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Farming with fewer inputs

Farmers are a thrifty crowd: the Husch barn is filled with junk that we keep, thinking “we might need this someday.” So we take naturally to the tenets of conservation.

Water, fossil fuels, fertilizer: we are always looking for a way to use less. At Husch we have had some amazing successes in this challenge.

Our recurring California droughts remind us frequently that we need to use less irrigation water. In the 1980s we installed a drip system to take over the irrigation duty from the wasteful sprinklers. After the 2008 drought we installed a “dual drip system” in the vineyard, shaving our water use by another 30%. In fact, since the 1970s we have reduced our irrigation water by 90%.

Water conservation also requires us to ask "when" we are using water. Working with our friends at The Nature Conservancy and the Navarro River Center we are working on a vision for vineyard water use. The idea is simple: collect water in the winter when it is abundant, store it in leak-proof ponds, and then use it for summer irrigation. This common sense approach is tough to legally implement in California (water rights are a daunting quagmire), but the project is nearing completion. The ponds have been upgraded to leak-proof liners, we have ceased summer pumping from the Navarro River, and the new winter water right is moving forward. Yay!

Conservation also means burning less diesel. The grazing sheep at Husch are more than just a pastoral photo opportunity -- they graze the fields in the winter so we don’t need to mow with a diesel-burning tractor. No-till practices and using liquid fertilizers instead of solids also help Husch reduce the number of tractor passes through the vineyard.

Learn more about Husch’s other sustainable practices: No-till farming * The Light Touch * Valuing Old Vines * Social Equity

Husch Vineyards
Tasting Room: 4400 Hwy 128, Philo, CA 95466
Mail Address: PO Box 189, Talmage, CA 95481
Open Daily 10am to 5pm
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