Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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Save Your Own Seed - Grow Open Pollinated Corn

Corn
Reducing off the farm inputs can be accomplished in many different ways. One of the ways we are expanding on this is by growing open pollinated corn. I blogged here about the small pasture we were running pigs on to take off the grass, root up the soil and then we would plant corn. You can read that blog here.

Once the hogs grazed the grass down and then began to root it up and eat the roots off the grass we got ready to move them. In this case we moved them the trailer for a short trip to see the butcher.

 I then tilled the field  and waited about a week  for any seeds to germinate. I then cleaned out one of our buildings we had kept hogs in all winter. We kept them in a building all winter so we could collect the manure for this project.

 I kept them deeply bedded with straw. Two reasons for this; one was to keep the nutrients in the manure locked up with carbon, and two, I think hogs laying around in mud and manure is a recipe for sickness not to mention poor farming.

 So we ending up with a bunch of manure with lots of decomposing straw mixed in. I then spread this on the previously tilled soil and worked it in.

This gave the soil a big nutrient boost and a good amount of organic matter or humus. We then planted an old variety of open pollinated corn.




Open Pollinated Corn

Here's a definition of open pollinated corn from openpollinated.com

 “Open Pollinated”  is a horticultural term meaning that the plant will produce seeds naturally. When these seeds are planted they will reliably reproduce the same plant as the parent. On the other hand, hybrid corn is the result of controlled pollination of inbred plants. These seeds are often sterile, and if they do germinate, will not reliably produce the same plant as the parent. This means the farmer has a perpetual reliance on the seed companies.

 Being able to save seed is a big plus in my book however the good news doesn't stop there, open pollinated corn is typically 11 to 14 percent crude protein whereas hybrid corn comes in at around 6 to 7 percent.

 I have read claims that open pollinated corn picks up substantially more minerals than conventional corn. I've not seen any scientific evidence to support this claim but perhaps it exists. I have had several farmers tell me it can deplete your soil of nutrients as it is a "heavy feeder" which tells me it's taking nutrients from the soil and  I think that's a good thing.

The crop is almost ready and doing a quick and dirty yield test tells me the yield is around 193 bushels per acre. Now keep in mind this test pot is about a 1/4 of an acre.

I would be pleased with 100 plus bushels per acre on a larger scale.

Along with the manure, I also placed the equivalent of 3 gallons per acre of  Growers Mineral Solution in the seed band when planted and then foliar sprayed it twice before it tassled.

Over all, I am very pleased with the Growers Mineral Solution and open pollinated corn. We plan to plant enough corn to eliminate purchasing corn from off farm sources.

Until next time....

Spring Hill Farms




 
 
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