The Future of Agriculture and the Importance of Developing Our Skills and Knowledge Base

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Yes, his style is good, but I don't recognise the environment he's describing, (as in fast food, following food fabs, buying diet books, corn) so it isn't as appealing to me.
The analysis of corn in

Could be, but I think I'd be getting it on interlibrary loan if at all. I find that now we are well and truly 'retired' from paid employment, our food habits are simple and quite like those of my parents or grandparents - home cooked, home prepared etc. We never climb into the car to go on a long drive without the picnic basket and these days I couldn't even be bothered with restaurants unless we go to a big family 'do'. I even tend to avouid big supermarkets till I need to stock up on cleaning/toot paper etc - can't stand the crowds or queues these days so I get there at the crack of dawn if I can.
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<snip all>
Thanks for the article....nothing new to me. If you ever get the chance, you should really see one of these feedlot operations.
Same for a CAFO hog operation. Or poultry operation.
I've seen, been through, and smelled/smelled of, all three.
You won't give Tyson another dime.
That stuff isn't meat, Billy.
Disgustedly Charlie
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You're right as usual Charlie. It is pure misery to the poor critter that gets caught in it.
But the article wasn't for them what knows but for them that don't know. All life has a value beyond $$$$$.
--
FB - FFF

Billy

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Meat produced that way, ends up how meat is supposed to taste. So long as producers have oil to transport it to the very top-price end of the meat market, they will. When they no longer have oil, no doubt they will swim beef across water and walk it across land from where it was raised to where it gets sold; a method used here within living memory. Just this morning on BBC radio, I was listening to someones plan to walk a herd of geese on foot through London as part of a project to show city kids where the food on their plate comes from. In my father's lifetime, live geese were still walked long distance to market.

That is already done quite extensively here (in the UK). In this part of Scotland, again within living memory. the only fertilisers used on commercial arable crops were seaweed, ash and animal manures (collected by keeping the animals confined at night). A local commercial veg producer still uses only those natural, local fertilisers, and can sell their Organic crops at a premium price.

I'm talking about farming essential proteins, not calories.And you can get far more than meat from livestock; they also produce fertiliser, hide, fat wool and bone. You'll be needing bone needles for knitting and sewing; animal fat for greasing the wooden wheels of your wagon, and hoff and horn to make glue to mend your wind-powered computer.
In cool climate areas of a world with a short growing season and no petrol transport, it would be hard to grow enough digestible protein crops. So it makes sense to grow animals (on non-arable land) for all the very valuable ways they can be used.
Janet.
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David, I know you are in Australia, but it seems that you are ignorant of the amount of marginal land we have here. When a food basket area of Australia like the Murry is now not allowed to do any watering, that land is well and truly into the marginal territory. and it may be there permanenelty with global warming.
However in many places feeding animals on pasture that is quite

Yes it is, it's particulalry favoured in the US, but that is not the whole picture depite how the author wrote his article.
Lot and shed fed beasts _are_ fed on grain

Yes, but it can be otherwise and will be otherwise at sometime in the future and if that land isn't built over by McMansions.

I've got to say that this is absolute rubbish. It's not JUST about getting calories and it's not just about how animals are currently fed. And THAT is the whole problem about the original article. The author seemed to know so little about social history that he couldn't make a valid point to save himself.
Where do you get your nutrients to grow this food? You can't keep producing food without input of fertiliser for all but a very short period of time.
In a non oil world the easiest and best source of that is animals manure. and animals will also give you other far more useful byproducts that are needed to sustain life - this includes (briefly) leather and fibre and rennet and soap and a hundred other things.
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Please don't jump to conclusions. I am well aware that Oz is the driest inhabited continent and has the oldest most impoverished soils and that historically we have not dealt with these facts very well. I still have trouble with you saying

All my neighbours run beef cattle on pasture. They mainly fertilise it with chicken litter. The chooks are fed on feed derived from grain. The grain is fed with chemical fertiliser. The paddocks not given chicken litter are given superphosphate etc. My concern is just as valid for these pasture fed cattle as for lot fed animals.
Such a concept only applies

It doesn't snow here but the grass stops for about three months a year in winter. Unless you want your animals to lose a lot of condition over that time you must supplemenatary feed with hay or silage. Growing hay is essential to the way the beef industry works here. The concept does apply here and in many other beef producing areas.
As for running down the stock over winter I can only imagine you are talking about animals other than cattle.

I never said it was the whole picture, I said he has a point.

We agree.

