[Market-farming] Iowa funding opportunity

Rick Hopkins rdhopkins at americanpasturage.com
Fri Nov 28 12:31:36 EST 2003

For all who are interested in the pastured vegetable project I am doing, the
main objective is chemical free pasture renovation to reduce the effects of
endophyte infected tall fescue on ruminant meat animals.  There is some
inherent fertility in permanent pastures that can help to offset the lack of
irrigation and added nutrients for a one season garden crop.  To accomplish
this I fall till permanent paddocks and plant a winter cover crop of
turnips, wheat, and oats.  These will be grazed throughout the winter and
will be spring tilled with a red clover cover crop.  This crop will be
grazed and tilled in early July for summer planting of warm season
vegetables such as pumpkins, melons, okra, egg plant, etc.  Another winter
annual cover crop follows with pasture grasses sown into the area the next

We also maintain some permanently cultivated strips that use cover crops,
green manure, grazing, pastured poultry, and compost for fertility
management.  All of the produce is raised without chemicals with minimal
pest pressure as long as the plants do not see drought stresses.  No
irrigation is used in this project.

The tilling is done with a 90" Howard Rotovator which is designed as first
pass cultivation in pasture.  Two shallow passes are required to kill the
existing sod which is predominantly K31 tall fescue.  I also have a 6 acre
paddock that is under winter cover with annual rye, wheat, oats, and turnips
that will be seeded in Red River Crab Grass next Spring.  The thin soil in
this paddock will benefit by the green manures and the summer annual will
provide better forage than we have seen with cool season perennial grasses.

The side benefits of this project are increased small farm profit from the
sale of the produce and eggs.  Small livestock operators have spare time
than can be applied to the production and sale of the vegetables which
increases the likelihood that a small livestock operation can be profitable.
With average returns of $6000-$1000 per acre for market garden crops the
limits are on farm labor resources.  I managed almost 1.5 acres this past
season and this was my first year at growing market garden crops.  The
biggest thing I learned is not to plant anything that must be harvested in
July and August.  The heat was too much for me.  The best learning
experience is that seed is cheap compared to the labor and chemicals
required in a more conventional system, so the return is worthwhile.
Another difference is that "real estate" is not much of a concern in a
livestock operation as you only lose the grazing ability during actual crop
production.  The crop residues are grazed after harvest and some manure is
left for incorporation into the soil.

If anyone has more questions I will be glad to answer them.  This project is
being done in conjunction with a Missouri Department of Agriculture
Demonstration Award and  North Central SARE grants.  Results will be
published for both grants.


Rick H.

-----Original Message-----
From: market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of SaladG at aol.com
Sent: Friday, November 28, 2003 6:42 AM
To: market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Iowa funding opportunity

In a message dated 11/27/03 9:26:13 AM Central Standard Time,
rdhopkins at americanpasturage.com writes:

we would like to participate with our pastured vegetable
production system.

Ok I'll bite, what is pastured vegetables ,

Phil from Iowa

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