rodale 30yr study

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i don't recall this link being posted, i've not read it yet, but supposedly it is a comparison between conventional methods and organic done for 30 years.
http://66.147.244.123/~rodalein/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/FSTbookletFINAL.pdf
songbird
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I'm sure that Monsanto's response will be bigger, glossier, and praise GM products to the heavens. Supporters of the Guardians Of Privilege will see this as tampering with the free market. So, why are you spitting into the wind, bird? ;O)
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The "Green Revolution" is more than a delivery system for commodified, industrial toxin$, and patented seeds (be they GMO, or hybrid). The "Green Revolution" was the breeding of improved varieties, by NGOs, combined with the expanded use of fertilizers, irrigation, and other chemical inputs (re: insecticides). Now one of the three legs of the "Green Revolution" (Agricultural Chemicals) threatens to undo the benefits of the other two.
The first leg of the "Green Revolution" was the development of high yielding varieties of rice, wheat, sorghum, millet, maize, cassava, and beans. This was done without genetic engineering, and can still be done, but it requires biodiversity to supply unique traits.
The second leg of the "Green Revolution" is irrigation, and having the clean water to make it feasible. The easily accessed water is drying up, and AgChemicals are responsible for the lack of organic matter in the soil which can hold moisture. Soil with more organic material also absorbs water more easily, resulting in less erosion of topsoil. At the same time CAFOs are hard pressed to get rid of all the nitrogen compounds that they produce. Putting the animals on the land would also reduce the need for giving them antibiotics (recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a synthetic cow hormone that spurs milk production when injected into dairy cows is a different problem). The other alternative is to double crop, or crop rotation with soybeans, which will add organic nitrogen to the soil.
Our problems seem to come from the third leg of the "Green Revolution". the chemical inputs. At first chemical fertilizers seemed amazing, because they allowed farmers to skip crop rotation, or cover crops, but the benefit is now seen as illusionary. Chemical fertilizers have allowed the organic, water trapping content of the soil to fall. Moreover, they have poisoned our drinking water, and destroyed large swaths of rich fishing areas at the mouths of rivers, called "dead zones".
Also, we are chronically exposed to low levels of industrial pesticides. As the FST pdf pointed out, a diverse crop rotation is the primary line of defense against pests.
Globalization of food, makes food supply dependent on politics, and business cycles. If you grow broccoli for the world market, and the demand drops, it will be impossible to get your investment back. Small farms, that sell quality produce to the local area can charge more, pay a decent wage, and be sustainable.
Food for thought.
<http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/03/08/us-food-idUKTRE7272FN20110308
In any event, there are still the Mongongo nuts.
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Huh? Now I'm going to have to go and read it. Knowing of Rodales interest int he plant world it'd make sense to me for Rodale to mention 'prostrate' but I really can't see any reason for them to be referring to 'prostate' . Cancer links from growing practices perhaps??? Off to read it.....
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Billy wrote: ...

thanks Billy,
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Billy wrote: ...

unfortunately there isn't one overall study of the whole 30yrs, but instead a series of smaller studies and they did change their methods every so often for the organic plots as they learned a better rotation schedule.
i've skimmed through a few of them and found a few items of interest. when i get more rainy weather and have a bit more time i'll write up reviews of each.
organic methods can still have nitrogen leaching problems (if the nitrogen generating cover crop (they had a bumper hairy vetch crop) is turned under and the following crop doesn't grow well (weed problems caused a failure with the corn crop) then the leftover nitrogen still goes into the ground water). i'm not sure how that compared to the nitrogen leaching from a conventional fertilized field for that same season. i still have to go through that one again more slowly.
though i think the overall comparisons were done well enough, including accounting for any extra labor that was required for the organic spaces.
i'm not really sure if they gave the organic method a credit for generating the nitrogen that was used by the following crops and of course they did put the seed costs down as minus, but for an organic farm that is saving seeds this expense could be much less too (after the equipment for seed cleaning has paid for itself the rest is all gravy).
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Found 'prostrate'! And the sloppy mistake there is a reflection of the whole doco! I was not the least bit impressed by it given that I kept wondering where the evidence was. It's all excecutive summary but no detailed that usually follows for those exceutives who really do give a shit, can read and then analyse what is presented.
Does anyone know if there is link to a real report or is Rodale now doing only a dumbed down Dummies job?
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Farm1 wrote: ...

i looked, but i didn't find any data archived any place. they may publish it for a fee or include it in one of their books so they may not ever put the whole data set on the internet.
we'll see... :)
songbird
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Well it won't have any impact on how any of use who post here garden or the opinions we have. Frank will still get hysterical about things that don't accord with his world view :-))
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snipped-for-privacy@anthive.com says...