You are picking out one bit of what I said and ignoring the context. I didn't say it's _all_ about calories I said you lose calories by growing animals. The matter of humans having trouble getting enough protein of the right sort from an all vegetable diet has not been mentioned, once again don't assume that because I don't mention it I don't know about it. I am not shilling for the vegans, I'm an omnivore.
And THAT is

Obviously. And if your fertilser options are limited or much more expensive you need to consider the efficiency of your operation in generating calories. In Australia we eat far more meat than we need for dietary purposes because we like it. Can't you concede that there is future in which we may not be able to afford that luxury?

I have no problem with that at all.
David
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wrote:

Good points all. I think one *must* study the social history of tribes and indigenous peoples to understand what they ate and how they survived. Study the area in which you will find yourself when the downturn begins. What works in Australia may not work here in the plains of the us or the steppes of Siberia. People throughout history have adapted to what is available to them, but for the most part, at least in our macmodern world, this knowledge is gone.
Eating locally takes on a much more important meaning when one considers that there may not be input from areas beyond your particular region.
Care Charlie
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Since you have divorced what I wrote from the context of the article on which I was commenting and have also snipped any mention of small animals, then clearly I'm writing about cattle.
To put it back in context. The author of the article assumed that all cattle are fed on grain. You and I boht know that is not the case although it may be the case for most of the time in the US (although God knows why given the falvour of grain fed beef).

It IS possible in limited circumstances most of which don't apply across the breadth of drought ravaged Australia where animals will be able to forage and survive where a vegetaive food would shrivel to a crisp. The animals won't in general be prime killing stock for frying/grilling but they will certainly be edible in casserole/stew form. I suspect you must live in a water rich area to write what you did.

Haven't you been to a butchers recently? It's already getting to that level.
In

Yep. You got my point there.
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OK then how does reducing stock over winter relate to raising beef? What proportion of your stock go to market at less than 12 months? I don't see what you are getting at.

OK
My comments were not restricted to Australia and there are many places here and overseas where a crop could replace pasture.
Are you claiming that if things get tough as in our doomsday scenario we will be able to go right on eating as much meat as we do now? This paragraph and your later comments suggest that you will answer no. In which case we agree.

Not to the level where it's feast days only.

Once again we seem to be coming to agreement.
David
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I knew that :-)).
Remember, I was commenting on the article - this is not about the age at which we sell our beasts.
The author of the article wrote that the best thing (and I'm paraphasing so you see what I'm on about) post oil would be to be a veggie because "vegetable production requires far less land than animal production. Even the pasture land for a cow is about one hectare, and more land is needed to produce hay, grain, and other foods for that animal." and "of animals is not easy" and "The third problem is that of cost: animals get sick, animals need to be fed, animals need to be enclosed, and the bills add up quickly. Finally, vegetable food requires less labor than animal food to produce; less labor, in turn, means more time to spend on other things"
Basically most of that is rot and/or assumes that animals are fed on grain/hay or 'other foods'.
If we were immediately tossed into a post oil world, I'd keep our cattle. They are easy to raise (unlike his thoughts on that - occasionally one will meet its maker through natural causes but that is seldom). They can be raised purely on grass because we don't like in a climate where they have to be put in a barn and fed over winter (thus no need to grow food for them) and they'd be a good thing to own where syntheic products like vinyl and plastic is no longer available. And sometimes they'd also be 'meat' but really they'd be too useful to just be 'meat'.
My real quibble with the article was that the guy seemd to have a very limited view of what would happen in a post oil world. He, and many other people, don't seem to know where event he most basic things that would make life worth living (like soap and light) would come from in such a scenario. I've always been fascinated by how people lived pre electricity and pre oil. I think the worst thing would be getting proper clothing.

Yes it could BUT most countries these days are becoming less and less capable of supporting themsleves in food production. Oz is still one of the lucky ones but if we keep going the way we are with appallingly cheap imports then it won't be long before we are in the same boat as much of the rest of the world.

Yep we do agree on the fact that there will be reduced meat eating. But if we had rabbits then that would be a different thing altogether. I still remember pre battery hen days when chook was a feast day food and I was born and raised on a poultry farm.

:-)) Yeah but it's heading there.

Yep.
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Not practical, the catcher refuses to hand them over without lots of holes.
I still

Roast chicken was what you had at Christmas or your birthday if you were lucky.
David
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Just a matter of training him :-) Poachers here still hunt hares with dogs, and rabbits with ferrets.
Janet.(Scotland)
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:-)) so do my Jack Russells.

