” […] We brought Jake and Abby up from pasture this week and hitched to the wagon for a ride around the farm, with the entire crew (13 strong this week!) on board. I love watching new farmers encounter the draft horses for the first time. It reminds me of the first time I drove a team, and the amazement I felt at holding so much living power in the palms of my hands. Mark and I have been talking often this winter about how best to use the horses so that they are relevant, affordable, and safe. One idea is to use more large hitches of horses (4, 6 or 8 horses) with bigger machinery. The problem with that strategy is that learning how to drive a large hitch safely takes a good deal of training; most of our farmers are here for two or three seasons, so there is the rub.
Another tactic is to embrace the idea of a dual power farm, use the tractors for the work that is most time-sensitive or difficult with horses, and use horses for everything else. That is more or less where we have been for the last couple of seasons. We use tractors for baling and a lot of the plowing. We use horses for some secondary tillage, raking and tedding, and for all of the cultivating. That is where we are, but we are eager to move closer to where we want to be. Our goal is still fossil fuel free farming…” Continue reading this Essex Farm Note.
- Essex Farm: Heavy Fall Work (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm: Bird Scaring (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Essex Farm: Nature Will Find a Way (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Reber Rock Farm’s Nathan Henderson’s “Drafting a Future” Radiostory (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Full and By Farm: Fuzzy Winter Horses (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)