Perhaps the best way to improve the land is to stop assaulting it with man-made chemicals. At Wolf Creek Farm we do not use herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides on our pastures. In the absence of chemical assault, careful grass farmers can manage the slow and sustainable process of rebuilding soil health through the careful application of natural substances, with the ultimate objective of returning the land to a balance where it produces everything it needs. This balancing of soil nutrients is known as The Albrecht Method, named after soil scientist William A. Albrecht (1888-1974), who was Chairman of the Department of Soils at University of Missouri College of Agriculture where he worked, studied, and taught for 43 years (1916-1959.). Livestock provide a critical element of restoring the land as their manures contain many of the minerals and nutrients necessary to support diverse flora. As the soil is recovering, the application of animal manures, particularly poultry litter, is helpful when done properly. Spreading of crushed rock lime and phosphates emulates the years of "fertilizing" from the weathering of rock outcroppings. Another critical element in properly stewarding the soil is to discontinue the taking of minerals and nutrients through cropping and haying. If, as in many Virginia winters, it is necessary to feed hay, it is useful to do this on the land rather than in confinement buildings, where the livestock can return the nutrients directly to the soil in their manure. Not only does the land receive a return of essential nutrients, but the animals also remain healthy in the fresh air of the pastures rather than the damp of feed lots and barns.

Selected Reading on Soil Fertility:

  • Albrecht’s Foundation Concepts by William A. Albrecht
  • Hands-on Agronomy by Neal Kinsey