Jacobs Farms Daysland Ltd
Call Us at (780) 679-8642 in Canada or 951 237 3870 in the USA.

Experimental No Till, Continious crop, Organic farming.

We are developing a method of continious crop no till organic farming. Will the yeilds be as high as conventional fertilizer/chemical no till farming, of course not. However there is a good chance it is more profitable especially as many consumers want organic food. We have filed for patent 3014944 in Canada and have 1 year to file in the US. It covers a invention allowing a standard shank air drill to seed in a clump and the resulting farming method that would be enabled. At present we have 25 acres that we are experimenting on.

To use mechanical no-till weed control and leave a Nitrogen fixing crop growing all the time the main crop must be seeded in a clump or matrix.

It is drawn to illustrate the most probable way of seeding in a clump or matrix. A trip wire is shown which could be connected to a wheel, each pass would have to be syncronized for a matrix. However the most likely method is a electric solenoid being operated from a RTK (1" accuracy) GPS feild map much the same as variable rate or sectional control. The diagram shows many seeds in the airway for illustration purposes, however most likely 4-10 seeds would accumulate in the funnel before the valve opens and seeds are planted. There may be a cover on the funnel to give a pulse effect or a venturi to pull seeds.

The initial designs show a trip wire opening the seed valve. We already have very accurate GPS system that could control seed placement within 1/2 in. So a software map of the feild would be produced, electric solonoid "156" would open and close the seed valve.

The above add on to the shank of a air drill will allow seeding in clumps or a matrix instead of rows. This pea matrix is 20 " X 20" as our air drill has 9.8 " spacing, we plugged every second run and spaced every 20 in as the drill moved forward. A air drill with the jacobs clump seeding attachment can easily seed in a normal manner, just leave the bottom valve open all the time.

We expect to matrix seed into living alfalfa sod so the present mid-row banders would be moved directly in front of a seeding shank to cut the sod or clumps of sod may pull out. The smallest electric mower is 15" which just fits between the rows. The pea patch is underseeded to alfalfa, next year the soil N should be high as both peas and alfalfa fix N out of the atmosphere. Other advantages to matrix seeding instead of row seeding will be control of insects and fungus as the plants do not canopy over and touch until late in the season.

In the spring we would use a heavy harrow multiple passes to stunt the alfalfa, just before we seed in a matrix. During the growing season we use mowers to control growth between the clumps. Mowers are easiest to implement, over time we develop selective weed control such as computer controlled water jets mounted on high clearence sprayers. So a modification to the sprayer and mechanical weed control instead of chemicals.

About April 15 the ground is not froze and there is enough heat units for growth, also in the fall many heat units are lost with conventional farming.  This farming method captures lost heat units and moisture. In the event of a primary crop failure the alfalfa is allowed to mature and if bees are near it may produce fertile seed.

50 years ago summerfallow was considered a good thing, its purpose was to kill weeds and preserve moisture. As chemicals such as glyphosulfate and fertilizers became available we went to continious cropping, the next step was no til as more chemicals and drills that could seed directly into stubble became available. I beleive the next step is to no till seed using a matrix pattern into a living N2 fixing crop such as alfalpha. Weed control could be done with mechanical no till surface equipment such as a mower or water jet. There are organic farmers using tillage, no till is very important to us as we just have too many acres for tillage, we make 1 pass/year. In 2018 we went 6 weeks without rain and wheat still averaged 50 bu/acre as we had not dried the soil with tillage. It takes about 6000 gallons of water to grow a bushel of wheat, we have a average yearly rain/snowfall of about 12 in, so to expect more than 50 bu/acre on a continious basis may be wrong.

The above machine is a absolute proto type, it is much too small to use on a commercial basis. The real machine would probably use hydraulic mowers mounted on a front boom sprayer (Miller 2200T Nitro) would be a example.

This method of continious crop no till organic farming will require special machines so I am looking to partner with companies that could build the machines. the in crop mower is a absolute prototype, for large capacity it would have to be at least 50 ft wide, probably using hydraulic motors on floating metal housings secured with 2 A frames. A high pressure water jet system mounted on a conventional sprayer would probably also work. I used a heavy harrow designed to break up straw but really the design should be changed to give a scrapping effect on the surface.

