2. Nitrogen dynamics under no-till
- Mineralization over time
- Fate of broadcast N (fertilizer and manure)
- Effect on N requirements of certain crops
3. Management of some specific weed problem
- Herbicide vs other approaches
- Potential losses
- Rotation and cover crop effects
So, are your fingers broken? If these are interesting to you, why
haven't you written one single posting or article on any of them? I just got
done reviewing all digests back to issue number 411 (June 1998). I am unable
to locate any messages you posted at all except dissection-responses to others
I apologize for not writing on your favorite list of things of interest,
so that you could take an opportunity to at least write a critical point of
view, but none of these are of compelling interest to me. None of these
things are practical in my definition of sustainable agriculture. Take number
(1). My preferred system doesn't use cover crops, it uses composted mulch
when not growing plants. Sorry about that.
On subject (2), plants can be greedy for nitrogen, uptaking more than is
healthy and good for them. I am not interested in short term maximization of
plant productivity at the cost of long-term fertility of the soil and tilth
characteristics. Nitrogen should be provided by soil organisms who are
deathly allergic to large doses of chemical nitrogen in episodic deluges. I
prefer humus-based slow steady time-release nitrogen from organic reserves
stored in microbial living tissues until minutes before the plant gets them.
The instantaneous soil test for water soluble nitrogen would look poor to the
chemical farmer, but the plants produce abundantly forever without the
feast/famine nitrogen cycle.
On subject (3), what weeds? Ground mulch smothers their seeds, the loose
soil makes their uprooting simple, and the growing crops in intensive beds
makes a "green mulch" of their leaves shading the weedlets below. Gee, I
thought you wanted to talk about no-till, sustainable stuff, but all you seem
to want to talk about is how to work harder to support chemical companies
while slowly (instead of quickly) strip-mining the fertility of the soil.
I think it is long past time for the "practicalists" to show us "BS"ers
their cards, and speak plainly on the subjects they advocate. If they
published their thoughts to the peer-review process, like you have just done,
us BSers could help you correct your thinking the same way the Practicalist
faction is always correcting ours.
Your list of priorities in discussion topics plainly shows a different
definition of sustainable. No-till in my definition does not compact the
ground with heavy equipment crushing the soil life. The growing soil is never
even stepped on. It is worked extensively by worms, aerated, turned,
digested, making a spaghetti-mess of tunnels with ideal water infiltration and
capillary conduction, making a soil plasma highly rich with desirable
nitrogen-fixing bacteria. You do not control or own the definition of "no-
till" so why should you make the assumption yours is the way way the term
should be used. Why should I buy a definition, which requires me to buy
equipment to crush the life out of the soil, then buy poison to kill what's
left with herbicides, and then buy nitrogen to replace what I could have had
without buying all that?
You definition also presupposes that I enjoy being heavily in debt,
supporting many off-farm families with my financial risk and sweat off my
brow. I don't need to make near as much gross income to have a decent living
if I choose not to support that crowd. I don't need it for agricultural
sustainability, and my personal economic sustainability is jeopardized by
natural disaster or adverse weather in direct proportion to the more indebted
I am. How is this "practical"?
Before all you practicalists leave the discussion for your own discussion
group why don't a few more of you post your list of "practical" "sustainable"
topics. I won't promise to change my scientifically defended entrenched
position to switch over to your side, but I think it is psychologically
healthy for you to take the risk to expose your inner world to sunlight and
fresh air. And I think it healthy to expose yourself to peer-review, as I have
Ecological-Synergistically yours, sincerely, Lion Kuntz.
>> LionKuntz@aol.com <<
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