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Fluid Journal : Fluid Journal 1993-1995
1 Fluid Journal Spring 1994 Summary: Open Grounds Farm is located on the coast of North Carolina in one of the nation's most environmentally sensitive estuarine regions. In 1993, the 44,187-acre farm produced almost three percent of the North Carolina corn crop. Open Grounds Farm has prospered because it successfully integrates Best Management Practices (BMPs) and latest technologies into productive cropping systems. Starter fertilizers and fluid suspensions play an important role at Open Grounds, where fertility programs are designed to complement specific weed and insect management plans.Open Grounds Farm, Inc. (checkered region pictured in satellite photo below) is located 10 miles north of historic Beaufort, North Carolina. The 44,187- acre site was purchased in 1974 by Gruppo Ferruzzi, a large Italian agro- industrial firm that also operates farms in Argentina, England, Italy, and Paraguay. Open Grounds lies in the Albermarle-Pamlico estuarine system, third largest in North America. Marshes adjoining the farm at the headwaters of the South River host a food chain that supports both finfish and shellfish. Estuarine creeks on Open Grounds function as nurseries for such commercially important species as juvenile summer flounder, menhaden, mullet, brown shrimp, and blue crabs. The marshes and fields of Open Grounds serve as breeding and feeding sites for songbirds and game birds, as well as numerous species of ducks, rails, snipe, and other waterfowl. River otters, raccoons, beavers, black bear, and deer also live in the marshes. To preserve the biological integrity of the surrounding ecosystem, Open Grounds has sought to incorporate environmentally friendly cultural practices into its farming enterprises. Almost 20 years of experience and experimentation have enabled Open Grounds Farm to develop and implement profitable cropping systems with minimal environmental impact. Land use The typical field at Open Grounds is 330 feet wide by a mile long. Soils typically contain greater than 10 percent organic matter. Out of the total acreage available at Open Grounds Farm in 1993, 35,683 acres were devoted to growing crops or managing pasture (Table 1). The balance of the acreage was parceled among for-est land, building sites, roads, canals, etc. Soybeans were double-cropped, following 4,000 acres of winter wheat. Over the years, corn yields have ranged from 108 to 138 bu/A. In 1993, corn yields averaged 137 bu/A. by Dr. John R. Anderson, Jr. and Gabriele Onorato Systems Agriculture At Open Grounds Farm Precision fluid fertilizer and pesticide management protect ecosystem at 44,000-acre site in North Carolina. Soybean yields have fluctuated from 35 to 45 bu/A. Wheat has averaged about 60 bu/A. Open Grounds also manages a 3,500- head cow/calf operation. Breeds include Black Angus, Santa Gertrudis and Hereford. BMPs Integrated into every operation at Open Grounds are Best Management Practices (BMPs). Fields are separated by "V" ditches that drain into headland canals. Ditches and canal banks are grassed to control sedimentation and runoff. Field borders are left atop ditches and buffer zones lie between crop fields and marshes. Recently, water control structures were strategically placed in canals and ditches. The flashboard risers slow water movement into marshes and creeks during periods of heavy rain. Slower water movement in ditches and canals minimizes off-site movement of phosphorus via sediments while
Fluid Journal 1996-1998