Re: organic farm dependence on off-farm manure sources

Greg & Lei Gunthorp (
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 12:43:58 -0500

Isn't a lot of the disregard for livestock and complex rotations on organic
farms a market driven rather than farmer driven problem? Its relatively
easy to sell all the organic grains a person can produce around here by just
making one phone call.(soybeans especially) I'm not sure if there are
enough phone lines around to make the necessary phone calls to sell the
livestock or the components of a complex rotation.
Best wishes,
Gunthorp's Pasture-ized Pork
LaGrange, Indiana (a stones throw from Ohio & Michigan)
visit our farm at
-----Original Message-----
From: joel b gruver <>
To: Wilson, Dale <>
Cc: <>
Date: Tuesday, November 24, 1998 12:53 PM
Subject: RE: organic farm dependence on off-farm manure sources

>Hello Dale and all others,
>My original post was not intended to spark a
>debate on whether or not organic farms should be nutrient self
>I think agricultural utilization of available "clean" off-farm nutrient
>sources is very desirable...
>The main gist of my orignal post is in the following sentence...
>> Joel wrote:
>> > on-farm integration of crops and livestock and complex
>> > rotations that include both row rops and sod crops are
>> > still largely ignored on many organic farms.
>I think that the original proponents of "organic agriculture"
>e.g. Howard, J.R. Rodale, Balfour... would be disappointed to find that so
>many of todays organic farms do not integrate livestock and do not follow
>complex crop rotations...
>Off-farm sources of nutrients should be used strategically to supplement
>efficient on farm
>nutrient cycling... my feeling is that profligate use of off-farm manure
>has replaced rational nutrient management on too many organic farms...
>The "organic" label should mean extra careful management... any organic
>farmer that can not tell you the rate at which he is applying manure
>should be certified as "organic but not ecological"...
>As mandatory nutrient management is implemented in various parts
>of the US (e.g. Chesapeake Bay watershed) and world (e.g. Netherlands), I
>wonder how the regulations will deal with organic farms that rely on
>off-farm manure yet have already loaded up their soils with high levels of
>P and K from past manure applications ?
>Joel Gruver
>U of MD
>Soil Quality Research
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