Boulder County FAIR farmer Jules Van Thuyne manages the farmland on the Longmont United Hospital property. He helped to host a “Field Day” tour for Boulder County Parks and Open Space, which allowed citizens an up-close look at various agriculture innovation projects happening in the County.
Jules is running trials of winter cereal grains to explore the productivity and viability of new crops in Boulder County’s unique soil and climate. He provided information about the benefits and challenges of each of the crops he’s trialing.
The winter wheat:
Is planted in the fall (early October)
Helps hold the soil
Makes good use of natural moisture
Improves timing of the farm operations (distributes labor and equipment use, cash flow, etc)
Introduces a cool season grass
Lower yield than winter malt barley
Uses more water than winter malt barley
The discussion did not include the challenges of finding markets for winter wheat, which is always an important part of crop sustainability.
The winter malt barley:
Is generally not as hardy as winter wheat
Is not as strong as straw
Earlier than winter wheat
Higher yield than winter wheat
Uses less water than winter wheat
The discussion did not include the challenges of finding markets for winter malt barley, which is always an important part of crop sustainability.
Boulder County FAIR farmers Paul and Scott Schlagel manage the Quicksilver Farm. They helped to host a “Field Day” tour for Boulder County Parks and Open Space, which allowed citizens an up-close look at various agriculture innovation projects happening in the County.
Paul and Scott are partnering with CSU to run a carbon sequestration cropland demonstration on the Quicksilver Farm. FAIR farmers already utilize a variety of ag practices & technologies that allow for considerable carbon retention in the soil (check out this recent study for some data on their carbon savings). The CSU project allows for additional experimentation, as well as serving as an accessible demonstration for others to see carbon farming in practice.
The sustainable ag practices that Paul and Scott are utilizing on Quicksilver include:
Supplementing with compost
Planting cover crops
Using nitrogen inhibitors
Implementing minimum and no tillage practices
Planting wind breaks
Nitrogen is also added through the sprinkler system, which is a practice that currently is likely too cost-prohibitive for individual farmers.
Carbon-smart farming practices have been used by Boulder’s FAIR farmers for a long time. Agriculture technology innovations (like certain GE seeds combined with targeted pesticide application) have allowed farmers to utilize conservation tillage practices, which have been a game-changer in terms of soil health and carbon sequestration.