Comparative Analysis of Unpasteurized Organic Milk vs. Organic Fish Emulsion and Kelp as an Organic Fertilizer for Livestock Forages

2012 Annual Report for FNC12-852

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2012: $14,980.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Tom Colonna
Organian Farms LLC

Comparative Analysis of Unpasteurized Organic Milk vs. Organic Fish Emulsion and Kelp as an Organic Fertilizer for Livestock Forages

Summary

WORK ACTIVITIES
Purchased Neptune’s Harvest organic fertilizer, organic forage seeds (we needed to make some minor substitutions due to unavailability of some seed – namely switching brands of perennial rye grass, timothy, and vetch, as well as substituting pea-oatlage for winter triticale), refractometer, and soil compaction meter.

We did not plant the seed as we were awarded this grant in April 2012 and drought conditions set in during June 2012 and persisted throughout the growing season. We purchased and installed a K-Line pasture irrigation system in October 2012 so we can irrigate the test plots during the 2013 growing season. We consulted numerous times with our local USDA/NRCS agents (Gary Noel and Keith Jackson) regarding planting the forage seed (which includes cool season grasses) for this study and they repeatedly recommended we hold off planting until the spring of 2013 and use the K-Line irrigation system to keep the plots properly hydrated throughout the 2013 growing season. We procured access to a John Deere 1590 no-till drill and a Frontier RT2308 102″ Heavy Duty Rotary Tiller that we can use with our John Deere 6420 tractor.

RESULTS
Prior to submitting this study proposal we conducted preliminary research on the use of organic milk by spraying test strips of a fescue-red clover mix in our pastures with organic milk, organic hog manure, and organic fish emulsion (Neptune’s Harvest) in 2011. We took soil samples in 2010 and 2012 and had them analyzed by Perry Agricultural Lab in Bowling Green, MO. A comparison of the soil test results suggests that organic milk and organic fish emulsion increased organic matter and soil nutrients to a similar degree. It appears from these soil tests that both organic milk and organic fish emulsion increased organic matter and soil nutrients to a greater degree than organic hog manure. Interestingly, we observed a significant decrease in crickets in the test strips sprayed with organic milk and a significant increase in crickets in test strips adjacent (either control, organic hog manure, or organic fish emulsion) to those sprayed with organic milk. Furthermore, at the height of the drought in July and August 2012, the test strips sprayed with organic milk were significantly greener in color than the rest of the pastures (which were very brown in July and August 2012). While these preliminary results support anecdotal reports of organic milk as a fertilizer for forage, we look forward to finally being able to perform a well-controlled study in 2013. We spoke on several occasions with Gary Noel and Keith Jackson (both at USDA/NRCS Bowling Green, MO office) about this project, potential planting timeframes, and the effects of the drought.

WORK PLAN FOR 2013
Roto-till twenty-four (24) 100 ft by 200 ft (i.e., half acre) size plots, then no-till drill organic forage seed according to the following:

Plot #, Forage to be grown
1, Certified Organic 4241 Creeping Alfalfa is pre-inoculated with OMRI approved INTX Pre-Vail inoculation fertilized with unpasteurized organic milk
2, Certified Organic Red Star Red Clover fertilized with unpasteurized organic milk
3, Certified Organic Kentaur 4N Perennial Ryegrass fertilized with unpasteurized organic milk
4, Certified Organic Climax Timothy fertilized with unpasteurized organic milk
5, Certified Organic Hairy Vetch fertilized with unpasteurized organic milk
6, Certified Organic Pea-Outlage Mix fertilized with unpasteurized organic milk
7, Certified Organic Kora Tall Fescue fertilized with unpasteurized organic milk
8, Organic 4241 Creeping Alfalfa is pre-inoculated with OMRI approved INTX Pre-Vail inoculation and Certified Organic Red Star Red Clover MIXTURE fertilized with unpasteurized organic milk
9, Certified Organic 4241 Creeping Alfalfa is pre-inoculated with OMRI approved INTX Pre-Vail inoculation fertilized with organic fish emulsion plus kelp
10, Certified Organic Red Star Red Clover fertilized with organic fish emulsion plus kelp
11, Certified Organic Kentaur 4N Perennial Ryegrass fertilized with organic fish emulsion plus kelp
12, Certified Organic Climax Timothy fertilized with organic fish emulsion plus kelp
13, Certified Organic Hairy Vetch fertilized with organic fish emulsion plus kelp
14, Certified Organic Pea-Oatlage Mix fertilized with organic fish emulsion plus kelp
15, Certified Organic Kora Tall Fescue fertilized with organic fish emulsion plus kelp
16, Organic 4241 Creeping Alfalfa is pre-inoculated with OMRI approved INTX Pre-Vail inoculation and Certified Organic Red Star Red Clover MIXTURE fertilized with organic fish emulsion plus kelp
17, Organic 4241 Creeping Alfalfa is pre-inoculated with OMRI approved INTX Pre-Vail inoculation CONTROL
18, Certified Organic Red Star Red Clover CONTROL
19, Certified Organic Kentaur 4N Perennial Ryegrass CONTROL
20, Certified Organic Climax Timothy CONTROL
21, Certified Organic Hairy Vetch CONTROL
22, Certified Organic Pea-Oatlage Mix CONTROL
23, Certified Organic Kora Tall Fescue CONTROL
24, Organic 4241 Creeping Alfalfa is pre-inoculated with OMRI approved INTX Pre-Vail inoculation and Certified Organic Red Star Red Clover MIXTURE CONTROL

OUTREACH
We spoke on several occasions with Gary Noel and Keith Jackson (both at USDA/NRCS Bowling Green, MO office) about this project, potential planting timeframes, and the effects of the drought.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Accomplishments/Milestones

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes