Anita Graf (Staff) wrote:
> Victoria Mundy wrote:
> > Hello everyone,
> > In an article published in _Choices_ magazine (First Quarter 1997, p.
> > 10-13), Mr. Avery brought up a point that I'd appreciate some research
> > direction on...it appeared to be a point that does need addressing instead
> > of dismissing.
> > He says that we do not have enough organic nitrogen to support organic
> > production. He suggests that the only way to get the necessary N is to
> > clear forests to plant more legumes.
> Victoria, how about addressing the major pollution problem of
> nitrogen runoff? Much of this *is* from commercial fertilizers, but
> there is a lot that also comes from livestock operations. Why is it
> that "waste disposal" of N-rich manures is such a big problem for
> many dairies and other livestock operations at the same time that
> people are paying big bucks for synthetic nitrogen? I think that
> Avery's assumptions only make sense assuming that we continue this
> assinine custom of leaving major breaks in the nutrient cycle.
> >most of the organic farmers I talk to *do* tend to import N in the
> >form of off-farm compost, off-farm manure, etc. Their goal is
> >always not to have to do so, but this goal seems difficult to
> Certainly cover cropping in a crop rotation is critical, but if this
> isn't sufficient, maybe organic ag needs to take a clue from the
> biodynamics people and give some consideration to making their
> operations into "farm organisms." The first part of this having
> livestock on the land -- the natural source of high quality
> nutrients, including the precious nitrogen. One last comment,
> manures need to be properly handled (composted) for ultimate nutrient
> value and food safety. Anita
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