First of all, I would dare say it’s probably a first to be plowing in Star Valley on Thanksgiving. I remember two years ago it was -25 F on Thanksgiving. So these are the bonus days that help me to get caught up on things that I need to get done. The plowing could have been done earlier but it has been so dry that I decided to wait and the recent moisture made the plowing much easier.
The use of the moldboard plow has been the topic of discussion in the sustainable agriculture crowd. The argument is that it is to disruptive to the soil and the life in the soil, particularly earthworms. On this particular field I decided I had no option other than the plow because grass had overtaken the alfalfa and the only way to get rid of the grass is to plow (or use a non-selective herbicide which I don’t want to do). By using other management techniques like growing cover crops and/or green manure crops I plan on working to increase soil organic matter and thus encourage soil biology.
See the plowing video at