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

2013 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

[Editor’s Note: To see the list of Forage test plots in a table format, open the attached PDF version of the report.]

WORK ACTIVITIES
We roto-tilled and drilled seed into 16 half-acre size test plots as follows:

Plot #                Forage

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

We collected samples for analysis (soil fertility, tissue, and feed) by Perry Agricultural Labs in Bowling Green, MO to compare unpasteurized organic milk vs. organic fish emulsion and kelp as an organic fertilizer for livestock forages.

RESULTS
After an extended drought in 2012, which caused us to delay planting until 2013, we had a cool and wet summer in 2013, which provided good conditions for the growth of cool season grasses. Overall, we saw little statistically significant difference between the unpasteurized organic milk vs. organic fish emulsion and kelp as a fertilizer for livestock forage. The only statistically significant result was a higher level of calcium in plots treated with unpasteurized organic milk. This makes sense given the high level of calcium in milk. The cooler and wetter conditions of the summer of 2013 lead to far fewer crickets and more earthworms in the pastures and test plots than the drought plagued summer of 2012. We look forward to collecting more data in 2014 to see if we can identify any trends and look for reproducibility of test results.       

WORK PLAN FOR 2014
We plan to collect more data and look for statistically significant trends in our comparison between Unpasteurized Organic Milk vs. Organic Fish Emulsion and Kelp as an Organic Fertilizer for Livestock Forages. We plan to continue the test plots for a number of years to generate enough data to support long term conclusions and see how reproducible results are under a variety of growing conditions (our prior results in 2011 and 2012 suggested some benefits of unpasteurized organic milk during drought conditions but these differences were not seen under ideal cool season grass growing conditions in 2013).

OUTREACH
We spoke on several occasions with Gary Noel and Keith Jackson (both at USDA/NRCS Bowling Green, MO office) about this project. We eventually plan to post results on our website (www.OrganianFarms.com) and to submit articles for publication, as well as, to present results at future Organian Farm Field Days.

 

 

Objectives/Performance Targets

Accomplishments/Milestones

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes