Having fresh dairy products on the homestead is great. Fresh milk and cream, cheese, and a host of other healthy products can be enjoyed.
Did you know that raw milk is also good for your soil?
Over the past several years, there has been some very interesting research on raw milk and soil fertility.
I first read an article about how a farmer from Nebraska had started dumping milk on his fields. It didn’t start out as a way to build soil health, but he eventually noticed amazing results.
The farmer saw how his cows would make a beeline for the grass that had been sprayed with raw milk. He also noticed that the grass appeared greener and seemed to grow faster. The soil was softer and more porous.
Through a chain of events, he had his local ag extension agent put together some tests to see if they could determine exactly what the results were from dumping the milk on the fields.
After 45 days, the test plots grew 1,100 more pounds of grass than the plots that were not treated with milk, which was a 26 percent increase in yield.
Additionally, the raw milk-treated plots were 18 percent softer than the untreated plots, as determined by compaction tests. (That means the soil was more porous; it had a greater ability to absorb and hold water.) The grass also appeared healthier and had fewer lesions and yellow discoloration.
It seems as though the milk was providing food for the bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes that teem inside a healthy soil.
Raw milk is a veritable stew of protein and sugar complexes that microbes need for growth. Additionally, raw milk is one of the best sources of vitamin B found in nature, and it brims with enzymes that can break down food for microbes and plants. Many farmers have heedlessly scorched microbe activity in their pastures with years of tillage, chemical use and overgrazing.
So when you are thinking of purchasing goats or cows for your homestead, an added benefit is that the raw milk can be a great soil booster!
I have a sprayer tank that I can use on the back of the ATV. I bought a nozzle that sprays a 16-feet wide pattern, which is what I need instead of trying to get a boom-type sprayer through the small wooded pastures we have.
According to what I have read and my own experiments, the optimum mixture is 17 gallons of water to three gallons of milk, for a total of 20 gallons per acre.
The raw milk can be sprayed on tilled soil or directly on the plants, with seemingly the same effect.
I have found raw milk to be a great fertility booster. Try it for yourself on pastures, gardens, and plants.
Have you ever used raw milk on your soil? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below: