Biofertilizer Use In Our Poultry Program

Posted by Laura Mortelliti on Apr 19, 2017 12:08:39 PM

   

White Oak Pastures is full of passionate and innovative employees. A project started by our recent intern, Karen Cano, has continued on past her graduation from our internship program. Her independent experiment focused on developing a biofertilizer program on the farm. We have continued this project and are excited for long term incorporation of biofertilizer on the farm.

 

 

Below: Karen trains members of our poultry crew on creating different biofertilizer concentrations depending on the application they intend to use it for. 

 

Our biofertilizer is an anaerobically fermented microbial solution made from the rumen of ruminants. We have made large batches of concentrated solution. Depending on the intended application, we have corresponding, specific dilution formulas. Biofertilizer can be applied to a wide range of areas including pasture plants, soil, compost, added to the water/feed of livestock, and used as a sanitizing agent.

When applied directly to soil, biofertilizer increases diversity and bioavailability of soil nutrients, improves soil microbiology, and stimulates plant growth. Applied to plants, biofertilizer improves vitality, disease resistance and recovery from grazing pressure. Sprayed on compost, biofertilizer reduces odor and accelerates fermentation and decomposition. When added to animal feed and water, it serves as a probiotic to improve digestion, nutrient absorption, weight gain, feed conversion, and reduce methane production.

Below: Barrels of our concentrated, fermenting biofertilizer. We apply the dilute solution with the spray backbacks in the foreground. 

             

Currently, we are using our biofertilizer largely as a sanitizing agent in our pastured poultry operation. The founding principle being that we are introducing a beneficial microbial community in an area where it is crucial to avoid harmful pathogenic microorganism colonization and blooms. Our biofertilizer ensures an environment where the competition is very high for harmful pathogens and therefore reduces their numbers and ability to bloom.

We spray our brooder houses with biofertilizer, as well as the residual brooder litter once we move the brooders. Loading our brooder litter with beneficial microbial life ensures a rapid rate of decomposition. Through this, we are hygienically handling our brooder litter and supporting its incorporation into our soil organic matter. Additionally, we use biofertilizer as a component in the process of cleaning our laying hen water troughs and Astroturf squares in their nesting boxes.  We have also sprayed a test strip of pasture and will be monitoring performance to determine the impacts of direct application. 

Biofertilizer supports our holistic approach to land stewardship and animal husbandry. We are excited to continue the use of this all natural supplement in our farm model. Again, we believe in a farm model where we do not need to vaccinate or administer drugs to our animals proactively. We would rather create a living environment which fosters a healthy immune system in our livestock and thereby avoid the need for veterinary care. Biofertilizer is an all natural, low cost tool which can help us further this mission.

Below: Robert sprays biofertilizer inside a newly prepared brooder house awaiting chick arrival. Spraying prior to chick arrival will ensure a cleaner environment for the chicks while they grow. 

Above: Spraying biofertilizer on our brooder bedding after we move the brooders will increase the rate of decomposition. 

 Above: John sprays a test batch of biofertilizer on our pasture which we will monitor for productivity results.  

 

   

 

 

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Topics: Regenerative Land Management, Zero-Waste, Holistic Management, Biofertilizer

Seasonal Haylage and Grasses

Posted by Laura Mortelliti on Mar 8, 2017 1:03:02 PM

October and May typically mark the change of season here in our Southwest Georgia subtropical climate. Historically, these months are the driest months and the months when the warm season perennial grasses and the cool season annual grasses swap dominance. This year the seasonal change was delayed due to our recent severe drought. However, thanks to the later-than-normal rains which finally arrived, our cool season annual grasses are sprouting in our pastures. 

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Topics: Zero-Waste, Holistic Management, Grassfed Beef

Our Year In Review

Posted by Laura Mortelliti on Jan 6, 2017 11:29:16 AM

“We pray for plenty of good hard work to do, and the strength to do it.” 

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Topics: Animal Welfare, Regenerative Land Management, Rural Community, Zero-Waste

Meet Our Leather Crafter Alena Ivakhnenko

Posted by Laura Mortelliti on Dec 15, 2016 6:32:24 PM

If you visit our General Store in Bluffton you’ll notice our leather workshop tucked in the back corner. Our leather crafter Alena works here daily and has hand-made almost every leather product on our shelves.  Alena grew up in the Ukraine and spent most of her childhood in her grandmother’s garden. There she developed a deep connection with agriculture and the natural world.

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Topics: leather, Rural Community, Staff Spotlight, Zero-Waste

We’re Into Leather

Posted by Laura Mortelliti on Nov 24, 2016 10:37:28 AM

We’re into leather! The White Oak Pastures Leather Department was created to utilize our cowhides in a way that is continuous with our zero-waste protocol.

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Topics: Artisan Goods, leather, Zero-Waste

We’ve got guts. Lots and lots of guts.

Posted by Angela Huffman on Jun 23, 2016 2:01:00 PM

A byproduct of our red meat abattoir is a lot of intestines and guts. It’s not as much waste as there would be in an industrial plant that processes up to 100 times more animals than we do, but it’s still a lot. Most people would throw all those intestines away. We’re full-circle at White Oak Pastures, so we feed ‘em to black soldier fly larvae, which our poultry devour, and then fertilize our land with their feces. Win win win win win!

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Topics: Animal Welfare, Pastured Poultry, Regenerative Land Management, Zero-Waste, Black Soldier Fly, Closed Loop

How to buy grassfed and pastured meat in bulk

Posted by Angela Huffman on Jun 2, 2016 2:00:00 PM

It used to be very common to buy a whole, half, or quarter of an animal from a farmer you know and trust, and then enjoy having a convenient, steady supply of protein in the freezer. This tradition of buying meat in bulk is making a comeback, and we’d like to make the process a little less intimidating and mysterious, and encourage you to give it a try.

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Topics: Foodie, Kitchen, Zero-Waste, Nose-To-Tail



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