Friday, January 11, 2008

Sugar Creek Farm Q&A Interview - Part 5

Well, unfortunately for us this is the final installment of my question and answer interview with Kelli of Sugar Creek Farm. I want to extend a big THANK YOU to Kelli for taking the time to answer all of these questions and share some honest insight. Her responses were very helpful and I think they can help beginning farmers (like myself) and experienced farmers alike. If you are just coming across the blog make sure you check out Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four. So, without further ado ... here are the last two questions and answers...

The Beginning Farmer
- How do you manage your pastures for your livestock and many animals do you have on the farm at any given time?

Sugar Creek Farm
- We tried rotational grazing, but it didn't work well for us because our pasture is a creek-bottom pasture and the fences were constantly getting washed out. Matt spreads manure in the late fall/early spring; mows for weeds - mainly just thistle at this point - at least twice during the year; winter seeds a horse pasture mix, because it has a nice mix of grasses and clovers which keeps a good ground cover during very wet and very dry conditions. We usually experience flooding in spring, and the last couple of years have experienced significant summer drought.

At the peak of the year, which would be about late August/early September, we have 9 cows with nursing calves, a bull, and 9-12 feeder calves (we sometimes purchase extra feeder calves to meet beef demand); the 2 sows and boar and 2 litters; 150 broiler chickens - we use a protected free-range setup on pasture; 40-some free-range laying hens and a couple dozen free-range Muscovy ducks. (The laying hens and ducks are not part of the farm business at this point.)

The Beginning Farmer
- In the future how would you like to expand?

Sugar Creek Farm - We'd like to acquire enough pasture and tillable land to offer some fully grassfed beef, and grow and mix all of our own feed for all of the animals. However with current land prices and the stiff competition for land, it doesn't look likely to happen anytime soon.

This coming summer we'll be more than doubling our number of broiler chickens, and I'd like to continue to grow that operation each year. Last year was our first year at farmers market. We sold at one last year and will probably be at two markets this year. I'd like to expand the layer hen flock, and figure out a good setup for raising meat ducks, geese and turkeys.

The Beginning Farmer - I want to thank everyone who followed along with this question and answer interview. I hope that it was as informative and enjoyable for you as it was for me. If this week was the first time you have come across The Beginning Farmer blog I encourage you to stick around and add to the conversation!

**Today's picture is copywritten image by Kelli Miller of Sugar Creek Farm**

**Remember to thank Kelli for this great information!**


sugarcreekfarm said...

Ethan, thanks for having me on your blog this week! Answering questions always helps a person stop and think about what they do and why.

Christy said...

I really enjoyed this interview. Thank you both for doing it!

Ethan Book said...

Kelli, thanks again for sharing with everyone ... I know that lots of people found it very interesting ... with me at the top of that list!

Christy - I'm glad you enjoyed the interview ... thanks for letting us know.

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