Knowing Your Roots

Archive for the ‘Soil & Minerals’ Category

Farm Perspectives: Pest Scout helps Reduce Use of Crop Protectants

At Alsum Farms & Produce, our summer weather is finally here and the potatoes are growing fast and are a beautiful thing to see. The reds, whites, and goldens are getting close to row closure and they have started to “hook,” which means they are forming a tuber under the hill. We are seeing marble-sized tubers already and they will be growing fast. Moisture management is critical at this time and we were blessed with a nice rain again this week. The cold wet spring was a problem for the seed pieces, but moisture at this time is a positive as long as we don’t get several inches at one time. We are placing tensiometers in our fields this week to help with monitoring soil moisture. This is one of many ways that we try to make sure we are using best practices to conserve and properly manage our water usage.

Our pest scout position is another valuable tool in our IPM and best practices for potato growing. (more…)

Farm Perspectives: What the Wind Throws Our Way

WindThe Central Sands can get pretty windy, and wind is one of many natural forces farmers have to contend with every day. Wind presents two main problems for farmland: it displaces irrigation water and can cause wind erosion to fields. As a result, farms must adjust their practices to address these issues.

When it comes to irrigation, wind can blow water away from the field and crops. Using new technology is the easiest way to avoid applying excess water that will only be blown off the fields and wasted. (more…)

Farm Perspectives: Keeping an Eye on Water Quality

Water QualityNow that most of our seed has made its way below the soil, it is time once again to bring water issues to the forefront of our minds. The clean, readily available water in the central sands region of our state is key to the production of the valuable potato crop each and every year. The quality of the water that is applied to our potatoes and other vegetables has always been minded with great care not only for us here at Okray Family Farms, but for all growers in the central Wisconsin area as well. (more…)

Thoughts for Food: Restoring Natural Ecosystems on Farms

Blog 18Spring is a beautiful time, with flowers blooming and color returning to our landscapes.  In farming regions, color is returning as well in the form of diverse habitats and native landscapes.  In an effort to “restore natural ecosystems,” the potato growers of Central Wisconsin and the International Crane Foundation of Baraboo, WI have formed a collaboration to manage the participating farms as whole ecosystems. (more…)

Thoughts for Food: Keeping the Soil Where it Belongs!

When the warm winds blow from the south in late March, it is a sure sign of spring! While it might be welcome to many, it can be a big problem for the vegetable growers in Central Wisconsin. The winds can easily pick up small grains of sand from bare soil and blow them from the carefully tended fields—this may be of little consequence in a place like the Sahara desert but it cannot be tolerated in the Central Sands where the farmers spend lifetimes building the soil to the structure and health needed to grow quality vegetables. So what can they do? (more…)

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