To most Dairy farmers, the success and the health of their milking herd depends on good management. The animals are housed in a facility that provides ample sun light, fresh air, fresh water, and a well-balanced diet. In order to achieve this "well-balanced" diet, it is customary to consult with a nutritionist. Mark agreed to try some of our foliar products. Shortly after applying a limited program, he started to see improvements including his brix levels going up. We got a call on May 3rd from Mark saying, "You wouldn't believe it, but I have aphids in my greenhouse eating my weeds but not touching my tomato plants". The brix level had climbed to 11. We had him check the brix levels on the weeds just for fun. They were at 3. He said that his plants, and the fruit they were producing, had never looked this good. In October we met with Mark and he said, "Agriculture Solutions, do you have a solution for TOO MANY tomatoes". Apparently, his plants would just not stop producing...not just high quantity, but also good quality fruit.
Solid Yield Increases (click here)
Konzelmann Organic Farm - Wyoming, ON
Crops: Corn and Soybeans
Konzelmann Farms Inc., located just outside of Wyoming, Ontario, is a 1500 acre organic cash crop farm run by Dan Konzelmann and his family. Dan transitioned to organic farming in 1999 and since then, has learned much about the importance of maintaining good soil quality in producing healthy crops. He has been working with Dave deVries for the past 11 years. Dan keeps coming back to Agriculture Solutions because he says "they have good products and people to talk with. They provide products in liquid form which is an organically available source to plants. The nutrients don't wash away due to the carbon and humates. They are seed and plant friendly, especially since there is no acid."
Dan is exactly right. Humates act as a chelator (or "claw") to hold onto positively charged nutrient ions in the soil so they can't leach away. Humates have the largest capacity to hold nutrients of any other material. This is why a soil that is high in organic matter also has a high CEC or Cation (positively charged ion) Exchange Capacity. Dan notices the biggest difference on new fields. When he rents a new piece of land, it is common that there is hardly any microbial life present in the soil. The ground seals off and 'stuff' just washes away. With a combination of cover crops, a long crop rotation and fertilizer from Agriculture Solutions, the water holding capacity goes up and the ground becomes looser as the microbe population in the soil increases. Dan loves using red clover as a cover crop to stabilize nitrogen for the next crop but he also uses oats. The fields go through a seven year crop rotation preferably in the order of soybeans, peas, spelt, barley, corn, soybeans, and the seventh year is laid to rest.
So, what makes Dan successful? Dan applies three tons of compost to the acre in the fall before plowing to increase organic matter and nutrient supply in the soil. Then, TrueBlend organic starter is applied with the seed during planting acting as 'a mother's nurturing milk' for the seedling to grow. When time allows, a foliar mixture is later applied. With these three key program components, Dan and his neighbours have seen a positive improvement to both the health of the soil and crop.
Due to the increase in microbial activity, the earthworm population in the soil has increased on the fields worked by Konzelmann Farms, Inc. This contributes to the nutrient supply, friability and irrigation in the soil. There is also a noticeable difference in weed pressure from transitional fields because there is a better balance of soil minerals, especially between phosphorous and potassium. Weeds grow in mineral deficient soils. When soils are no longer deficient, weeds are easier to control.
Another result was noticed in the water holding capacity of the soil. When biological fertilizer is used and there are no tiles, one can still handle water in the fields. Dan has one field in particular that he rents that has just a few random tiles in it. He said there was a major difference that even the land owner noticed. For years, water always used to collect and stand in the field, especially in the spring. Now there are hardly any puddles because the soil soaks it up like a sponge and stores the water in reserve for the dry part of the season.
The importance of soil health and a healthy, active microbial population is crucial to the out-coming yield of any crop and Dan Konzelmann knows it! The greatest yield increase he has noticed has been in organic corn with a 20-40 bushel increase and 5-15 bushel increase in organic soybeans. With the combination of strategic field planning and targeted nutritional fertilizers, Konzelmann Farms, Inc. is able to succeed!
Increased Forage Nutrient Levels (click here)
Arnold Kuepfer of Milverton, Ontario
Forage samples are taken from the harvested feed and analyzed for nutritional content. It is the job of the nutritionist to develop a ration with minerals and vitamins that will provide the animals with all they will need to be healthy, to produce healthy young, and to produce milk at an approved level. The volume and the concentration of the supplements needed depend greatly on the quality and quantity of the feed that has come from the fields. Poor feed means large amounts of supplements, which adds cost and reduces profit and can sometimes be the difference between turning profit or sustaining a loss.
