Reducing farm inputs, such as fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides, while maintaining farm profitability and bountiful wildlife populations.
The main objective of CWH’s Sustainable Agriculture programis to demonstrate the compatibility of profitable farming bordered by appropriately-sized, enduring natural ecosystems. The program’s ultimate goal in row crop production is organic no-till. Specifically, the program involves the elimination of farming practices that are known to have a harmful effect upon the environment (e.g., soil erosion, nutrient pollution, insecticides, residual herbicides, and carbon release) and the implementation of wildlife-friendly and agronomically-benign practices. These would include crop rotations, integrated pest management (IPM), managed buffer strips, soft edges and hedgerows, for example. It is much easier and less costly to reduce the application rate, or eliminate the use, of a pesticide than to clean it up once it has entered the ground or surface water.
In 2008, CWH continued to improve and refine its demonstration that agricultural profitability and wildlife habitat can be interwoven and that a biologically-based farming system is an enduring one. The many coveys of quail on CWH’s 540-acre Barnstable Hill Farm on Kent Island attest to this fact. The management plan for Barnstable Hill includes an annual soil test and bi-monthly monitoring of each crop, during the growing season, for weed and insect levels. Also, CWH is able to lime (hi-CAL only to maintain a good Ca:Mg ratio) and fertilize according to soil types; using its nutrient management plan as a guide according to anticipated crop yields based on previous years’ data. This practice allows CWH to use the optimum amount of fertilizer and the most appropriate means of weed control. At Barnstable Hill Farm, CWH has continued to not use insecticides or residual herbicides. Insects are controlled through crop rotation and delayed planting. Weeds are controlled with no-till cultivation, wick bar and non-residual herbicides, including natural animal fatty acids.
CWH’s farming system also includes wildlife food plots of sunflowers and corn, as well as winter small-grain cover crops that wintering geese enjoy.
If you would like more information about CWH’s Sustainable Agriculture Program,
please call Robin at 410-822-5100.