Organic Soil Amendments

To improve our soil organically, we amend with naturally occurring substances that are proven to slowly and thoroughly alter the productivity and release their benefit over an extended period of time.  Our primary amendment so far has been lime.  Our soils in the Coastal Plain area of the country are natuarally acidic and require periodic applications o lime.  We have applied between one and two tons/acre to several areas of the farm.  Don’t think we’ll do the two tons again, but we did not see any negative impacts from that application.

For Nitrogen, we primarily utilize the benefits of legumes and the nutrient cycling of the livestock.  We are not fans of conventional chicken litter, so do not leverage this organic source. 

For Phosphorus, we amend with Rock Phosphate.  Recommendations of from 500 to 2000 pounds per acre can be found for Rock Phosphate.  Do to the cost, we apply about 500lb/acre annually on a portion of our land..  Countryside Natural Products sells this for $400/ton.

For Potassium, we amend with Greensand.  500 to 4000 pounds per acre is the recommended application rate.  Due to the cost, we apply about 500 lbs/acre annually of Greensand as well on a portion of our land.  7SpringsFarm sells this for about $500/ton.

We have been getting our soil tested through UGA and our local extension agent.  The tests have been thorough and well put together.  An additional bonus is that they will email them to you so you can save a digital copy.

My next step with soil productivity is to send our soil samples to a Organic Soil Consultant, and get their feedback.  The July 2010 issue of Acres USA had a great article comparing the philosophies of a few different soil consultants.  These experts extol the benefits of calcium, boron, sulfur, and zinc.  We need to learn about these benefits.  Up to this point, our knowledge is limited to NPK and lime.

We will get quotes from Crop Services International (Dr. Phil Wheeler), Kinsey Agricultural Services, Inc. (Neal Kinsey), and Midwestern Bio-Ag (Gary Zimmer).

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