Above is 1st year using no fertilizer or chemicals on the left and conventional farming on the right. Both have the same amount of seeds in the ground, left plot was  no till seeded, heavy harrowed 3 times before wheat emergence, rock rolled and mowed between the rows. The left probably has less wild oats/weeds than the right side. My approach to organic farming is pragmatic, in 30 years most weeds will be immune to the chemicals, we have only been using them for 30 years. I think the left goes 40 bu/acre and the right 50 bu/acre, so there is more profit in the left side producing chemical free grain.

We are straight grain farmers at Jacobs Farms Daysland so we cannot use the methods that ULF does.

Below is a summary of how Ulf Leanders farms in Sweden, it is called ecologicall farming, in North America it would be called organic farming. Also below there is a summary of how Keith Jacobs farms in Canada, known as conventional farming.

The regulating body for Ecological farmers in Sweden is the European Union, which produces regulations for organic and conventional farming. The farm is about 450 acres and produces about 700 tonne of milk per year @ 44 cents/liter vs 29 c/liter on conventional production.

Crop rotation is 2 years of barley then 4 years of grass which fixes nitrogen out of the air.

Steps are One, plow 1/2 of the barley land the previous fall. Two. spread manure on the feild and plow under 8 " or about 20 cm Three. to kill weeds after plowing harrow 3-4 times to dry out the surface and lift weeds to the surface and let them dry out. Four. Seed into the dry surface about 2" down where there is some moisture to germinate the barley. Tillage blackens the soil so the barley grows quickly and gets ahead of the weeds. Five. harvest at 16 to 18 % moisture, grain is dry at 14.5% moisture so it is put in areation bins and air is blown thru the grain to keep cool and dry.

Production is about 110 tonne of barley off 90 acres. The land has been farmed for at least 500 years in this manner. Major fertilizer groups like NPKS and micro nutreints such as copper are replaced by cow manure and nitrogen fixing plants.

No chemical herbicide, pesticide or fungicide is used, fertilizer comes from cow manure. No Genically modified organisms (GMO's) are allowed.

Ulf's organic farm is seeded to grass 4 years out of 6

Grass is cut 3 times a year and baled with a large round baler, the baler uses plastic wrap which is sugar based plastic. The grass variety is clover that fixes N out of the atmosphere and is good nutrition for dairy cows. At least 1 times a year cow manure is put on the grass feilds, the farm has been in the family for generations so fertilizer requirements are done by looking at the plants. Every 5 years a chemical analysis of the soil is done. Some weeds such as wild oats are considered noxious weeds and must be hand picked by law and burned. Wild oat seeds are viable for up to 30 years.

Above is a picture of a manure spreader, after spreading the manure is plowed into the ground. N from the air is fixated by nitrogen fixing plants which the dairy cows eat, that is the chain to get N into the ground.

The organic farm is 450 acres, it produces 700 tonnes of milk/year from 70 milking cows with a total of 160 animals on the farm at a time. The cows are 50% Holstein and 50% brown swiss. There is 1 bull for heifers (a cow that has never had a calf). Artificial semination is used on older cows. The farm does not produce enough barley to feed the cattle so 15 to 18 tonne/year organic barley is bought from a neighbor. Other inputs are 900 kilogram of minerals, 300 kilograms of salt and 70 tonnes of concentrated nutrition feed certified organic, documentation comes with invoicing. Ecollogical cattle cannot be penned and fed barley, they must be on grass or pasture for 4 months/year. The farm consumes about 12000 liters/year of deisel fuel (fossil fuel), it is normal deisel that has road tax applied. Some bio-deisel is starting to be consumed, made from pine tree oil. About 130 to 140 000 kw/year of electricty is used, it must come from wind or hydro-electricity.

When the organic milk sold to a co-operative 400 of 2400 farmers are organic. a seperate truck and lines are used for organic milk.

If you are a organic farmer please contact me as I am trying to source and verify organic grain in North America.  I will try to compose a list of all organic farmers that I can find. This winter I will try to source the organic farmers in California that are producing our fruits and vegatables, however 70% of our diet comes from grain directly or indirectly as animal feed. We will then follow their produce through the food processing industry and verify that the final product is organic. This will probably verify that very little food is truly organic.

