Welcome to our new installment of Small Farms’ Recommended Reading! Here you’ll find a variety of articles handpicked each week by the Small Farms team. These include resources, educational articles, and tips — all in one location for a quick browse of news in addition to our bimonthly newsletter.
This week we’re reading about the dangers of ornamental plants and weeds to your pets and livestock, groundbreaking research in the benefits of consuming insects as an alternative form of protein, and tips for storing hay. There may be a future in hybrids of conventional and biological fungicides and there are new prosthetics available which can serve farmers better than traditional prosthetics. Finally, don’t sweat it if you didn’t keep up your summer garden; it’s a great time to plant cool weather vegetables.
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Various weeds and ornamental plants will always be dangerous to animals, but this problem can become especially prominent in the dry months as pastures die and weeds thrive. Additionally, common household ornamentals tend to be toxic. View tips and read more.
Two billion people throughout the world regularly consume insects. University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers studied insect protein consumption and found that gut microbiome health increased, therefore proving that there are benefits beyond being an environmentally friendly alternative protein source. Read more.
As you store hay cut this summer, consider measuring density — the lower the density, the less spoilage — and removing bales from the field as quickly as possible. Building storage is expensive, but so is the cost of wasted hay. Start to record wasted hay expense to determine if you should consider building storage. Read more.
Traditionally, biological and conventional chemicals were not able to be mixed (and still can’t be combined in the same container), but STK bio-ag technologies may have figured out a way to combine chemicals and leave less residue on crops. Read more.
Farmers require prosthetics that are able to adjust to various terrains, able to withstand dust and chemical residue, and able to adapt for different machinery. Prosthetics are now available with higher sensitivity, components to switch-out with various machinery, and the ability to withstand environmental stresses. Read more.
Cool Weather Crops
Regretting that you didn’t have a garden this summer? It’s not too late! Black Radishes, Rainbow Chard, and Red Russian Kale are some options for cool weather crops that you can plant this August. Read more.