Ranging Poultry on Temporary Pasture – An Integrated Poultry and Vegetable System
This year the four corners of each plot were marked with stakes. Soil samples, three from each plot, were taken and sent to the different laboratories (the nematode lab, MSU field test lab, and Bio-Systems lab.) Vegetables were planted in the appropriate plots and observed. Soil test data was collected as it came from the laboratories. –An additional plot was created and tested, as another control, using funds saved by being in a consulting contract with Bio-Systems (versus just soil testing.) The reason for the additional plot is that it will give additional information that the other controls will not (it was in vegetables in 2007.) –Another addition to the original plan was that Plot 2 was changed to having chickens grazing on it twice during the 2008 year, because it seemed that the one grazing period was not much of a dose of manure to the land; this decision was based on observation of the area, and a lack of a large difference between Plot 1 and Control 1 soil test results (discussed more in question 2.)
Two main indicators used in this study are the multiple soil test analysis and the observation of vegetable growth and health in the plots. There were differences in the data for Plot 1 and Control 1, but whether those differences are significant or not needs to be determined (after the next round of tests, all the collaborators on this project will discuss the data.) The phosphorus for Plot 1 was at 126 parts per million, versus 87 ppm for Control 1. The potassium was at 201 ppm, versus 170 ppm for the control. The mg was at 154 ppm versus 112 ppm, and the nitrate-N was at 16 ppm versus 8 for the control.
WORK PLAN FOR 2009
Next year is when the most important test will be taken, between Plot 2 and Control 2. Plot 2 was ranged with chickens twice. I will take soil tests again in June when the ground warms to about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. We will plant vegetables in the appropriate plots, and observe their growth. The soil test information will be gathered and sent to the collaborators, and I will meet with them and discuss the findings. I will put together the results of the discussions to make the final report.
All the information sharing will take place this next year (2009). The field day will be this coming June or July. After the final report is made, I will send it to the different disseminators listed in the grant proposal. I will write an article to be sent to the publications listed in the grant proposal. Also, I will ask for a spot to present at the different educational conferences listed in the proposal.