Rob and Susan, Travis, Stacey, and Jake Dewald
Our home place is located 5 miles west of Ritzville WA. along Interstate 90 in an 8 to 10 inch rainfall zone, and we also farm 2 to 4 miles north of Davenport, WA along State Highway 25, in a 14 inch rainfall zone.
I am the 4th generation of our family farm. My great grandfather and his brother homesteaded here in 1889. Our living room is my great grandfathers original homestead house. My grandfather, born in our living room in 1900, farmed the land with mules into the late 40's and then switched to a diesel tractor. My father took over the farm in the early 60's and started with deep furrow drills, so he could leave more residue and do less tillage. I started with my father in the mid 80's. We were unhappy with the erosion that we still had. So in 1995 we started direct seeding on 160 acres. We expanded our direct seeded acres a little every year until 2004 when we went 100%. Our Ritzville farm is split, 1/3 of the acres into a two-year rotation of chem, fallow and then winter wheat, and the other 2/3 of the acres, into a three-year rotation of chem, fallow, winter wheat, and barley. Our Davenport farms have been annual cropped since 1995. We have raised winter and spring wheat, barley, yellow and condiment mustard, and spring canola.
Direct seeding is the best thing that has been done to our land since it was broke out of native prairie sod. It has basically stopped our wind, water and tillage erosion. It is slowly building organic matter, and all the beneficial organisms, worms etc. in the soil that has been destroyed by tillage over the past 100 plus years. It will give our three children, and the generations to come, better soil than what I started with. Our fertilizer is gps prescription applied according to previous years harvested data, and pesticide usage is gps precision applied, all to avoid overlaps and over usage. It is truly a win-win situation for humans and the environment.
Shepherd's Grain is a place where we can market our clean and environmentally friendly grain that we as direct seeders take so much pride in. Shepherd's Grain is a vital link in our sustainable farming chain.
It is great to learn and understand what our customers want and looking for. It is a way to show and explain how we grow our crops and protect the soil and environment. Education is a great way to learn and grow.