Even though this scenario we describe is common practice to most farmers, some are taking nutrition to a different level. One of these farmers is Arnold Kuepfer. Arnold and his family, run a goat dairy near Milverton, Ontario, where they milk about 170 goats, twice a day in a nice, clean facility. Goats are finicky eaters and, therefore, the family works hard to ensure that the goats get what they like and what they need. The goats are supplied with minerals and supplements, and yet the family feels that there is room for improvement. Arnold wondered if there was some way to improve the quality of their hay he was growing for the herd.
If nutrition is measured by total mineral content, and if the rations are built based on the quality of the forages, than the theory would be that feeding with better quality forages would reduce the need for supplemental nutrition in the form of vitamin and mineral supplements.
Theory proved true in practice on Arnold Kuepfer's farm. It all started when Arnold called Agriculture Solutions to see what could be done to improve the quality of his alfalfa forage. By studying the alfalfa analysis, and by looking at the supplements that he was providing to the herd, we were able to put a program together of 90+ nutrients that included calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and selenium, that Arnold foliar fed to his hay field about 10 days after his first cutting.
2012 was a very dry year, making moisture, or the lack thereof, a major limiting factor in growing healthy crops. This was no different at the Kuepfer farm. Due to the lack of rain, the treated field did not produce a second cutting with large volume. However, the calcium level and relative feed value of the forage rose quite dramatically to nearly double that of the first cut. After the second cutting, the field finally got the rain that was needed to allow full nutrient uptake as is evidenced by comparing the nutrient levels from the first, second, and third cuttings.
The brix reading on the third cutting at full bloom was between 17 and 19. For comparison purposes, the average brix reading on forage is around 8. In addition, the refractometer reading was very cloudy, indicating high levels of calcium in the plant sap. The mineral concentrations were higher and were more balanced on the third cutting when compared to the first and second cutting. Micro nutrient content also showed improvement. Higher mineral content leads to higher brix which enables more complete fermentation. When mineral content is higher, moisture content is lower. An environment of lower moisture will allow less mold to grow.
Insect Resistant Greenhouse Tomatoes (click here)
Mark Martin of Lindsay, Ontario
Crop: Greenhouse Tomatoes
During the London Farm Show we received the first phone call from Mark regarding the tomato crop growing in his greenhouse. He was having some difficulties getting rich green colour into his plants. Upon visiting him we learned that every year his plants seem to take off well for the first few weeks, but after about five weeks they start looking weak, their colour takes on a pale green, and growth is slowed to a crawl or is completely stunted. When tested, Brix levels are reported between 7-9, but never higher than 9. Mark would switch his fertility products around every few weeks depending on how the plants seemed to be responding.
Goats Ate Less and Produced Better Milk (click here)
Successful Dairy Goat Farmer of Cameron, Ontario
Crop: Alfalfa for Dairy Goats
This successful dairy (goat) farmer foliar fed his Alfalfa field after the second cut, but did not physically see a response in the plants while they were growing, due to the fact that they did not receive enough rain. When they started feeding the hay to his goat dairy herd however they saw two big responses. The first was a major reduction in the volume of feed that the goats were consuming. The second was an increase in the components of the milk.
To most Dairy farmers, the success and the health of their milking herd depends on good management. The animals are housed in a facility that provides ample sun light, fresh air, fresh water, and a well-balanced diet. In order to achieve this "well-balanced" diet, it is customary to consult with a nutritionist.
Mark agreed to try some of our foliar products. Shortly after applying a limited program, he started to see improvements including his brix levels going up. We got a call on May 3rd from Mark saying, "You wouldn't believe it, but I have aphids in my greenhouse eating my weeds but not touching my tomato plants". The brix level had climbed to 11. We had him check the brix levels on the weeds just for fun. They were at 3. He said that his plants, and the fruit they were producing, had never looked this good. In October we met with Mark and he said, "Agriculture Solutions, do you have a solution for TOO MANY tomatoes". Apparently, his plants would just not stop producing...not just high quantity, but also good quality fruit.