This morning I spent with Dr Randy Anderson. He is a researcher for the USDA ARS and is looking at organic no till and finding out how to get it to work. Dr Anderson is a weed scientist. The idea of organic no till fascinates me and the fact that someone is doing systems research into this I think is great. Dr Anderson is a firm believer in rotations and crop sequences and has come up with a nine year rotation with 3 years of red clover which he mows to get on top of the perennial weeds. Dr Andeson also came to my attention with his work on seed bank reduction in no till.
Dr Anderson had organised a visit to Don Deweerd’s farm in Minnesota. Don is an organic farmer and has been farming his 200 acres organically for 37 years. When we turned up there was a load of other people there to so we had a brainstorming meeting and a farm tour.
Dr Anderson is on the right and Don Deweerd is in the middle with the beard. One reason Dr Anderson had organised to visit with Don is because he has been experimenting with an interrow mower, which wasn’t there! What I found interesting about speaking to everyone was that they had problems with weeds and tillage and they were wanting to reduce their tillage and weeds through rotation and I was there wanting to reduce my synthetic inputs through rotation. We were all looking at the same goal but coming at it from different directions.
Don below in one corner of the field had a problem with Ragweed
Dr Anderson immediately knew the answer to getting on top of this weed through rotation. He was so knowledgable.
Don grows corn and soya beans and peas
He was also intercropping oats and clover.
He also had a trial on his farm for pollinators for Dr Lundgren. There were 13 species of plant that they were testing to see their efficacy of attracting beneficials
It was Don’s birthday today so he and his wife had organised lunch for us all. Their hospitality was great and I really enjoyed my visit.
Luckily on the drive to and from the farm I got some time to talk to Dr Anderson about his theories and work and got some really good ideas of how to handle done of our weed problems. He has a huge amount of knowledge and I felt I could speak with him all day. Thank you Randy for your time, I really enjoyed it.