MINOT – Many people long to grow and eat organically, but it can be very hard to grow organic food.
James Rogers, extension forage crop production specialist at the North Central Research Extension Center, spoke of how organic material in the ground can solve several crop problems.
“I was looking for the answers to these issues and, lo and behold, I found it. Do you know what the answer was? Apply 30 to 40 times of organic matter to per acre,” laughed Rogers.
While admitting it would not be practical to do that, Rogers explained a method of producing organic matter over time.
“We can change that but it’s going to take time and patience,” said Rogers. “One of the things we can do is get perennials out and get a living root in the ground year-round as much as we possibly can. How do we utilize these acres to not just be here growing forage on top of it, how do we get some profit? Remember that there’s a difference between yield on one side compared to the other side.”
Rogers spoke of how grazing can be good for the matter.
“Grazing in these small areas may not always be practical, but if you can graze these areas and get nutrients back into the soil, that’s a way to build organic material over time,” Rogers explained. “If we can graze, it’s nutrient cycling to put that down back onto the ground. Using perennials is a way to keep a root in the ground and produce organic matter over time.”