It is my hope that many farmers will sign up to converse directly with consumers. At present there is little communication so big food/media make many claims that us farmers dispute however we lack a communication link to the people who actually eat what we produce. Have you ever seen the claim "100 % grass fed black angus beef", how would that be implemented at a packing plant, all animals are mixed together. There are claims of non GMO peas, fact is there is no such thing as a GMO pea. A major coffee shop chain has a sign that says "Organic Ethiopia Yergacheffe   soil association  organically grown  certification NL01  Skal 022410" What does that mean? The sign is by the entrance, not on individual products, does that mean that all products in the store are "organic" would it mean that the wheat used to make buns was organic and if so where did it come from?  Go on the USDA organic website and find organic wheat growers, there are not many. I know I have never grown anything that could be certified organic.

We will set up a verification system for organic farmers assuming you would like to market thru us, so we will come to your farm and check your system of weed control, fertilization, seed source and line of equipment. How are weeds controlled, either chemicals are required or tillage, most tilliage will not bury weed seeds deep enough so a deep plow is needed. Above is a picture of Ulfs plow. It turns 180 degree to plow side by side in opposite directions, a farm without a plow is probably not organic.

One can come to the conclusion that there is actually very little organic food produced if the true definition of organic is used. The following is the true definition of organic. Google Organic Food for more information.

Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants.

Requirements vary from country to country (List of countries with organic agriculture regulation), and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include:

avoidance of synthetic chemical inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives), irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge;[1]
avoidance of genetically modified seed;
use of farmland that has been free from prohibited chemical inputs for a number of years (often, three or more);
for livestock, adhering to specific requirements for feed, housing, and breeding;
keeping detailed written production and sales records (audit trail);
maintaining strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products;
undergoing periodic on-site inspections.
In some countries, certification is overseen by the government, and commercial use of the term organic is legally restricted. Certified organic producers are also subject to the same agricultural, food safety and other government regulations that apply to non-certified producers.

Certified organic foods are not necessarily pesticide-free, certain pesticides are allowed.

When produce goes thru our food system much is wasted which increases the cost of the produce, direct marketing would prevent so of this waste. A farmers market is a good idea, but the produce may be touched by many people.

 I propose  direct from farmer to consumer marketing. We have had Country of Orgin Labelling (COOL) , I propose Farmer of Origin Labelling, so you buy wheat flour or peas directly from our US distrubution company, we will deliver whole wheat floor or dried peas to a warehouse in southern California (to start), you pick up at the warehouse, orders and payment will be done with a app. As a farmer I do not eat organic food, my only concern is using glyfosulfate before harvest to kill the crop, so this chemical is going directly into the food supply. We are so far from being organic that I would not know how to go backwards in time without going broke. We spray with glyfosulfate before seeding to kill weeds as we are no till, we use GMO seed and at least 100 lbs/acre of chemical fertilizer, we spay in crop herbicide to kill weeds, we spray in crop fungizide to kill fungus then spray glyfosulfate in the fall to kill. 

We will direct market wheat and peas that have not had the fall glyfosulfate treatment as a start to organic farming. There is pasture land that could be bought and plowed under which could produce a few organic crops before the soil was so depleted of fertilizer and the weeds were so bad that it produced nothing. If you buy direct from the farmer, you will not get organic food, but you will know what you are eating, the cost will be much less. It is my hope that I can find enough true organic farmers in North America to supply all organic food requests, if not we could import from Sweden. 

Below is how Keith Jacobs farms, or conventional farming using no tillage, herbicide pesticide and fungizide. We use GMO (genetically modified organisms), our canola is GMO. We also have noxious weeds such as white cockle which we control using chemicals. We will change to organic as we develop a method that allows no-till and a crop every year.

My take is that it is not possible to earn a living in North America being a organic farmer. There would be much more manual work such as hand picking weeds. Organic farming would be hard on large scale grain farms such as ours. Having said that we are trying a small amount of organic farming. If a loaf of bread costs $4.00 the farmer would get 25 cents at best so if the price of organic wheat is twice that of conventional production the cost of a loaf of bread would go to $4.25.

Lack of organic testing is probably leading to dishonesty in North America. Organic in NA is more of a marketing scheme than a production system.

The last paragraph says "Those people are doubling their grocery bill, assuming they're getting something organic, whatever that means, and they're not," said Popoff.

We will market true organic food, we will provide a link to the farmer who grew it. If we have to import from Sweeden which has enforcement of organic standards we will.

Here is our first attempt at organic farming on a 2.5 acre plot behind the main farm house. It is non-GMO wheat seeded at 4 bu/acre which is twice normal rate. No fertilizer or chemicals will be used. Mowing white cockle weed with a lawn mower to keep it from going to seed. Wheat should thicken up as it is a grass. Contacted County of Flaggstaff to be sure they do not "spray" the white cockle as it is a noxious weed that must be controlled. Picked some of it by hand. Wheat has a yellow green color as it is starving for N. Plan is to plow after combining this fall and seed peas next year. Peas are a legume so they fix N out of atmosphere. This is our learning plot as no person has told me how to organic grain farm on a large scale. Universities should produce organic grain on a 640 acre feild to establish if it can be done in a economically viable manner. I welcome input from anyone with knowledge on the subject. 

Here is young organic wheat crop.

Organic must use tillage, we do not have a plow yet!

Ripe organic wheat 25 bu/acre

Conventiona wheat 65 bu/acre

Combining the first wheat grown without chemicals or fertilizer, it is still technically not organic as it must be 3 years without fertilizer or chemicals.

Many people in the media present organic farming as the morally correct choice and farms like ours as self serving intrests. Of course there are also disadvantages, number one being economic business viability, we are businesses and therefore must have some return on capital, two yeilds will be much less, three much more fossil fuel will be consumed by tilliage, four organic material in the soil will decrease as the crops will be thin and tilliage destroys organic material. We are in a race to massive farms as the larger we get the cheaper each bushel of grain becomes. Our farms are speciilized monsters we only produce grain (wheat, peas and canola) as opposed to organic farms which seem to use the smaller mixed farm model. Ulf farms 450 acres and we farm 6000 acres.

I have read magazines that say we should be no till organic farmers, in my opionon that would be impossible on a large scale and therefore not possible economically. One would have to hand pick weeds, not much chance of that happening with $30/hr employees and $6.00/bushel wheat. The farmers where I live consider no-till as a best practice, not organic, our government enables the sale of carbon credits, we get $1.50/year to be no till farmers as a no till farm is a carbon sink.

Since we do not use tillage for weed control, we use much herbicide, the first step is to spray glyfosulfate to kill the weeds, so in a way this is our version of a plow. The next step is to direct seed into stubble, if the straw is too thick for the drill to go thru we must heavy harrow or cut the straw with disc blades (the machine is called a vertical till which is a misnomer as there is no tillage). We then seed and apply fertilizer in one pass with the air drill below which uses high speed fans to move product from the air cart to the seeder. Within a week seed and weeds are growing, we wait a additional 2 weeks, then spray with a herbicide to kill the weeds. We actually have to use more herbicide on natural plants than on GMO plants as the natural mechanisms are not as effective. After a additional month the growth will be so thick that walking thru the crop will be difficult and will soak clothes. Hot, wet and thick crops get fungal diseases so we spray with a fungizide, sometimes more than once. After a additional month or 2 the crop will be mature, we then spray with glyfosulfate to kill the crop and weeds. After 2 weeks the crop is dried down enough so the combines can direct harvest. There is a picture of 3 of them on top of this page.

This drill seeds directly into last years stubble, it has .75 in openers for dropping the seed and midrow banders to place huge amounts of chemical fertilizer when seeding. If the fertilizer was placed in the seed rows it would burn the seed as there is so much fertilizer. We use GMO canola seed, that has been altered to tolerate the chemical "Liberty", we do not use GMO wheat or peas. So far GMO activity has been aimed at chemical tolerance, however there should come a time when a plant is GMO to fix N out of the atmosphere then we could stop using chemical nitrogen. Also if the plant is GMO to resist fungus we can stop fungizide treatment.

We do not own a plow and no farmer I know owns a plow, I would not even know where to rent one. We do own a disc, which we use to smooth land, sometimes we will use it on low spots to break up excess vegetation. A disc is a very poor tool for weed control as it does not invert the to 8 in as a plow does. Most seeds do not contain enough energy to get to surface if buried more than 4 in. Canola cannot be buried more than a inch, and must be in moisture, we had a very hard time getting a good germination with Canola when we used tillage as the surface was dried out.