Book Family Farm

The Book family of Borden, in southern Indiana, had always applied limestone to their fields, but then Ed Bulcher, their Growers District Manager, came along and convinced them to apply high calcium and more tons per acre. "We always used lime, but not as much as Ed preached. He really made us "limeaholics!" joked Jim.

By Jennie Henry

Jim Book of Book's Dairy and Produce has been using the Growers Program for six years.  "It took me three years to be convinced."  Jim remembers,  " We changed slowly and we did test plots on everything!"      

Book's_Barn_IN_01.jpgThe Book family of Borden, in southern Indiana, had always applied limestone to their fields, but then Ed Bulcher, their Growers District Manager, came along and convinced them to apply high calcium and more tons per acre.  "We always used lime, but not as much as Ed preached.  He really made us "limeaholics!" joked Jim.    

Jim feels the application of high calcium limestone and Growers Nutritional Solutions has improved the quality of their vegetables.  "We see a lot less disease.  The way we are fertilizing now, the vines aren't so big, and we have more fruit and less disease.  That's the biggest thing, less disease.  And the shelf life is a lot better.  Everything tastes better," he emphasized.    

In the middle of August, Jim was very happy with the quality of the vegetables he had going into the fall season, "All my fall produce looks real good, my peppers are really super!"  The peppers and the rest of the farm's produce have been receiving a Growers Nutritional Solutions foliar spray every week.    

When Jim was asked if he had much stem rot, he replied, "Anymore I don't see it.  I used to have it.  Now if you have a lot of rain, you'll have a little, or if you put too much nitrogen on."    

The Book's pumpkins were already ripening.  They have to have first quality pumpkins, because they individually paint many of their pumpkins, then they are stored, shipped to warehouses and eventually marketed in a large grocery chain.      

Jim stated proudly, "We started in the painted pumpkin business eighteen years ago, I guess, and we've been on TV and in the newspapers.  We put a lot of work into it, and that pumpkin gets handled a lot.   My wife does the designs and has eight women who help her do the painting.  They are wholesaled to Krogers.  Last year they took their first load the 10th of September, and we sold 5,000 painted pumpkins."      

The Book's began using the Growers Program with their vegetables.  When they started seeing improvements, they looked toward their hay crop.  Jim recalls, "I just had a rough time raising alfalfa.   I was using hybrid alfalfas that cost a lot of money, and it wouldn't come up.  We blamed it on Atrazine and all kind of things.  Then I met Ed.  Come to find out it was a lack of calcium, now I don't put out the expensive alfalfa!"  Jim now is able to put out less expensive alfalfa seed and grow a good quality crop.  He has banked his money in soil improvement, instead of the short term crop.     Next came the dairy.  "We were hurting.  We had a problem with the animals", Jim said.  "We were out looking for someone to give us some answers.  We weren't getting the cows bred and having all these health problems and we were shipping a lot of them to the yards…it took us three years to believe!"    

Book_dairy_cow_IN_01.jpgCurrently the farm raises their feed for the 85 milkers.  "I foliar spray everything; the hay, pasture and corn" Jim says.  His brother Joe feeds the cows two ounces of Growers Nutritional Solutions per animal per day in the concentrate as their supplemental mineral source.  The cows also have Growers free choice from lick tanks.

Looking at the cows in the evening after they have been milked, all of them appear healthy and in good flesh.  They have shiny eyes and hair coats and walk easily across the concrete floor. 

Book_dairy_cow_2_IN_01.jpgJim gazed across the herd, "We have some old cows.  Some have had seven calves and they are still here!  Boy, our cull rate is way down.  Last year is the first time we ever sold any animals.  We sold thirty-some, counting the heifers. We have never done that in our lives.  Extra income!" 

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