Re: Re Interesting Article
Greg & Lei Gunthorp (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thu, 22 Oct 1998 13:02:00 -0500
In my area(North east Indiana), wheat is not a viable option unless you need
the straw, can use the ground for fall pasture, value labor and equipment
reductions because of harvest in a different season, etc. Its all about
complimentary enterprises. It is mostly diversified crop/livestock farms
that are the only ones still growing wheat or oats. A large percentage of
it is so the confinement livestock guys have some where to go with manure
from July to October.
We still use wheat. We frost seed clover into it in the spring. The fall
pasture from the clover (for non bloating pigs) easily lets wheat compete
with corn and beans BEFORE we count in the value of straw. A smaller
combine, dryer, etc could be an added benefit. Wheat acres can also grow a
very high yielding crop of brassicas for fall and early winter pasture. Its
also a good nurse crop for seeding hay fields. Small grains should have a
role in sustainable crop production.
In my area, alfalfa is also a very legitimate alternative. We have a
large amish community and we are also getting a sizeable number of horse
owners. Alfalfa competes VERY favorably with corn and beans, especially on
the marginal ground. Its biggest drawback is marketing.
A lot of this boils down to the fact that we are convinced that science is
going to find a solution for every problem we ever come up with. There is
yet no real need for crop rotations. Most of the people I know of that are
using intricate crop rotations are simply doing it for philosophical reasons
or because of OCIA requirements. (I don't consider corn/beans anything more
than a crop alternation.) We do need some legitimate alternatives. I still
believe the biggest overlooked choice in the US is hay or pasture. A
concientious effort by some one to put grass fed animals on an equal footing
with feedlot animals would do as much for crop rotations as anything. We
have to acknowledge where all these corn and soybeans are going some time.
It isn't for human consumption.
Gunthorp's Pasture-ized Pork
LaGrange, Indiana (a stones throw from Ohio & Michigan)
visit our farm at www.grassfarmer.com
From: Jim Quinton <email@example.com>
To: PetersFarm@aol.com <PetersFarm@aol.com>; frederickr.magdoff
<firstname.lastname@example.org>; sanet <email@example.com>
Date: Thursday, October 22, 1998 11:53 AM
Subject: Re: Re Interesting Article
>Any crop can be grown on Mr. Pool's land, but the returns are not
>sufficient to match it's use for the two-crop rotation of corn and soybeans
>(...not a "monoculture")... It's very likely that soft red winter wheat
>could be worked into his cropping system better than any of the others you
>suggest, but even that would not likely come within $50/acre of the
>potential net returns in the corn/soybean rotation. IF "double-cropping"
>the winter wheat with soybeans following were possible (it's too far north
>for that), there could be the rotation change you ask about, but that
>hasn't been feasible up to now.
>At 10:50 AM 10/21/98 -0400, PetersFarm@aol.com wrote:
>>Dear Dr. Magdoff -
>>..............They don't have alternatives? Why in $%^%#@ not?
>>Why can't they grow barley, oats, wheat, rape, sugar beets, whatever, for
>a few years? Why can't they diversify - don't 1,400 acres of any one crop
>invite trouble? Is monoculture the real culprit? Do the rules governing
>federal subsidies prohibit alternatives? Are corn and soybeans the only
>crops that can yield profits? $16 an acre for 1,400 acres = $22,400 cost
>for one insecticide each year - for one farm. How much profit do the
>insecticide companies get out of that?
>>I guess these questions should really be addressed to Dr. Steffey, but
>>some SANeters have answers to offer?
>>More than curious,
>Jim Quinton, Risk Management Coordinator
>Agricultural Conservation Innovation Center (ACIC)
>2234 S. Hobson Ave.
>Charleston, SC 29405-2413
>phone: (843) 740-1327
>fax: (843) 740-1331
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