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This report relates the Kerr Center’s experiences with small-scale farming and gardening tools during a decade of bio-extensive management on the Cannon Horticulture Plots. Tools evaluated include spades, digging forks, broadforks, hoes, and more.
Tired of the same old, same old? Try it a different way in May!
This month’s president’s note reports on how researchers at the University of Arkansas are moving table grapes into high tunnels to escape pests – with promising results so far.
Why sit around the sale barn when you can sell your cattle on TV? We explain what the Kerr Center livestock program gains from that approach.
Similarly, why make compost the old-fashioned way when worms can do it faster and more effectively? The Kerr Center has videos to show you the ropes.
Lastly, why limit pollinator plantings to wildflowers, when there are plenty of trees and shrubs that can play a valuable part? Our guide can help you select the best species for your location.
As summer looms, many thoughts turn to water. For this month’s issue, we focus on some farm- and ranch-related aspects of that life-giving liquid.
We highlight a report full of advice on how to protect the ecological benefits of streamside vegetation from thirsty livestock.
Next, we focus in on one way to achieve that, by putting watering points in more pastures.
Finally, we point to the results of an heirloom sorghum variety trial – which included assessing the crop’s resistance to a tropical storm!
But first of all, check out David Redhage’s advice on trying new crops.
This time of summer, we can look with satisfaction out over the horticulture plots’ “green fallow” of warm-season cover crops, keeping the soil shaded and sheltered, as well as weeded and nourished, despite the hot, dry weather.
We’ve just published former Kerr Center Horticulture Manager George Kuepper’s updated account of his nine-year effort developing that bio-extensive rotational system on the Cannon Horticulture plots. (Kuepper was also recently recognized for his work as an OMRI panel reviewer.)
Two new labeling programs reward farmers and ranchers for just such conservation-friendly practices. Perhaps one would be a good fit for your operation?
Continuing last month’s summer focus on water issues, we explain how the Kerr Ranch uses gravity to carry water from ponds to pastures.
It’s August, and we’re as keen as anyone else to keep out of the sun.
In this issue, we focus on how to do the same thing for crops and livestock, with features on:
– portable shade structures for cattle,
– “sunscreen” to avert sunscald in tomatoes, and
– interesting results from a study of shade’s effects on animal performance in silvopasture.
This month, David Redhage also shares his impressions of a new book about creatures that are most noticeable in the dark.
Fall has arrived, and school bells are ringing – so for this issue, we’re taking a back-to-school slant.
David Redhage has been out teaching about increasing and conserving pollinator habitat. We share a presentation on establishing native pollinator plants organically that he gave on a recent NRCS webinar.
Our Beginning Farmer & Rancher training program brought many farmers back into the classroom. Though it wrapped up four years ago, it was so popular that we still regularly field inquiries about it. Though the trainings themselves are no longer offered, the resources are all still available free online – books, reports, fact sheets, presentations, videos, and more, from both horticulture and livestock tracks.
But first, revisit the native prairie site of this past spring’s controlled burn, and take in some fresh photos of how the wildflowers fared on it.
The nights are noticeably longer than the days by now, and many farm and ranch activities are being put to rest for the season. With that thought, we’re focusing this issue on tasks for the so-called slack months in the agricultural calendar. (After all, it’s October – and is there anything spookier than the thought of being caught unprepared?)
David Redhage shares an article on something few would’ve even thought to plan for: a long-term decline in the nutritional value of pollinators’ pollen food source.
We report on our latest hoophouse workshop, held earlier this month, and point to a brand new (and free) set of plans for building your own hoop house.
We’ve made updates to our series of pollinator resource guides, and offer a reminder of some valuable resources for helping to decide how to keep cattle fed through the cooler months.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Kerr Center!
This month, David Redhage reviews a book that looks at techniques for restoring soil life in different regions and climates the world over.
We share some of the livestock team’s results from a comparison of cost and nutrition in grazing wheat pastures versus feeding hay.
We also offer an update on the latest uses and design improvements for the Kerr Center’s portable hoop house.
With many of us turning to seed and nursery catalogs to plan next spring’s gardens, it’s a good time for a look at one of our most popular guidebooks to get some ideas for including pollinators in the mix.
Season’s greetings from the Kerr Center!
David Redhage gets this issue rolling with reflections on an article about breeding crops for particular nutritional needs.
The rest of this month’s newsletter is given over, as usual, to a look back at the year gone by to register progress made in each of our main program areas. It’s a chance to check in and see what’s been happening with our conservation, livestock, and horticulture projects – as well as what directions they’ll be taking in 2018.
