- Crops & Livestock
- Pastures & Hay
- Soil & Water
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- Farm Business Management
- Small Farms, Local Food, and COVID-19
Manure and bedding collects rapidly on most livestock farms, especially in the winter. Instead of pitching the waste out the back of the barn, consider turning the materials into a valuable, usable product. Compost. If an active compost pile is started now, by spring you may be pleasantly surprised with compost that may be incorporated into the vegetable garden or flower bed, applied to pastures or used as mulch.
Composting manure and bedding properly will reduce viable weed seeds and pathogens and create a product that handles more easily and smells much better. Not to mention, the amount of material may be reduced by 50%.
The first step is selecting a location for composting that is away from surface water and wells. Preferably, a place that has a concrete, gravel or compacted soil pad. The location should also be close to the barn for convenience.
Compost piles must be covered in the winter, to exclude excess rain or snow. Ideal moisture content for composting materials is approximately 50 to 60%. The compost should feel like a wrung out sponge. A cover will also help insulate the pile by excluding cold air. If the composting materials get too dry, add some water using a garden hose. A tarp is an easy and inexpensive way to cover the pile.
The size of the compost pile is a factor for success, especially in the winter. A pile needs to have at least 1 cubic yard of material. Larger piles help insulate themselves, as the inside of the pile will be creating heat. As microorganisms decompose manure and bedding, their body heat causes the temperature in the pile to increase. A hot pile will compost much faster than a cold pile. If possible, invest in a composting thermometer. The ideal temperature range for effective composting is 130 to 150 degrees F. At higher elevations or in areas with cold prevailing winds, straw or hay bales placed around the pile will help insulate and protect the compost.
Microorganisms need oxygen to properly decompose materials. Turning or mixing the pile should occur when the internal temperature begins to decrease. Perforated PVC pipes inserted into the piles may also help with air circulation, especially if actively turning the piles isn't an option.
Keeping the carbon to nitrogen ratio (30:1 is best) of composting materials is always important, no matter the time of year. Nitrogen is a nutrient that will be supplied by the manure and urine and carbon is the main element in bedding materials. Using urine soaked bedding, along with manure should compost fairly well. If too much bedding is added to the pile, the composting process will slow down, due to excess carbon resources. Only remove soiled bedding when cleaning the barn.
Composting in the winter is a slower process than when the air temperature is warmer, but it's definitely possible!
In this free introduction course, you will learn what exactly is "urban agriculture," along with essential definitions and concepts to help you get started on this exciting journey!
Throughout this intro course, you will explore some of the scholarly literature in the field of urban agriculture and investigate and record the basic requirements of your single chosen crop.
By the end, you will have a good understanding of urban agriculture and will know if you would like to continue in the series.
This course is part of ourOnline Urban Agriculture Program. Other courses in the series include:
You can take this course by ...Read full story.
This 3-video presentation revisits a live workshop by Susan Schoenian. Learn about SIPM-Sustainable Integrated Parasite Management in Goats and Sheep. Speaker: Susan Schoenian, Sheep and Goat Specialist at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center. She represents the American Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control.
Gastrointestinal parasites of sheep and goats are becoming increasingly resistant to currently available commercial de-wormers. Parasite loads not only reduce performance, but can lead to animal death. When sold, infected animals may spread parasites to other pastures. Learn more sustainable methods at this presentation.
Access these three webinar presentations at the reduced price of $25. The links are listed on your registration confirmation. After you have watched the three presentations, contact Maud ...Read full story.
In this Urban Agriculture Systems online course you'll learn the foundational concepts needed to establish a productive growing space, especially within the confines of an urban environment. In this course, we will work through a number of aspects of site planning and management. You'll do a quick examination of your sites soil, practice fertility adjustment and balancing, and consider how your project fits within its social environment.
After completing this course, you'll be able to:
OSU Dry Farming Project
2020 Virtual Field Tour Series
Save the Dates
Mark your calendars! The 2020 Dry Farm Project field tours will be held on Wednesday mornings at 10:00AM in August and September. There will be nine field tours featuring different elements of the five core projects listed below. View more information and a final schedule once posted.
The Dry Farming Project began in 2013 with case studies of farms in Western Oregon and Northern California (coordinated by Community Alliance with Family Farmers) that dry farm a variety of fruit and vegetable crops. These case studies revealed a suite of management practices that support crop production without supplemental irrigation including: careful timing of tillage, early planting, cultivation or surface ...Read full story.
Enjoy an informative and entertaining look at historic and present-day techniques for extending your garden produce throughout the winter months. We will discuss plans for creating a root cellar, ideas for recycling spaces and containers, and specific conditions for various produce. Resource handouts will be provided, and there will be time for Q & A. Via ZOOM!
Presenter: Brief bio:
Tresa has lived in various climates and remote locations where the use of root cellars determined her quality of life after the autumn harvest and before the productivity of gardens in spring. From Glacier Bay, Alaska, a remote island on the Oregon coast to central Oregon high desert and 10,000-foot elevation in Colorado, she has practiced techniques gleaned from ...Read full story.
In 1980 Jack Gray and Mary Jo Wade started Winter Green Farm just 20 miles west of Eugene, five years later Wali and Jabrila Via joined them and in 2009 long-time employees Chris Overbaugh and Shannon Shipp-Overbaugh a...
Manure and bedding collects rapidly on most livestock farms, especially in the winter. Instead of pitching the waste out the back of the barn, consider turning the materials into a valuable, usable product. Compost. If an active compos...
As summer approaches and the soil dries, forage plants become dormant. Some years in drier areas of Oregon dormancy may begin in the late spring. If you have irrigation rights, your pastures can provide supplemental nutrition even duri...
Gophers are useful animals in the wild as they aerate the soil, eat insects and mix surface soil layers, but they are a nuisance on the farm when conflict surfaces between the farmer and the gopher over land use. Their economic impact...