top of page
Anchor 1
Anchor 2

Progressive Magazines

Water retention enhanced at Farr Farms
One gallon per acre per day is
small change for the dividends it pays

by Leon Leavitt

PNG image.png
ANTELOPE VALLEY, Nevada ~ When Clyde and Lucille Farr moved onto a 640-acre plot of land here in 1967, there were very few growing crops.Taking the land out of brush, they caused the desert to “blossom as a rose”,even though there were many lean and trying years. Today, six of their ten children and their families are involved in the thriving operation, which concentrates on producing dairy quality hay.

 

One of the common problems over the years has been the hardness of the soil and its reluctance to take on and hold water.

 

Allen explains, “It seemed like we were always trying various methods to enhance the water retention capability of the soil. We thought we would try a uniquely formed application of highly concentrated selected bacterial mix, Healthy Soil, to a particular field.It was a real Mike tough piece of ground that we had just planted to alfalfa. The hay came up and germinated and grew so well, it looked like we had been putting 100 units of nitrogen out there.”

Allen explains, “It seemed like we were always trying various methods to enhance the water retention capability of the soil. We thought we would try a uniquely formed application of highly concentrated selected bacterial mix, Healthy Soil (Bactifeed), to a particular field.It was a real Mike tough piece of ground that we had just planted to alfalfa. The hay came up and germinated and grew so well, it looked like we had been putting 100 units of nitrogen out there.”

 

His brother Kyle decided to try the penetrometer on it. Before, it wouldn't go down over 2", and now it sinks all the way down. Allen continues,"After seeing the results on that tough field, we now are applying the same treatment to all our pivots.We are seeing significant water penetration, even on the hardest fields where it would puddle up and run off - and that has completely stopped. That's the first time in the history of this farm.”

 

Brother Mike adds,"The fields are more uniform throughout. We used to use the waste run-off from one field to flood irrigate another; now, that's been completely eliminated.”

 

Kyle, the oldest son, took me to a pivot where in times past they wouldn't even attempt to harvest. Kyle relates,"This half of the field didn't even grow enough to swath. We would just turn around and go the other way.Last year, if we cut it, there wouldn't be a dozen bales out there.Now this year you can tell the difference. Before,the pivots would have to be on a two-to three-day revolution, and now they are slowed down to a five-day revolution. They are going half-speed now, and the soil is opening up to let it go through. If we ran them that speed before, it was irrigated desert,  and we would flood the neighbors.”

 

Another interesting point? The Farrs used to average 250-300 bales/pivot on 2nd cutting. Now that average is close to 400 bales.

 

While some may believe that is a serendipitous event-to me, it's just plain nice.

bottom of page