I Screwed Up –
And Lost Sight of My BMP's
It has once again been a busy week. I let writing a post go to the last minute. So, I went into my files and found a piece I had written a while back when I might have been frustrated and upset about a few things. Thinking it was kind of fitting, considering earlier this week I had seen some things on social media and had some conversations that frustrated me. I thought what the heck, why not add to what I already wrote and put it out there for everyone to read. I spent my Sunday afternoon editing and adding a few pictures. I may have included more terse remarks about the industry. There may be the possibility I even used the phrase ‘narcissist ego driven jackass.’ I realize that's a bit harsh on my part, sorry. And then, I hit the publish button. Oh yeah, when I do stuff, I do it.
Instantly I came to my senses and deleted it. I wish. Truth, my husband sat me down and explained somethings to me. Only then did I delete it.
I am extremely grateful for his wisdom and the fact he is willing to talk some sense into me on occasion. He helped me realize I was not following my own Best Management Practices; otherwise known as BMP's that I have established to run my business. Did it feel good to have some reckless abandon and let it all hang out so to speak? You bet! However, it serves no good for myself, my clients, or the people I would like to help. Nor would it help me achieve my ultimate goal.
So late last night I had to come up with a new topic. I was pretty upset I had wasted a whole day for nothing and kept thinking if I had just stayed on course following the objectives I already set out for how I want to operate I would have avoided all that from happening. If I had followed BMP's, I wouldn’t have had to get up early this morning to re-write the entire thing.
Am I human and screw up occasionally? Yes
However, it is much easier to get back on course when you have a set of guidelines or Best Management Practices to follow.
Farming is no different. It is far to easy to listen to the latest and greatest trends, getting off course from time to time. However, if you determine your BMP's , all your choices will have a base from which you operate and help guide you towards reaching your ultimate goal, even if you stray occasionally.
five essential BMP’s important to consider in any farming operation-
Reduce Compaction – All this means is controlling the amount of traffic in a field or the area you are planting in. Compacted soil leads to poor drainage, inhibited root growth, and an overall decline in plant health and yield. Create walkways or roads to be efficient and help to reduce the number of passes you have to make through a permanent bed or a field. I’ve read statistics showing that 90% of a field can be compacted by normal field activities due to conventional tillage. I know me just walking all over my garden can cause issues, but impacting anywhere up to 90%, that brings huge implications.
Incorporate Cover Crops – Cover crops are beneficial by for several reasons. They add organic matter, reduce erosion, help fix nitrogen, improve drainage and soil structure issues. They can also be used to suppress weeds and disease problems. Some may be able to be used as a cash crop as well.
The best resource I have found for information on cover cropping is at-
Manage Crop Rotations – It’s succession planting, and just like the rest of the BMP’s one can implement them on any scale. Use crops that make sense for your farming system, climate, and soil. The idea of crop rotations is as old as farming is, however with all the added complexities of modern farmer we seem to have gotten stuck in either no rotations or repeating the same rotations depending on your situation. Rotating through a diversified group of crops helps with soil nutrient management, insect and disease-related issues, weed issues, and has been shown to have a positive effect on the diversity and health of naturally occurring soil biology.
Nutrient Management- is the implementation of the 4R Principles I have covered in Weeks 6 and 14 here-
Managing nutrients will not only have a financial benefit not having to invest as much in inputs; the environmental implication will be beneficial as well.
The following are fundamental concepts to keep in consideration when developing soil fertility management strategies-
-Having a soil test done
-Determine recommended amounts of nutrients needed to produce the desired yields
-Take into account other nutrient sources such as cover crops and manures
-Take into account previous field history such as crops and previously applied amendments & fertilizers
Tillage – The best definition of tillage I have come across is; it is the mechanical modification of soil structure. Tillage can be used to suppress weeds, prep seedbeds, incorporate manure, amendments & fertilizers, and previous crop residue. However, it can be destructive to soil structure causing compaction, erosion, and overall soil health issues if not managed carefully. It is a management decision a farmer has to make based on their unique situation. No-till is not for everyone nor is conventional tillage.
Just as any business or organization has to have management strategies to follow keeping them on track, so does your farm.