If April showers bring May flowers, now’s the time to learn what to watch for – or plant – in your pollinator gardens. Several recent Kerr Center publications can help – download them all as an Earth Day treat! Then, pass that treat along to pollinators by putting the information to work, giving them a hand by preserving habitat and planting pollinator-friendly plants, trees and shrubs.
The Next Green Revolution is an essential overview of sustainable agriculture: what it means for farmers and everyone else.
This fact sheet shows how sustainable and industrial agriculture compare in relation to the twelve steps of sustainable agriculture.
Seeds of Change offers food and agriculture policy recommendations on a variety of topics for both state and national levels.
This fact sheet gives a brief summary of what customers need to know about issues in organic foods and farming.
This report summarizes food labeling laws, including organic and genetically modified foods, in relation to sustainable agriculture.
The Closer to Home report looks at Oklahoma’ food system from farm to table, asking how we can make our fields and tables healthier.
This publication outlines the origins of organic agriculture, highlighting the concepts that define it as a distinct and sustainable approach to farming.
Sweet Sorghum: Production and Processing, enduringly popular and useful, is now available in an updated second edition! Download or order a copy today!
This report presents the results of our 2012 heirloom sweet potato variety trial.
This report contains an overview of insights and observations from three years of grant-funded investigation of small-scale technologies and techniques for growing sweet potatoes that might benefit gardeners and small market growers.
This report outlines the “bio-extensive” approach to fertility and weed management used on the Cannon Horticulture Plots.
This fact sheet describes how to eliminate bermudagrass from future vegetable fields using a sorghum-sudangrass cover crop.
This presentation gives an extensive overview of setting up an organic farming system.
This is a list, by item, of sources of seeds, tools, and supplies used in the Kerr Center horticulture program.
This is a list of resources and description of basic equipment necessary for soil preparation and seeding in different farming methods.
This report includes guidelines and an organic system plan to help determine whether an organic farming operation meets the USDA standards.
This report describes the demonstration organic market garden planted as a teaching tool for the 2014 Oklahoma Beginning Farmer & Rancher Program.
This is an FAQ-format summary of organic farming for producers considering certification.
This report defines and describes heirloom vegetable varieties and discusses their implications.
This report outlines how to control grasses and weeds, and build soil life, health, and fertility organically, using cover crops and rotations.
This presentation discusses the management of crop pests on an organic market farm.
This handout has guidelines for farmers and sellers at farmers markets to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
This publication describes our project to establish native pollinator plants using organic techniques.
This handout lists various supplies and equipment used in the Kerr Center’s organic horticulture program.
This Oklahoma Producer Grant project fact sheet describes several practices – including permanent sod, limited-access watering points, and buffer strips – to improve water quality in ponds.
This Oklahoma Producer Grant project fact sheet includes a farm/ranch profile, project objectives, project description (water line, watering points, results), and tips/lessons learned.
This report covers site preparation, lime application, fertilization, weed control, legume selection, seed inoculation, estimating establishment costs, grazing management, companion grasses, winter and summer annual and perennial legumes, and pasture surveying.
This presentation covers ways to use grazing rotations and stocking of multiple livestock species to manage parasites in meat goats.
This article describes the implementation and results of two agroforestry projects undertaken on the Kerr Center ranch in the 1990s.
This intern report describes the chicken tractor used in the Kerr Center’s pastured poultry projects from 2009-2010.
This paper, by a former Kerr Center intern, explores the pros and cons of large-scale vermicomposting.
This intern report describes which feedstocks produce the most suitable biochar in a two-barrel biochar retort of a design used at the Kerr Center.
This intern report describes the results of a series of trials designed to determine whether adding different mineral salts affected the quality of biochar produced in a two-barrel retort of a design used at the Kerr Center.
This intern report describes the results of a series of trials designed to determine which materials produce the most suitable biochar in a two-barrel biochar retort of a design used at the Kerr Center.
This report presents the results of our 2011 heirloom sweet potato variety trial.
This report presents the results of our 2012 no-till organic pumpkin/warm season cover crop trial.
This report presents the results of our 2011 flour and meal corn demonstration.
This report provides an overview of the general requirements for organic certification and for food processing facilities, followed by a discussion of four different on-farm enterprises, including table eggs.
This report presents the results of our 2010 grafted heirloom tomato variety trial.
This fact sheet contains information on planting and growing narrow-leaf mountain mint, Pycnanthemum tenuifolium.
Rationale and preliminary results for using cover crops killed in place in raised beds as a low-till market vegetable production system
Brief guide to compliance with the National Organic Standard’s regulations for using manure and manure-compost in certified organic farming operations