Animal Housing, Bird Life, Livestock — by Eric Seider May 20, 2013
If any of you have had any experience with ducks, you’ll know that they produce and deposit enormous amounts of nutrient — aka duck poo. It usually ends up over everything they come in contact with. A general good practice is to keep them on water and then either fertigate (fertilize while irrigating) with that water and/or use them in connection with an aquaculture system (a fish pond with ducks produce more fish then without). But there are plenty of books and articles about what to do with ducks, so I’ll finish my digression and return to the subject at hand — that of a water source for ducks that they can’t poo in. Well, not without really trying to.Comments (0)
Global Warming/Climate Change, Livestock, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation — by Rhamis Kent May 17, 2013
Reversing Global Warming while Meeting Human Needs
— an Urgently Needed Land-Based Option
Allan Savory never ceases to amaze and encourage me. It was really great seeing him present his recent TED Talk — and we now have another opportunity to see him speak. Tufts University hosted an event where he was given the floor to discuss Holistic Management and the many challenges and successes experienced in its development.Comments (0)
Commercial Farm Projects, Courses/Workshops, Land, Livestock, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Water Harvesting — by Owen Hablutzel May 3, 2013
Though too often vilified, both ‘cows’ and ‘plows’ have proven to be among our most effective and available tools for restoring healthy ecological and eco-agricultural systems in our landscapes. Bucking the trend in conservation that has denounced these tools from early on was Aldo Leopold – perhaps best known for his influential Land Ethic from 1948. In his earlier, groundbreaking book about working with ecosystems and wildlife, Game Management (1933), his preface made the visionary but provocative claim that “Game can be restored by the creative use of the same tools which have heretofore destroyed it — ax, plow, cow, fire, and gun.”Comments (2)
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Building, Compost, Livestock, Waste Systems & Recycling, Working Animals — by Rick Pickett March 20, 2013
Rehabilitating degraded land in the Peruvian Amazon requires utilizing many tools in ecological agriculture’s arsenal. We use a mix of sea kelp, calcium solutions, organic fertilizers, and rock phosphate to add nutrients to our sacha inchi and mocambo polycultures.
One fertilizing solution we were without on the farm when I arrived was the mighty worm bin.* Vermiculture, or vermicompost, is a low-tech, organic method of using the digestive capacity of redworms (Eisenia fetida) to recycle animal and kitchen wastes into solid and/or liquid organic fertilizers. The worms may also be used as a high-protein feed for poultry. Some enterprising farmers also get into the business of selling the worms, castings and/or teas.Comments (5)
Desertification, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Livestock, Presentations/Demonstrations, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination — by Bob Nekrasov March 5, 2013
I have been waiting so long for Allan to get on Ted Talks! Now, here it is. Prepared to have your minds blown, ok?
I am sure you’re going to want to know more about HM in Australia and where to learn? The best training for HM comes out of InsideOutside Management. As it happens, they have a training beginning in April 2013. Although located in NSW they are able to travel across Australia to organise training, so get in touch! You will want to after seeing this.Comments (15)
Land, Livestock, Plant Systems — by John David Mitchell February 13, 2013
Occam’s Grazer provides an introduction to Holistic Management and holistic grazing as well as many powerful insights, philosophies, and useful ideas from people who are using the framework and practices every day. This video is a must for anyone who wants to learn more about taking a holistic approach to grazing in their ranch business, how it works, and the potential benefits. It was designed to be a resource for ranchers, potential ranchers, environmentalists, and educators, but is also being well received by the general public.
Further Reading/Watching:Comments (6)
Animal Housing, Consumerism, Economics, Health & Disease, Livestock — by Fraser Bliss February 8, 2013
These days organic food is a major trend and a multi billion dollar business. We find organic food in supermarkets in all shapes and forms. Advertising would have us believe that this organic food comes from idyllic small farms where farmers work the land by hand using traditional methods. It is a wonderful concept, but is it true? Is this the same high quality food that comes from home gardens and local farmers’ markets?
The TV advertisement below is from Ja Natürlich (translated: Yes Naturally), the organic brand of the German Rewe Group, which owns several supermarket chains in Austria such as Billa (Billiger Laden, translated: Cheap Store). This is how they describe their organic products:
What a cute ad. It starts off with the piglet saying, "Dear happy chickens, the farmer wants to take your picture." It goes on like this and certainly gives the impression that a decision for Ja Natürlich eggs is a choice that is healthy for us and supports small farmers still using traditional hand tools. The peaceful countryside setting is complete with chickens, an adorable talking piglet running freely around in an old barn yard, and even the farmer’s old-timer Nikon rangefinder camera is used to take their picture. The ad makes quite a bold claim: "Eggs from overly happy chickens." It would be wonderful if it was true, but is this really from where our precious store-bought organic eggs come from?Comments (10)
Animal Forage, Bird Life, Breeds, Food Forests, Insects, Livestock, Plant Systems, Working Animals — by Eric Toensmeier January 24, 2013
Cattle grazing under alder in silvopasture system
at Las Canadas, Huatusco, Mexico
Integrating livestock seems to be the best way to have a larger-scale food forest (anything over one hectare or a couple of acres). If done properly, livestock integration can greatly reduce labor and fossil fuel needs. It can create the conditions for happy and healthy livestock. Done poorly, it can ruin soils and destroy crops. Here are a few things that I’ve been learning as I travel around and view this aspect of permaculture in action (plus some important tidbits from reading).Comments (30)
Animal Forage, Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Land, Livestock, People Systems, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Trees — by Steve Hanson December 24, 2012
by Steve Hanson
2012 is our eighth year of small scale farming in France and has seen us move from income dependence to financial security and independence. Looking back over the last eight years at our mistakes and our successes in getting to this point demonstrates the value of an integrated approach.
