Jeff Welter wrote:

I agree there's no such thing as "zero input", but I've never heard 
anyone mooting that. Do they? And call it organic? Then it would be 
the "organic by neglect" method (?) I referred to earlier - not 
organic at all, just sloppy, and one thing true organic/sustainable 
farming is not is sloppy. As you say, it takes smart stewardship.


>And one last thing, it is foolish to feed all your corn to beef
>animals rather than to allow those animals to be healthy and pasture
>them.  It may take longer for the animal to reach slaughter weight,
>but the animals will be healthier and it will be cheaper to feed
>them. once again input vs. output...   And the surprise of all, no
>one ever mentions dairy, but this is the once situation where feeding
>corn will make money because a pound of corn will yield more milk $
>than just selling the corn itself.  Sustainable agriculture and dairy
>work hand in hand and of course, rotation of crops does is a big
>key.  Notice how one crop grows, and in the process leaves something
>behind that is beneficial for another crop... and the pest problem is
>gone...  studies have shown that even a crop like oats before corn
>will help increase corn yields over corn on corn on corn year after
>year... and sticking a new crop in the mix every year or two will
>also reduce the need for fertilizers because corn sucks everything
>out of the soil, while small grains and alfalfas take less
>maintenance and are good for soil organisms.

Do you know this site? You'll enjoy it I think - Grassfed is Best.
Eat Wild

Also, do you know of the Clifton Park system? This was Elliott's 
masterful system that brought several hundred years of development in 
grassland management in Europe to a peak, about 100 years ago, still 
most relevant today. It's online here, and well worth a read - how to 
cover your entire farm with 9" of high-grade compost at no cost, 
rather as a by-product of a profitable production system. Smart 
stewardship indeed.


Keith Addison
Journey to Forever
Handmade Projects
Osaka, Japan

>Sustainable agriculture doesn't necessarily mean no input, but it
>means smart stewardship.  Taking care of the soil because that's all
>you have.  If you abuse the soil, it will not produce.  If you take
>care of the soil, the soil will produce just as much as it would
>otherwise.  In one example for my dad who is a dairy farmer in
>Wisconsin (I'm at college) we had 200 bushel per acre corn one year
>(1994), and about average yields in the past decade or so compared
>with those who use all the modern means of farming and all we use is
>dairy manure, and a good solid crop rotation.  (in case you didn't
>know, 200 bushel corn is an enviable position to be in no matter
>where in the US you grow corn, not just NW wisconsin where the
>weather doesn't favor anything more than 100 bushel per acre corn.
>check out this webpage for any ideas...

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