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Topic: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World) (Read 123186 times) previous topic - next topic

Dave Hawkins, RAFH, superhoop, BenTheBiased (+ 1 Hidden) and 7 Guests are viewing this topic.
  • Pingu
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24550
She folds

Dave, you don't understand a damn thing.

I've already TOLD you I don't, personally have a "plan".  So why do you even ask me for one? 

The answer, OBVIOUSLY (at least obvious to anyone with the slightest interest in knowing it) will DEPEND on local conditions, soil fertility, climate, rainfall etc. 

What we CAN however do is look at AVERAGES.  Which I've given you, over and over.

Labour costs will depend on the crop and the availability of technology.  For instance pea harvesters have largely eliminated most of the labour costs of harvesting peas.  An operator drives the harvester over the pea fields, and comes  home with a hold full of chilled, shelled peas, and another one full of organic material for compost.  And leaving behind a field with more nitrate than it started with.

You get around >400 calories/m2.


I have a Darwin-debased mind.

  • Pingu
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24551
Pingu is too lazy to  come up with any details so as usual, I will have to do most of the legwork if I want to have an analysis of feeding people with plant foods.  The key difficulty is going to be producing compost and the Berkeley method is one popular method, described here. http://lloydrichardsdesign.com/2017/01/14/berkeley-composting-method/

 Basically you get a one cubic meter pile of materials consisting of roughly 2 parts brown material and one part green material.  After 18 days of backbreaking work, you will have some finished compost. I'm not sure how much you will have but certainly not one cubic meter.  If it says in this article, I missed it but perhaps you have 1/3 of a m³.  A good vegetable gardener friend of mine mixes 1/3 compost with 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 peat for his garden beds.  He uses 4' x 8' garden beds and plants one seed potato per square foot.  So the finished compost produced from our one cubic meter pile would be just about right for our 4 x 8 garden bed.  Let's assume that we get five decent size potatoes per square foot and that comes out to 1000 food calories per square foot.  So our one cubic meter of  Green and brown materials plus 18 days of backbreaking labor plus vermiculite plus peat moss plus planting labor plus harvesting labor plus watering and weeding and everything else produces 32,000 food calories.

NOW  we are getting closer to what I would consider to be a complete analysis.

Of course you would consider that.  It fits your preferred narrative.  You don't care that it's so far from being complete that it's totally cherry-picked.

In contrast,  you will not even TOUCH the fact that most of Mark frigging Shepard's calories are vegetable.  Nor will you touch the tables of food values per unit area for various vegetable crops vs animal produce.

You are still stuck on magic poop.  It is perfectly possible to produce compost on a large scale with relatively small amount of labour, which is what our local councils do with vegetable waste from households and clippings from municipal parks.

You are also still implicitly confounding carbon sequestration capacity and the amount of SoM needed to produce a good food crop.  If you have two acres (as I said before) and you produce x calories per acre from pasture, and you can produce 2x calories per acre from vegetable crops, then EVEN IF your pasture sequesters more carbon per unit area than the veg crop, if you go with veg, you can get x calories from ONE acre, and leave the other acre to sequester as much carbon as it can (i.e. potentially a lot more than pasture).

And you will still generate plenty of non-vegetable organic matter from your food crop to get a healthy amount of SoM for your crops.  You can even sow "green manure" if you need to, before you get going.
I have a Darwin-debased mind.

  • RAFH
  • Have a life, already.
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24552
Pingu is too lazy to  come up with any details so as usual, I will have to do most of the legwork if I want to have an analysis of feeding people with plant foods.  The key difficulty is going to be producing compost and the Berkeley method is one popular method, described here. http://lloydrichardsdesign.com/2017/01/14/berkeley-composting-method/

 Basically you get a one cubic meter pile of materials consisting of roughly 2 parts brown material and one part green material.  After 18 days of backbreaking work, you will have some finished compost. I'm not sure how much you will have but certainly not one cubic meter.  If it says in this article, I missed it but perhaps you have 1/3 of a m³.  A good vegetable gardener friend of mine mixes 1/3 compost with 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 peat for his garden beds.  He uses 4' x 8' garden beds and plants one seed potato per square foot.  So the finished compost produced from our one cubic meter pile would be just about right for our 4 x 8 garden bed.  Let's assume that we get five decent size potatoes per square foot and that comes out to 1000 food calories per square foot.  So our one cubic meter of  Green and brown materials plus 18 days of backbreaking labor plus vermiculite plus peat moss plus planting labor plus harvesting labor plus watering and weeding and everything else produces 32,000 food calories.

NOW  we are getting closer to what I would consider to be a complete analysis.
Did you actually read that article?
Because it does not describe 18 days of back breaking work. Rather it's
Quote
When the pile is complete you can cover the pile to reduce water evaporation or encase of heavy rains, but if you live in the UK then its not necessary.  The day you make the compost counts as Day 1.
Three days later, on Day 4, you will do the first turn.  Take off the wire fencing, rebuilt it next to  it and then turn the compost into the new area.  Unless the compost has dried out there wont be any need to water it again, but if it is dry then add just enough water to get it damp again. You should also notice that the pile is steaming slightly at this point.
Now you repeat this every second day, giving the compost one day of rest between turns.  So turn it on Day 6, Day 8, Day 10, Day 12, Day 14, Day 16 and Day 18.
So, from the 4th day on, every other day, you spend about half an hour. For a total of about 6 to 8 hours of mild labor. Also, from that initial 1m3 you will get about 2.25 meters of soil when mixed as you suggest. That's good for about 7.5m2 or about 81ft2, not just 32ft2. And you'll usually get from 5 to 10 potatoes per sf, figure 7.5 per sf. which at 163 cap per, yields about 100,000 calories. Planting effort is minimal, at least in my experience, 9ydsft2 might take a couple of hours. Harvesting perhaps the same though I've done it while taking a break from work and strolling through the garden. Watering was about the same deal as was weeding.

