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dpack

soil preservation

linky to a wp article which although about large scale in iowa might be relevant to smaller scale issues as well as of interest to any commercial growers.

i recon the downsides of weed seeds/pest habitat are more than outbid by the upsides of soil retention,run off reduction,pollinator/predator habitats and as usual some of the "weeds" can be quite useful resources.
Slim

It's always hard to recognize the costs and benefits of services and effects that had previously been externalized. e.g., On a human timescale the rich soils of the prairie have always been like that and always will be. On a multi-generational timescale the impacts of conventional tillage become apparent
Mistress Rose

An interesting article. If it is correct, it makes a lot of sense to plant 'praire' next to streams and rivers. I have seen the effect that rain has on some sandy fields not too far from here, and if I was the farmer, I think I would put it back to pasture. Most of the sand ends up on the road, so has to be tranported back up the hill.
dpack

it works well on the ching's asparagus farm and has stopped their fields heading for the sea.
NorthernMonkeyGirl

I feel bad that there is such inertia. You only have to watch ploughed soil literally blowing away to see that there's a problem there. How long have we known things like root structures and soil life and hydrology?
Farmers aren't stupid, so where is this pressure to be destructive coming from?
Slim

I feel bad that there is such inertia. You only have to watch ploughed soil literally blowing away to see that there's a problem there. How long have we known things like root structures and soil life and hydrology?
Farmers aren't stupid, so where is this pressure to be destructive coming from?


The costs of your actions have historically been externalized (Just to name one, only recently have lawsuits been brought up to address exessive nitrate in Iowa's water supply, as mentioned in the article) and the cost of building the soil has also been externalized, as it took place many thousands of years ago. At some point along the though process you have to consider the term "mining" as well as farming (much more so if you consider the fertility inputs being extracted from elsewhere)

If I tell you that you can do practices A, B & C and get fantastic yields that help you to keep your family farm running with just you behind the wheel of the tractor, as your kids have headed towards the city, versus practices X, Y & Z which maybe only gives you 75% of the same yields and you're now not sure if you'll turn a profit this year, which do you choose? Our market has been setup to reward A, B, C farming, not X, Y, Z
dpack

" Our market has been setup to reward A, B, C farming, not X, Y, Z"

indeed it is,in some places the situation is even more short term thinking for instance the sea of plastic in the fruit and veg bit of spain which first mined the soil until that didnt work and then poisoned it with the fertiliser/biocide residues until they either grow metallic tasting cucumbers or go hydrponic.( they have also nearly run out of water as the rain in spain does not fall mainly on the plain and the "fossil"aquifers have been "mined" out.

in europe the biofuel boom (so as gov's can partially greenwash the energy /co2 equations) has led to maize/oilseed crops for "petrol" and biogas being grown in a way that leaves the soil naked and washing or being blown away for most of the year on land that would be productive as permanent pasture for grazing/hay or even as rotation arable with a bit of help from inputs but the money is best with the short term greenwashing crops. (and can have a big pesticide/herbicide/fertilizer input that is both toxic and would not be economic if it wasnt for the greenwashing subsidies) .
yummersetter

Did anyone listen to R4 Food Programme on Strawberry growing last week? Quite horrifying hearing of soil treatment with tear gas in California to remove all life-forms that might spoil the 'perfection' of the fruit.
Profit overrules all.
tahir

Muppet punters too. Customers want uniform perfect strawberries
tahir

Californian fruit and nuts are very bad overall, huge amount of irrigation, plus all the spraying etc. Terrible environmental impact
Mistress Rose

And they wonder why the bees die. Apart from that, the supermarkets have brainwashed people into wanting 'perfect' fruit. As most people have never grown fruit and vegetables, they don't know what a real one looks like.
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