It starts with the Two Brooks terroir-- rich...
Our highly organic blue gumbo clay soils are extremely fickle, exceedingly rich, and are nurtured by nature. Delta folk have plenty of sayings about the character of these sticky, tough soils such as "if it gets on you, it won't turn loose", or "it will stop any kind of leak", or "you stick with it and it will stick with you"--you get the point. These finely textured predominately clay are nutrient rich nutrient magnets that willfully lend their richness to the flavor of our rice. Their physical properties and structure resist degradation, leaching, wind erosion, and depletion of the nutrients needed by rice. Our naturally rich soils have never required added phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, or a host of micronutrients whose over- application can wash downstream, and university tests affirm inherently high nutrient levels. Wildlife and our unique cultivation practices further enhance the ability our healthy soils to supply their healthy natural nutrients, minerality, and taste that are essential in our products.
To reap full yields, the only amendment needed is nitrogen. Those needs are partly met with voluminous deposits left by overwintering waterfowl. This organic fertilizer source is free from transport and application expense and other associated out of pocket and environmental expenses that most organic farms incur. Remaining nitrogen needs are met with specified nitrogen sources, calibrated to the needs of each field. While it may seem environmentally advantageous to apply additional organic fertilizers to meet the rice crop’s nitrogen needs, it would require 15 truckloads of organic fertilizer to equal one truckload of our source. Additionally, those organic sources contain other nutrients unneeded by our soils that can travel downriver if unused. All things considered, these costs to us and our environment make poor sense.
We learned years ago to ecologically manage these soils for enhanced tilth. Our cultural practices are design for long term benefits that build and compound healthy soils. We allow nature to perform much or all of our field operations for us. As harvest finishes, we plug the fields to catch winter rains to initiate straw composting that is vital in our efforts. "Rice Straw Before Waterfowl SW Corner"
Then, wind and waterfowl satisfactorily bury the previous crop’s residue and sift and level the soil’s surface until it is usually smooth enough to fly the seed for the new rice crop on to; only occasionally do we have to “roll” fields to fill harvest created ruts that expose the famous subjacent Mississippi blue mud. Thus, little or no tillage work on these fields is required. Our system saves us unnecessary expense, retains our rich soil from erosion and downstream pollution, greatly reduces or outright nixes air pollution, provides winter and summer habitat for small biota life forms, waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife, and leaves the soil in excellent tilth.
Increased organic matter in our soils is another positive yield of our ecocentric rice system. The natural composting process has multiplied our soil organic matter levels by increases of 3 to 4 fold, as measured by university testing. This further helps retain nutrients that could escape our fields, and promotes elevated carbon sequestration. "After Waterfowl Raze Rice Straw"
We fortuitously have rich soil on which to grow our crop, and subsequently have nature compost and tend to most fertility and tillage needs. We intend to leave the smallest possible footprint on our planet, and our system helps accomplish this while serving nature's and man's needs.