Gabe Brown: Large Scale Rapid Building of Soil with Cover Crops MP3

Gabe Brown


Gabe Brown takes on the nay-sayers in his 2013 talk at the Acres U.S.A. annual conference. He shows that with science-based techniques, it's possible to convert a large-scale farm to the methods of eco-agriculture. He goes into detail with techniques and tried-and-true methods he has developed on his 5,400-acre farm in North Dakota.

Beyond converting all cropland to no-till, he constantly seeds with a cocktail of dozens of cover crops. In this presentation he will profile his farming operation with particular focus on progress made regenerating soils. He will detail why he's found it's important to have livestock on cropland and practice integrated farming. Through Holistic Management, a diverse cropping strategy, rotational grazing and no-till practices the farm has benefited in terms of soil health, mineral and water cycles, greatly reduced inputs, great production and profit, and an improvement in quality of life for the farmers. He will share his farm data with attendees, including how he produced corn for $1.42/bushel. 

Gabe Brown has merged back-to-basics agrarian practices with innovative, science-based sustainable farming techniques on his 5,400-acre diversified family ranch for over 15 years. For decades the cropland had been conventionally farmed with tillage and the use of synthetic fertilizers and herbicides. Tillage had lowered organic matter levels to less than 2 percent. In 1993 Brown purchased a no-till drill and converted 100 percent of his cropland to no-till. Brown practices Holistic Management and employs a diverse cropping strategy on his grain and cattle operation which includes over 25 different cash and cover crops resulting in high yields and strong net profits. The Browns' evolving grazing strategy allows most of the ranch's pastures a recovery period of more than 360 days. The Natural Resources Defense Council awarded one of its 2012 Growing Green Awards to Brown and says, "Gabe's trailblazing work has made him a leader in regenerative ranch management." 

(1 hour, 21 minutes, 55 seconds) 

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