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Slow Tractor Farm Looks Back on 2013

Slow Tractor Farm has had a season of lessons learned – read on for their new thoughts and ideas on crop rotation and intercropping…

At Slow Tractor Farm we had a great learning year in 2013 and are looking forward to using the lessons learned for a successful 2014. In 2013, we took on more acreage and tried planting several new grain crops, the main two being corn and soybeans. Although you wouldn’t think this to be a likely candidate of crops for us, we are an organic farm and need to plant other crops besides our beloved barley and wheat to combat disease, build soil fertility and promote biodiversity. Although we did our best, our yields were low on these crops, and the level of effort was high. However, in a year where much of the grain crop in the Northeast was affected by fusarium head blight (aka vomitoxin), our grain crop harvested well and yields were consistent with previous years.

Moving forward in 2014, our focus will be on increasing our small grains (wheat & barley) yields as well as being able to market our crops grown on GFN fields as certified organic. We are also trying to streamline our rotation to make it more suitable for our strengths of growing grains. One of the ways we are doing this is by working with other established organic vegetable growers, so we can integrate our crop rotation into theirs, similar to what we are doing with Crimson & Clover on the Main Field. On the East Field we will be working with a farmer to grow squash while we will be planting a crop of small grains on one of their former squash plots. This year, in addition to barley and wheat, we will be growing buckwheat and dried beans.

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