Fri, 21 February 2014
Grant Schultz joins me to talk about developing a perennial polyculture in the middle of row-crop corn and soy country Iowa.
He discusses a lot of the innovation and developments taking place on his farm, including some really innovative ways of doing GPS keyline design.
We spend a lot of time talking about the business of farming. The importance of monitoring cash flows and being cash flow positive. And how Grant is using USDA funds to help pay for pieces of his system and getting moving in the right direction.
Importance of making your operation cashflow the whole time. Expenses will pile up so start getting cashflow and a customer base early.
Consider buying rootstock and graft it over later. It is much cheaper to go that route and grafting isn't that hard.
Get plant systems going early on. It is fairly inexpensive and gets the system starting to advance.
Have a plan but evolve as you go. Having an end in mind gives you a goal and a direction to head in, but things will change along the way as you learn the intricacies of the system.
Plant the earliest maturing fruit trees downslope. That way when you are browsing them the manure runs downhill.
How do you want your system to look at maturity and what are the action items to get you there? Then the thing to do is the one with the most impact. What has the earliest yield to get you to the move to the next impact item.
Do not underestimate the importance of monitoring and planing out cashflows.
When you are farming on broad acres you have the same advantages that conventional farmers have. Crop insurance.
Consider using a nurse crop that also cash flows. Grant's example of raising oats for cover crop seed.
Consider the balance of high value versus high labor. Is the value worth the labor?
There is a huge need for more local genetic permaculture plant material.
Recognize the importance of planting dense. Buy trees in mass. It gets cheap and doesn't cost you more to plant at high density. You take advantage of genetic selection and protect yourself against losses.
Irrigate your trees if possible - think keyline, swales. Growth rates of trees that are irrigated versus those that aren't is huge when the trees have consistent water availability. Consider the economic impact of the yield with water versus no water. The work now can make you a lot more money down the line.
Take advantage of all available resources: USDA, NRCS, EQIP. When starting out pre-sell as much as you can. Build a local customer base from Day 1.
Show Notes: www.permaculturevoices.com/34
Direct download: PVP034-02212014.mp3
Category:permaculture,agriculture,farming -- posted at: 6:32am PDT