Yep. Are you an old fart too?
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We'd certainly have less of it. I'm only one generation away from when many rural people (like our old neighbour) just had the clothes they stood up in, and only very occasionally took off a layer to wash it. When adult-sized clothes wore out they were cut down and made into childrens clothes, or unravelled and re-knitted. Wool and linen fabrics could last for decades.
The second biggest home fabric-source in Scotland, after wool, was flax crops grown for linen. I've also seen a very strong soft fabric very like linen, made the same way, from nettles.
Janet.
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Yes but the thing that occurs to me in this post apocalyptic fantasy game, is that fleece would disappear. I love being able to throw it into the washing machine. Mind you, I still wear enormous quantities of 'real' fibre like wool but I do have to hand wash it.
I'm only one generation away from

Yep. I can also relate to that.

And of course we have hemp fibre these days. But the worst thing that I find is that as a sewer (although I notice that Americans seem to caller this a 'sewist' and for good reason) it is just impossible to get quality fabric today that used to be available in the early 60s. Its there but at the most extortionate prices. I was looking for a good quality linen to make a shirt. The only fabric I found of the quality I wanted was $220/metre!!!! It was for embroidery and would have been bought in lots of about 20cm square.
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wrote:

shops? But maybe not enough for a shirt...?
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<Persephone> wrote in message

The only fabric I found of the quality I wanted was

No unfortunately. The best fabric shop round here closed down when one of those cheap fabric chains moved in full of Chinese and really shoddy quality fabric. The remaining 2 reasonable shops don't have a big range so it's like Henry Foord's Model Ts - any colour so long as it's the colour they have it in. I wanted good old fashioned pure white high quality fibre. Nada! To find it I'd probably have to go to Sydney whihc is about 4 hours away and then pay for accommodation, hunt around diverse locations to find whichever shop does quality these days - it's just easier to give up. I still remember teh fabric my mother bought in the '50s - beautiful Swiss cottons, Irish linen etc. Sigh.
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wrote:

Agreed.
I agree.
Grass fed beef, slow to maturity, is some of the best I have eaten, along with bison, which is available locally for us. Harvesting and storing winter feed is certaily doable, on a limited scale, though work it is. Most of the time here, snow cover is not total through the winter.
Also, depending upon your location, deer, elk, etc. are there for the harvesting, at least for now. I used to hunt, and eat whitetail deer. Still eat some every year, as the boys both hunt and I always help them butcher. I haven't killed for about ten years, but am able and prepared to do so.
Same for all sorts of wild meat here in the u$.....fish, frogs, squirrel, rabbit, wildfowl, upland game and some critters that I have eaten years ago, such as raccon and some that I haven't been hungry enough to try yet, such as possum. Depends upon your locale. Have I read that 'roo is eaten in your country? Should be plenty of them to go 'round!

Rabbits are simple to raise, and the old idea of having individual hutches, breeding boxes, etc., is not necessary. We've raised rabbits in a shed with straw bale shelters, free to roam about the shed, and they did great and gave us a great harvest.

I've been raising only heirloom garden produce for ten years and saving seeds. This is *essential* if we want to survive a downturn. Absolutely essential. I continually recommend heirlooms to people.
I try and maintain a selection that produces in dry climates and in normally moist years. COvering bases. People alos need to research what the native peoples rased before modern methods took over......such as in the u$, where Native Americans raised much maize, beans. and squashes, all good storage items.

I agree, but the overview and the exhortation to thik about doing for oneself when the tide turns is the true value of the article.
Maybe, just maybe, some of us will make it. Hope it doesn't go all Mad Max on us.
Care Charlie
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Let's see. Gouged by the oil companies (record profits). Consolidation and subsidizing of food production (Cargill, Archer Daniel Midlands, Dow). Historic foreign debt and a total American debt of $161,287 per man, woman and child. Information, mostly controlled by 10 corporations, that is manufactured to generate consent (Iraq had no-thing to do with 9/11 or WMDs).
Debtor countries required to follow strict rules to repay debt, reduction of social programs for health and safety, repression of trade unions, and as in Chile and Argentina, martial law.
We have done it to others and the chickens are coming home to roost.
Who you going to believe? Your President and his gang or your own lying eyes?
Wake up!
--
FB - FFF

Billy

Get up, stand up, stand up for yor rights.
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Uhhhh........Billy, it's me.....Charlie....like the choir, ya know.
Boss: You got your mind right, Luke? Luke: Yeah. I got it right. I got it right, boss
Get some rest, my friend.
Charlie
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