When we arrived in France we had a single idea to provide us with income; that of breeding pigs and selling high quality organic free range pork and pork products. This worked well for three years but in our fourth year, 2008, a poor global grain harvest sent the price of grain skyward almost doubling the price from our local farmer. This gave us cause to rethink our future dependency on outside sources for anything which the global market could affect — this is of course everything!
So how do we remove ourselves as far from external influences and gain self-reliance at the same time?Comments (14)
Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Livestock — by George Monbiot November 28, 2012
Robbing the poor, trashing the natural world: Europe’s farm subsidies are an obscenity.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
Photo: Jim Bain via Wikimedia
There’s a neat symmetry in the numbers which helped to sink the European summit. The proposed budget was €50bn higher than the UK government could accept(1). This is the amount of money that European farmers are given every year(2). Britain’s contentious budget rebate is worth €3.6bn a year(3): a fraction less than our contribution to Europe’s farm subsidies(4).
Squatting at the heart of last week’s summit, poisoning all negotiations, is a vast wobbling lump of pork fat called the Common Agricultural Policy. The talks collapsed partly because the president of the European Council, pressed by the Francois Hollande, proposed inflating the great blob by a further €8bn over six years(5). I don’t often find myself on their side, but the British and Dutch governments were right to say no.
It is a source of perpetual wonder that the people of Europe tolerate this robbery. Farm subsidies are the 21st century equivalent of feudal aid: the taxes mediaeval vassals were forced to pay their lords for the privilege of being sat upon(6). The single payment scheme, which accounts for most of the money, is an award for owning land. The more you own, the more you receive.Comments (1)
Courses/Workshops, Land, Livestock, Swales, Working Animals — by Penny Kothe November 21, 2012
Capturing water before it runs off your property is key to rehydrating parched landscapes. Building ‘swales’ or channels along contour with uncompacted mounds is one way of assisting water infiltration.
Building swales can also be an expensive exercise utilising heavy machinery which is expensive to transport and hire.
Nick Huggins, of Jacmarall Farm uses an innovative way of building smaller swales that is within the economic reach of most small farmers. Using pigs to do the bulk of the digging work, Nick calls this ‘pigscavation’.Comments (2)
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Livestock, Working Animals — by Ecofilms October 8, 2012
Here’s a great idea for a chicken coop built to fit the dimensions of straw bales. A simple four post construction with a raised floor and tin roof is all you need. Both sides of the chicken coop have temporary straw-bale walls that keeps the coop warm in winter and cool in summer. Chickens lay their eggs and roost in the center of the coop. In the springtime you replace the straw with fresh material. You don’t need to build any extra timber walls as the straw bales will keep the elements from entering the coop and keep the chickens nice and cosy.
The discarded bales can be either used as mulch bedding for the garden or used as deep litter for the chickens to scratch through and fertilize the material. Either way, its an efficient way to build your coop and keep the chickens happy.Comments (3)
Aquaculture, Biological Cleaning, Bird Life, Food Plants - Annual, Irrigation, Livestock, Plant Systems, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling, Working Animals — by Charlie Jones August 22, 2012
You don’t need to eat fish to set up a backyard aquaponics system! Ducks are a great alternative and produce a huge amount of nutrient for growing veggies (not to mention providing eggs, meat and snail and slug control!) and they’re generally good friends to have around. At the Farm of Fluff, Chris and James set up this ‘quaquaponics’ system with a few bits and pieces we’d collected from the side of the road — and so far it’s doing brilliantly! You need a strong pump and good filtration to cope with the large particles coming through though! (We found a whole tomato blocking the drain one day, so check and clean regularly!)Comments (7)
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Fencing, Land, Livestock, Working Animals — by Dan Palmer July 18, 2012
In late 2009 we were engaged to complete a design for a ¼ acre block in the Melbourne suburbs. It was for a family of four and the husband in particular was keen to grow lots of food.Comments (4)
Browsing (feeding on vegetation other than grasses) may be an important aspect of the equine diet that is often overlooked, yet it may play an important role in the digestive health and the natural behaviour of horses. Scientists at the University of New England (NSW, Australia) are embarking on a research project to improve our understanding of an area of equine nutrition that is largely unknown.Comments (2)