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 Post subject: Wholesale Organics
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 11:58 am
Posts: 2
Location: Plano,TEXAS
We bought a 50 acre farm and would like to grow hay and other crops organically. Are there wholesalers in DFW area where we can purchase large quantatities of soil amendments? Our soil test and analysis recommends lots of rock phosphate, elemental sulfur etc. and we'll definitally go broke if we have to buy retail.

Thanks for any input.


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 Post subject: Wholesale
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 8:12 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 6:00 pm
Posts: 219
Location: Hubbard,TEXAS
I second the recommendation of Rabbit Hill Farm near Corsicana. We just picked up an order from them--e.g., a pallet of lava sand. Joann is great to work with.

Some products are cheaper at the feed store, e.g., DE, molasses (liquid and dry), humate.

We've had the same problem--200 acres needing lots of help. Cover crops (legumes, etc) may be a cheaper way to help the soil. I'm currently researching this. The first thing we did was apply 1/2 ton of fine lime per acre. The lime is advertised as KMag and comes from the Hill Country. The trucking cost is more than the lime cost! Then it has to be spread. We hired this done.

Although I've been a ground crew member/organic advocate for several years, I've only found this Dirt Doctor Forum recently. You're fortunate to have the use of this info from the beginning!

pakin


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 Post subject: Large quanities...
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 3:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
Bluestem & Karakiz -
Don't you guys have a north Texas farmer's coop to turn to?
I hear tales from the east TExas bunch that theirs sure helps with large volume purchases, including molasses, and I'd think sulfur too.

Check with Robert Bard - he just might know. The truth is shipping/trucking is more expensive than most products these days.
CAN ANYONE SAY BIODIESEL?

Good luck!
Kathe


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 Post subject: Farmer's Coop
PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 12:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
Ooh yeah, I LOVE biodiesel. It has its detractors, and I'm not so crazy about ethanol (need more information) but biodiesel makes way too much sense to me. If anyone else wants serious info on this subject, go to www.biodiesel.org and be amazed at how much is already around you. I can't imagine why all the farmers aren't just hitting the PAC's right and left to promote this. Our north Texas skies would be so much better off if we could get the big rigs, buses and city vehicles to switch. I could sure go with 70% reduction of harmful emissions.

I've been driving the heck out of my Prius the last 2.5 years and it always makes me feel so good when I don't have to buy so much fuel and know that it's putting out a fraction of the air pollutants my old car did. The technology is great but much more specific. Biodiesel can be used by so many folks without modifying their engines RIGHT NOW.

Kathe :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 12:13 am 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
Right off the bat I would completely disregard the soil test UNLESS it was done by K Chandler at Texas Plant and Soil Lab. The red flag was the phosphate but needing sulfur is a mistake if you want to be organic. Sulfur will raise your pH but there are millions of acres in Texas growing all kinds of hay without an ounce of added sulfur. The larger problem with sulfur is that it is a nonselective antifungal agent. It will wipe out your population of beneficial soil fungi and leave you with a pure clay cap that might extend inches below the surface.

I'd suggest getting your seed out and spraying with compost tea. The first spray of the season would go down at 20 gallons per acre and the three others would go down at 5 gallons per acre. The cost to make 1,000 gallons of tea for your first spray should be about $30.00.

You could also do 4 sprays of unsulfured molasses at a rate of 1 gallon per acre.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 11:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 11:58 am
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Location: Plano,TEXAS
Thank you for all your valuable input everyone. The soil test and analysis was done at the Texas Soil Lab. The phosphate and sulfur was recommended by them in addition to few other ammendments. I make aerobic compost tea in a 10 gal. bucket for my back yard gardening in Plano, however I don't have the equipment to make in large quantities. Last time I looked, 100 gal brewer was $3000.00 +. If I can find a large brewer for a reasonable price, I'll buy it for our farm. I priced the commercial producers of compost teas but unfortunately, they want arm-and-a-leg to come out to Fanning county and spray our farm. Does anyone have any ideas?


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 Post subject: Compost Tea
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 6:54 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 6:00 pm
Posts: 219
Location: Hubbard,TEXAS
Just yesterday I visited with a lady who uses a horse trough with 4 large
aquatic pumps for her compost tea. She has made three round wire cages to hold the compost. She places one pump in each cage and the fourth in the water nearby.

She has a large water tank on a trailer and sprays her pasture 4Xs/year.

Pat Akin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 8:42 am 
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Joined: Sat May 03, 2003 10:48 am
Posts: 241
Location: Arlington
A couple 55 gallon drums, some air pumps and these instructions by Dchall should make you a pretty inexpensive tea brewer:

http://dchall.home.texas.net/organic/teamaker/

Also, this is a good earlier topic on teas:

http://www.dirtdoctor.com/forum/viewtop ... er&start=0


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2005 11:21 pm 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
I'm so glad I mentioned Texas Plant and Soil Lab before you did :lol: :lol:

Okay I'm going to go in a different direction. I'm going to suggest a good forage clover or other nitrogen fixing legume to take care of your soil fertility. But first call back to K Chandler and ask him if you need anything special for clover.

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 Post subject: Legume
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 7:51 am 
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Location: Hubbard,TEXAS
Dchall, how do you prep to overseed the legume cover crop? What would work for a pasture?

Pat Akin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 8:59 am 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
If you have 50 acres why not put some cattle and/or goats and chickens out to pasture to prep your soil? Check with your local cattle producers to find out how many acres per animal unit your land should support and try that. If you have brush, too, you might get away with one goat per animal unit along with the cattle. Same for the chickens. The action of the animals' hooves will prepare the soil for you and the manure doesn't hurt either. Chickens will pick the manure apart looking for parasite larvae. As they do they spread the manure around more than the animals do.

My going in position would be to put 5 cow/calf pairs, 5 goats, and 5 chickens out. I would use electric fence to make 15 pastures, roughly 3 acres each, and keep the animals all penned together for 3 days to a week moving from one pasture to the next in rotation. That will bring you back to the first pasture in about 3 months which is enough time for grass to grow back in. If you want to grow wheat, you could throw wheat seed in before you bring the cattle in and let them plant the wheat with their hooves. Hmmm. I wonder if the chickens would eat the wheat seed. Hmmmm. Bet they would. You could try the above leaving the chickens out and hoping dung beetles will come to take care of your manure piles. Or you could go out every day and claw through the still-moist piles with a rake to spread them out. Of if you don't seed with the wheat now, you could keep the chickens. The eggs are soooo good, and even if you don't use them, they make great gifts or barter with neighbors or business associates. And as a retirement plan for the livestock, you slaughter them and collect money. Sure beats paying someone else to do a worse job.

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 Post subject: 50 acres
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 6:30 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 31, 1969 6:00 pm
Posts: 219
Location: Hubbard,TEXAS
I think we're back to square one...costs! 5 cows/calf, maybe $4000-$5000, plus goats & chickens. Fencings not cheap, even if you do it yourself.

If you buy equipment for a brewer, you still have to have a sprayer...

Pat Akin


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