Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fertility Systems: Mixed Power and Compost

On-farm fertility, that sacred process of returning nutrients back to soil, is the headwater of sustainable farming. Here, students learn how to work with the tractor and manure spreader to bring our compost from our storage pit out to a windrow for the finishing process. At Sterling, kitchen scraps, bedding, manure, and other organic residuals are placed into a storage pit, turned, cured, then returned to the gardens to rebuild the edaphic environment of the soil ensuring a healthy crop yield next year. As a part of the Agriculture Power course, students learn how to work tractors and associated implements to do the critical traction work on the farm. Coupled with draft animals, tractors compliment our work defining a true mixed power system. In the fall, students enrolled in Draft Horse Management will use the tractor to load the horse-drawn manure spreader then drive the horses with the spreader attached to the gardens for application.

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