Our Practices

Cornerstone Farms uses conscientious practices in all aspects of operations.

Value

Cornerstone Farms is constantly searching for lower cost alternatives to enhance the farms bottom line. We partner with other farms to group purchase inputs to drive cost down. Buying fuel in bulk, finding fertilizer alternatives based upon cost or using our storage facilities to buy in the off season are all examples of Cornerstone Farms commitment to farm success.

Certified Crop Adviser

Cornerstone farms hires a certified crop adviser to provide advice on best management practices in spray operations. We rely upon and educate ourselves with crop science based upon: crop types, chemical labels and pest management.  We strive to find the most  conservative answers to our fertilizer, weed and pest management needs. Fields are soil tested and chemically analyzed so, with our crop adviser, we can regulate macro/micro nutrient needs with minimal effect on the environment and greatest enhancement to the crop.

Variable Rate & Precision Application

Cornerstone Farms uses the latest technology to enhance our stewardship of the environment. Global Positioning Systems are installed in much of our machinery. This GPS systems further aids in reducing emissions and saving fuel. It also allows precise placement and application of seed and fertilizer. which leads to no waste or over application is applied due to overlap or driver error.

We use precision application and variable rate spraying ensures that the correct amounts of chemicals are applied. Minimizing spray costs while assuring correct application is financial and environmental stewardship we take pride in.

Cover Crops

Cornerstone Farms is actively pursuing the use of cover crops because of their many benefits to the soil and environment. Cover crops increase organic matter; suppress weeds, which mean less herbicides are needed; and allow more water infiltration and storage in the soil. They also allow the land a brief rest between plantings when the soil can build up its nutrients. Common plants we use in our cover crop mixes are oats, millet, flax, peas, safflower, turnips, canola, and other nitrogen fixators.

Conservation

Cornerstone Farms’ mindset is conservation.  We work closely with our local Natural Resources Conservation Service; applying progressive conservation to our operations.

In the 1970’s Tim Melville began using the innovative practice of direct seeding.  By creating soil, increasing water infiltration and virtually stopping erosion had the land’s best interest in mind.  Tim was the recipient of the Pioneer in Direct Seeding award. Click here for more information on Cornerstone Farms direct seeding practices.

Current conservation practices include: planting native bee habitat; spray drift reduction measures, planting cover crops, and changing crop rotation to plant deep rooting plants that will reduce soil compaction.  Directional haying and harvesting is practiced based upon wildlife flee habits. Cornerstone Farms has improved irrigation practices; installing low pressure sprinklers, professional pump assessments, and changing crop placement to best utilize irrigation flow.

Cornerstone Farms is also clean energy innovator.  We have several solar projects on site, totaling 35 KW of power.  Offsetting the energy consumed on the farmstead and a portion of the irrigation. Clean power is added to the power grid every day.

Wildlife Enrichment

Because of our management practices, wildlife thrive on our farm ground. Direct seeding provides residual cover for many bird species, and several new bird species use our fields for their migratory stops and nesting needs. A fine example is the habitat curlew’s use every spring. We are up to 6 nesting pairs in the last 5 years. We also have many California quail and Hungarian Partridge pairs that nest and raise their young on the home ranch and our rented fields.

The residue left after harvest yields feed value for ungulates. Every winter anywhere between 200 and 700 head of whitetail deer can be seen pawing through the snow to reach to the stubble underneath.

We have also seen nearly every type of wildlife found in Wallowa on the home ranch. Deer and elk are the most abundant, but black bear, cougar, wolves, and even bighorn sheep have also been seen on the back of the home ranch. A few years back a moose migrated over, and not too long after that a few antelope wandered through.

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