At Brite Creek we are raising our pastured beef, chicken, laying hens and vegetables to feed our family and yours. Our goal is for the farm to be sustainable! But what does sustainable mean? Well for most business it means making a profit and a farm is no different no matter how romantic we want it to be. In farming terms, it is used to describe a farm that is doing its best to promote the long-term health of its soils, crops and livestock through management practices that have an eye on the future. We are not only considering this year’s harvest but the harvests for years to come. The foundation for all good sustainable farms is the soil! So, let’s start here.
Soil or dirt is another world! There are millions of microscopic organisms that live in our soils. These organisms do everything from giving more nutrients, break down plant tissue to lesson compaction and increase water infiltration. The promotion of their health directly effects the wellbeing and diversity of our soils. Most synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers have a negative effect on these microorganisms. This is a one reason we do not use them. We are focused on building healthy soil ecosystems by cover and rotational cropping, planting a diversity of plant species in our pastures, tillage practice that maintain soil structure causing less disruption to the microorganism ecosystem, rotational grazing and more. Healthy soils mean a healthy farm.
Many believe that animals, specifically cattle, are not a benefit for the soil. This is not true. Range animals like cattle or bison have always served a purpose in the soil health where they graze. The large bison herds of the west grazed as mobs moving quickly and eating everything. The size of the herds created competition for food so individual animals ate everything in site including weeds before moving on. What they did not eat their hooves trampled into the soil where our friends, the microorganisms, could breakdown and turn old plant material into nutrients for the new ones. We are trying to create this same effect with our mob grazing grassfed beef herd. Pastures are broken up into small sections where the cattle are moved daily. There is competition for food, so they eat everything and trample the rest creating food for the microorganisms and returning over 80% of the nutrients back into the soil. We are hoping our microorganism will manufacture the rest.