Local farming gets a little hard when it comes to fertilizing The Durango Herald printed a story yesterday on hay production in La Plata County- Chasing Nature. I found it interesting to hear how a local farmers woes really relates to the rising cost of fertilizer.
As taken from Chasing Nature- “It’s early spring, and the first cutting of hay on John Baughman’s ranch east of Durango is still months away. But work to prepare for that period of intense activity is already under way. Farming is no slam-dunk, Baughman said. He contends with fickle weather, water shortages, fluctuating petroleum prices and pests such as grasshoppers. He perseveres because farming is his life, Baughman said. This year, he is starting the hay season with a special concern – fertilizer. Rising costs… Once the cow manure is evenly spread, Baughman usually applies commercial fertilizer. “Hay production is directly proportional to the amount of fertilizer,” he said. But this year, he is leaning toward omitting the commercial fertilizer because of cost. “It’s all tied to the spike in the price of petroleum,” Baughman said. “A few years ago, I paid $300 a ton for fertilizer. This year, it could jump to $700 a ton.”
So I wonder, what other options are out there for large-scale fertilizing? At the Dance Ranch right now, we are applying Compost Tea, which is a concentrate mixture of dense compost mixed with a little humus that sits and brews over night. We are applying this tea to our garden beds and sprouting seedlings. I wonder if this type of application could be done on a larger scale… yet, not sure about the logistics and mechanics that would have to be in place to support this process?
Wondering how to make compost tea? The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has a great recipe here as well as our local non-profit Turtle Lake Refuge who uses compost tea for local lawn care.