Schrack Family Farm is committed to sustainability, but it’s a passion that they discovered for all the wrong reasons. The Pennsylvania dairy farm started no-till farming in the 1970s because they were tired of picking rocks out of the soil after field work.
“It wasn’t until years later that we found out the real advantages in the soil structure and the lack of erosion and that’s the sustainability that comes along with it was no-till,” says Jim Harbach, one of the farms owners.
The family installed a methane digester in 2006 that produces power to for heat and drying that offsets their propane costs significantly.
“We produce about 100,000 cubic feet of gas a day that’s run through the engine and turned into 3-4 kw of electricity,” Harbach explains. “The power that we produce here exceeds our total power requirements and probably 25 percent above that.”
Most recently, the centuries old farm started implementing cover crops into their farming practices.
“The key to healthy soils is. Cover crops no till not disturbing the soil and basically mimicking nature,” Harbach says. “When you mimic nature. Nature has a soil covered all the time and has something growing all the time and that’s why we try to do.”
Congratulations to the Schrack family for being named the 2018 Innovative Dairy Farm of the Year. An award presented by Dairy Herd Management in partnership with the International Dairy Foods Association. You can learn more about the Schrack family in the January issue of Dairy Herd Management.