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Somebody is getting rich on the farm - but not who you think!

Organic Weed Control Can Be EXPENSIVE
We often like to think that when you follow such strict and environmentally friendly practices as ours -- you would never have weeds in your pastures.  For the most part -- this is true.

Partly because of our definition of weeds is a bit different than a lot of people.  We like variety in our pastures and so they include a lot of different forbs and plants that add variety to our cattle's diet.  This picture is a good representation of our pasture and includes at least a dozen different plants that all bring healthy nutrition for the animals and the pastures.

However, we do still struggle with some weeds.  One weed which we really do not like because it seems to serve no purpose on our land, the cattle don't eat it and it pokes us as we drive around is Musk Thistle.  

They are a beautiful plant that can spread quickly through pastures if not controlled.  The county suggested control is to use herbicides to spray them.  However, since we use no sprays on our farm at all we have to find another way.  


We pay the girls a bounty for each bloom they cut and bring back to the house dead in a bucket.  Since Musk thistles are a biennial, they only spread by seed,  If we cut the blooms off, the plant is never able to propagate and since each plant can spread over 10,000 seeds - that's a lot of propagating that can happen.

Everyone has pitched in and just this evening the three girls cut 1680 blooms (16,800,000 seeds for those that are counting).]

Funny story, the first time I sent Elise out to cut blooms I thought 25 cents per bloom was a reasonable bounty.  Elise was 8 and she went out with her gloves and scissors and when she returned less than an hour later with a bucket full -- I knew we were in trouble, or at least my wallet was.  Once we had counted up her blooms she had collected over $60 worth of blooms.  Although we honored the price quoted for that batch of blooms, we quickly renegotiated the price down to 5 cents per bloom.

After tonight's harvest where the girls averaged around $30/hour for their work, Laura and I decided to renegotiate prices once again and they will now be 3 cents per bloom.  It adds up quickly!

Our efforts have paid off there are dramatically fewer thistles in our pastures then there were just a few years back -- and not one drop of chemical used -- just quite a bit of sweat :)


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Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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