Got it. Thanks.
We're on the Rodale mailing list but notice hasn't made it through to us yet or it got lost in the usual onslaught rush of emails.
One of our more enthusiastic but technically maladroit friends emailed us something that I now believe was the summary but we couldn't make out what he was trying to tell us and the attachment didn't take.
Notice will be going out across our mailing list soon and my wife will be putting the links on our community gardens advocacy site ASAP.
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phorbin wrote: ...

you're welcome, it's a summary about 13 pages long, not very high on details about specific methods.
songbird
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On Friday, April 19, 2013 9:01:49 PM UTC-6, songbird wrote:

I certainly do like the concept of organic farming but that booklet is PROPAGANDA as bad as the crap put out by the chemical and fertilizer companies. I know of some farmers in this area who have given up on organic farming as the weed problem just overwhelmed them. Trying to fight quack grass and thistles the organic way was totally useless. I believe in using chemicals if and when necessary but should be a last resort.
Round-Up type herbicides should be used as little as possible and certainly not as pre-harvest treatments as some farmers routinely do.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

farming as the weed problem just overwhelmed them. Trying to fight quack grass and thistles the organic way was totally useless.

You'd have to update yourself on just what these chemicals do to the soil and to living organisms before settling on what is and is not propaganda.
My recent efforts have been spent in the political domain dealing with the political fog of war.
Sometimes I may not be the sharpest pin in the cushion but let me challenge the foundation of your assertion by asking the question, "What was it about this farmer's business that caused him to forego the premium prices that organic production usually nets?"
That opens lines of investigation up to and including the possibility that his organic seed had been contaminated with GMO pollen and he could no longer produce organically. (Look into GMO contamination of flax. It's nearly wiped out some organic flax farmers around here because the GMO RR gene in their seed denies them access to the lucrative European market.)
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It may be propaganda but you have no more evidence for making that statement att his point in time than Rodale provided. They may very well have good evidence to back up everything they say but they didn't bother to provide it in that doco.
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Roy wrote: ...

sounds like they didn't have the right help or ask the right questions. there is more than one "the organic way". those weeds are not impossible to deal with.

unfortunately too many have set up their farms so that the last resort is forced upon them fairly quickly. they have no diversity in crops and few beneficial critters to help.
by using the current methods they are encouraging certain weeds, bugs and fungi and are not adding many helpful parts to balance. it isn't a big surprise it goes out of whack because there's no checks and balances. they've killed off or marginalized their helpers and a fair amount of the time they are leaving the soil bare which is like wasting free energy and encouraging weed problems, but they have the crutch of *cides already established so the cycle continues.

considering in the past that it was quite possible to raise crops without using *cides at all i think that is point enough.
after all, the chem-ag-folks don't make money if the farmers get smarter and don't need their products.
songbird
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Indeed.
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David Hare-Scott wrote: ...

well like i said, the two pictures were worth thousands of words.
i agree with you though, that i'd like to see the information behind the Rodale study.
for a more scientific bent look into:
http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk /
they've run studies for quite some time (150+ years). this is the most extensive set of studies in the modern science/statistical bent that i've found so far.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

The comparison pics show something was different. But what exactly? They don't say. Soil building is admirable but just because you can build soil doesn't mean all the other requirements of a sustainable food production system are met. Unless, like them, you carefully define sustainability in terms of soil building.
I have the same problem with a local community-based horticultural trial. They are getting good results but so far have not produced enough analysis to show what the full costs are. If you put enough inputs (including hard work) into a trial you can do wonders in almost any situation but can you do it efficiently, can you keep it going on a large scale if you have to pay full price for your labour, manures etc and can you compete, or at least get close to it, regarding selling price with conventional systems?

I will have a look at the material Billy was sent.
D
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

they say the one handful of dirt that was darker was from the organic plot and the other handful was from the conventional plot. and the other picture was showing the difference between the organic and conventional plots during a drought with the organic plot showing taller and greener plants.

from my continued studies i'd say it is a good start in a world that is mostly going the other direction (destroying topsoil faster than making it).

you use the word "efficiently" but i think that word is often a focus and over-simplified into "easy". the base rate of soil production with no inputs is the absolute minimum in terms of energy expenditures. where there are no other inputs or passes of machinery or anything other than walking through and picking whatever is desired and then putting it directly in the mouth.
some complexities and inputs added above that type of system can be offset by getting more out of the garden plot. yet i don't think a lot of people keep that close of an eye on expenses or time spent because they get a lot of happiness out of raising their own food or they like the larger variety of foods they can grow that they'll not find at the store. it's hard to put an exact price on what is good about being able to go out and have fresh beans or strawberries right off the plants.
for myself, just having a good reason to get outside and exercise in a meaningful way is a huge benefit. i hate having to exercise just for the sake of exercise itself, but i can go outside and putter around in the gardens for hours and the time goes by so quickly.

they are on my reading list too.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

It was the difference in treatments that resulted in such visible differences that I was after.

Soil building is necessary but not sufficient.

That isn't what I meant. I mean so that you can compete on a large scale without a subsidy. They are using grant money to get started, the question is can they produce food sustainably using just the proceeds of sales in future?
the base rate of soil production

There are plenty of inputs required and if there is to be little or no machinery then there will be labour costs instead. The methods appropriate for a family are not going to scale up to where you can feed the whole district.

I was more interested in large scale commercially viable systems where the cost of labour and other inputs is critical.

I agree with you about home produce but that isn't what the Rodale study or my local horticulture trial is about.
David
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