Excellent crop year despite the extremely dry conditions.Our soil is heavy clay based so the moisture content holds up during these type of conditions. Oat,wheat and buckwheat crops were the best ever covering approximately 30 acres.Potato varieties (Russet, Kenebec and Red Pontiac) had the best yields in all our years here. The rest of our vegetable production did just as well. The only disappointment were the fruit trees which did poorly for the first time exception being the pear tress for some reason.
Cattle and Sheep were doing okay on pasture until August where we had to start feeding hay,which normally does not start til November really.
We hatched and sold a fair number of purebred Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks this year,we also went to a pasture based location with predator fencing for the first time for our layers which is far superior to our Chicken Tractor we tried for a couple of years. Pigs were on pasture paddocks as well which is our usual method of summer quarters.
Biggest news on the farm for 2017 is the decision to drop our Certified Organic designation,and not a lightly made decision either.Nothing wrong with the organizations we have dealt with,but we have found that the process is cumbersome,expensive and time consuming for our small operation. The checks and balances to ensure the rules are followed are still evolving and need attention to give the public the knowledge and satisfaction that the products are indeed following the protocols laid out by CFIA. We have been involved with the organic movement since the late 80's with different groups and organizations and these people are dedicated to the principles of clean agricultural practices and we applaud them.
Organic farming is nothing new,until the beginning of the 20th century everyone farmed this way,there was no other way to do it. Our generation became concerned with the release of Rachael Carson's book Silent Spring and a lot of people became wary of the new products that agriculture embraced to the point where questions about everything from cancer concerns to animal welfare became mainstream.
Anyway,that topic has lots of info out there and everyone has to make up their own mind about it. So, we cannot use the organic or certified organic wording in our operation...and rightly so.....and we are in the midst of exploring our options as we have no intention of abandoning our farming practices.
Just an update on our search for an organization that better suits our Farm.
We have applied for certification of Bunkerhillfarm with a new (to us) organization called "Certified Naturally Grown"
We will take you through the process as we finish the application procedure as we will be looking at certifying the entire farm operation. That means livestock,produce honey bees,grains and forages, as well as the maple syrup.