It has been a great summer at the farm, though very dry. However, with the few storms we had the reservoirs in the mountains kept our ditch water flowing. We were able to update many of the old irrigation ditches at the farm increasing our flood irrigation efficiency. Flood irrigation as opposed to overhead sprinkles really does a great job penetrating deep into the pastures root zone keeping the grass healthy in times of drought stress. It is really noticeable next year when the pastures emerge from their winter dormant period. We also finished fixing up our shop, every farm needs a good shop! This small cinderblock building has a cool story, as legend goes the original farmhouse was destroyed fire many years ago. The only salvaged part of the house was half of its roof, so a small cinderblock building was constructed and the roof section was recycled and acts as our farm shop today.
The dry weather is always tough on plants, only a year old we continued to concentrate on the plants root zone and its establishment. We learned a lot this year especially about the importance of early stringing and Alpha Acid analysis. We will tart hilling the plants this fall to increase the shoot growth for next spring. Through this process we will incorporate our compost that is really looking good. As the brewery mash that we use to supplement the animals diets gets older we do not feed it, we add it to the compost pile. Its high moisture really helps hydrate the compost generating the heat we need for excellent carbon breakdown. Elements freshly added to a compost pile are high in carbon, nitrogen is necessary to breakdown carbon this is why it is important to make sure that what you add to your garden is well composted. If it is not then additional nitrogen will be needed to break down the carbon “stealing “ available nitrogen from your garden plants. This is referred to as the Carbon to Nitrogen Ratio. http://whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/fundamentals/needs_carbon_nitrogen.htm
The cows are great and happily tending to their calves. The heat is never fun for the Black Angus, so they have spent most of their time in the cool shade of the many large cottonwoods we have at the farm. We successfully completed our USDA All Natural Beef Audit this summer. This verifies that we raise all natural NE3 Beef at the Hops and Heifers Farm. The NE3 designation refers to three components that are requires to adhere to, No Antibiotics, No Growth Hormones and No animal Food By products are fed or administer to the animals. The program also requires detailed record keeping of cattle movement, medicine inventories and feeding and vitamin supplement regiment.
Our Berkshire Pork program will be in full swing by the end of October with pigs arriving to the farm along with a pregnant sow from Zimmerman Pork in Hotchkiss Colorado. Special Thanks to Rick Zimmerman for all his help and guidance. We will continue to work with our Chef Mr. Jason Rogers to enhance our restaurants menus with the best tasting freshest products locally available.