Re: organic farm dependence on off-farm manure sources

Karl S North (northsheep@juno.com)
Sun, 22 Nov 1998 18:29:03 -0500

Sanet: (By the way, I wish everyone would adopt the email list protocol
of addressing their messages so one knows what list they are to be
identified with)

On Mon, 16 Nov 1998 00:09:35 -0500 (EST) joel b gruver
<jgruv@wam.umd.edu> writes:
>Where in the US do we currently have concentrated pockets of "chicken
>manure organics" ?
>
>In areas with current high organic dependency on off-farm chicken
>manure,
>are there studies being done on the long term effects of this
>dependency
>and/or how to increase the complexity of on-farm organic fertility
>management to decrease the dependency of organic farms on chicken
>manure ?
>
>Are there areas in the US where organic farms were once primarily
>dependent on off-farm manure but now have dramatically changed their
>fertility management ?

My impression of organic farming in New York is that little of it is
fertility self-sufficient. I know of no surveys, but until interest in
organic dairy blossomed two years ago, few NOFA-NY certified farms had
the livestock necessary to be manure self-sufficient. My long experience
on the NOFA-NY Certification Program Standards Board tells me that there
has always been great interest in all sorts of purchased fertility
inputs, including chicken manure compost. The board recently discovered
that one outfit was selling almost raw, dried chicken manure as compost.
There has been little response over the years to my articles promoting
ruminant animal based fertility as the basis of sustainability. Those few
organic fruit and/or vegetable farmers who are concerned with monitoring
and maintaining and building organic soil matter are convinced that
intensive tillage systems need to be fed the fertility surplus from
intensive grazing/composting systems.

Karl North
Northland Sheep Dairy
"Mother Nature never tries to farm without livestock" --Albert Howard
"Pueblo que canta no morira" --Cuban saying

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