems and simultaneously improving our soil quality through a wide variety of techniques and practices.
Our grain operation complements our vegetable production because it allows us to do long crop rotations between planting different vegetables on the same soil from year to year. This helps to break the pest cycle and recycle nutrients to produce better crops.
In addition, we are participants in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), a voluntary USDA program administered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service. This program encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional conservation activities and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities. As participants, Charlann Farms is making a concerted effort to carefully preserve our precious natural resources.
Moving forward, we will continue to progress and adapt to continually improve our operation from year to year. We try to minimize tillage as much as possible, practicing no-till farming on most of grain acres and more recently some vegetable acres as well. To complement this we are adding more cover cropping to our operation to help prevent erosion, stimulate soil microbes, improve soil structure and water holding capacity. Our main goals are increasing soil health and reducing our environmental impact.
We are investing heavily in precision agriculture products to be as efficient as possible. GPS guidance, auto-steer, automatic spray and planter shutoffs via GPS, yield mapping, zone soil sampling and fertility and variable rate lime and nutrient application, are just some of things we are integrating into our operation to be better producers and stewards of the land.
If you have a specific question about our farming methods, send us an email and we will do our best to answer it!