How many calories are you going to get with a cow in a stationary pen that's 9' x 9'? And, by the way, your cow is going to graze that 81sf to dirt in about two days. So you'll be feeding it hay or something. Nice thing about the potatoes, with a little bit of pvc piping and some clear plastic, you can do 3 to 4 crops a year. So make that 300,000 to 400,000 calories per year.

BTW, if you are going to robocage your cow, I get to expand my square footage of potato beds an equal amount that your cage sweeps through.
  • Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 10:56:18 AM by RAFH
Are we there yet?

  • borealis
  • Administrator
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24553
Dave's mind is utterly closed to anything outside his own eccentric beliefs, whether it is a global flood, age of the earth, or living entirely on animal-produced foods. It's pointless to do his research for him, and pointless to try to explain to him that his personal prejudices don't reflect the reality of the rest of humanity.

His idea of the 'backbreaking labour' involved in growing vegetable crops is so exaggerated as to leave one with nothing to say, because how do you even begin to explain simple concepts that he doesn't want to hear? That even for the backyard gardener there are plenty of mechanical tools that make various tasks easy, that commercial vegetable farmers, even on a relatively small scale, rarely have to so much as get out of the climate controlled cab of their machines. He doesn't get that for much of the year vegetable growers have no garden related work to speak of, and that a couple days of actual physical work per week, or per every couple weeks, depending on how diligent you want to be, is plenty of time to raise a garden to feed yourself and your family all winter.

He doesn't get that modern home gardens can be no-till, can use cover crops, can use mulches for weed control, can be rotational, and much less work than he seems able or willing to imagine or research.

Quote
Basically you get a one cubic meter pile of materials consisting of roughly 2 parts brown material and one part green material.  After 18 days of backbreaking work, you will have some finished compost. I'm not sure how much you will have but certainly not one cubic meter.  If it says in this article, I missed it but perhaps you have 1/3 of a m³.  A good vegetable gardener friend of mine mixes 1/3 compost with 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 peat for his garden beds.  He uses 4' x 8' garden beds and plants one seed potato per square foot.  So the finished compost produced from our one cubic meter pile would be just about right for our 4 x 8 garden bed.  Let's assume that we get five decent size potatoes per square foot and that comes out to 1000 food calories per square foot.  So our one cubic meter of  Green and brown materials plus 18 days of backbreaking labor plus vermiculite plus peat moss plus planting labor plus harvesting labor plus watering and weeding and everything else produces 32,000 food calories. - Dave H

If this 'friend' only manages to get 5 potatos per plant it doesn't matter how anal he is about his compost; he's doing something wrong.

There's no need to be so nuts about composting. You don't need vermiculite and peat. you don't need to carefully calculate 'green and brown', that happens pretty (haha) organically and can be an ongoing natural thought process regarding what you know you will have available. You don't need to do 'backbreaking work' to have a successful compost heap, like what the hell. You don't even need a containing framework, it just looks neater. You can just pile up your plant-waste organics in a sunny spot and spend ten minutes to toss the pile with a pitchfork once a week. It'll take more days than 18 likely to get to usable compost stage, but who cares, what is your hurry?

  • VoxRat
  • wtactualf
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24554
Yes I know you don't claim to have a world saving plan. And that's fine. Not everyone is as ambitious  delusional  as I am.
fyp.

News Flash: 
You don't have a world saving plan, either.
"I understand Donald Trump better than many people because I really am a lot like him." - Dave Hawkins

Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24555
Yes I know you don't claim to have a world saving plan. And that's fine. Not everyone is as ambitious  delusional  as I am.
fyp.

News Flash: 
You don't have a world saving plan, either.
no. But he has a world saving dream, and that's nice to have on those cold winter night with only lactating goats for company.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

  • Pingu
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24556
Dave's mind is utterly closed to anything outside his own eccentric beliefs, whether it is a global flood, age of the earth, or living entirely on animal-produced foods. It's pointless to do his research for him, and pointless to try to explain to him that his personal prejudices don't reflect the reality of the rest of humanity.

His idea of the 'backbreaking labour' involved in growing vegetable crops is so exaggerated as to leave one with nothing to say, because how do you even begin to explain simple concepts that he doesn't want to hear? That even for the backyard gardener there are plenty of mechanical tools that make various tasks easy, that commercial vegetable farmers, even on a relatively small scale, rarely have to so much as get out of the climate controlled cab of their machines. He doesn't get that for much of the year vegetable growers have no garden related work to speak of, and that a couple days of actual physical work per week, or per every couple weeks, depending on how diligent you want to be, is plenty of time to raise a garden to feed yourself and your family all winter.

He doesn't get that modern home gardens can be no-till, can use cover crops, can use mulches for weed control, can be rotational, and much less work than he seems able or willing to imagine or research.

Quote
Basically you get a one cubic meter pile of materials consisting of roughly 2 parts brown material and one part green material.  After 18 days of backbreaking work, you will have some finished compost. I'm not sure how much you will have but certainly not one cubic meter.  If it says in this article, I missed it but perhaps you have 1/3 of a m³.  A good vegetable gardener friend of mine mixes 1/3 compost with 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 peat for his garden beds.  He uses 4' x 8' garden beds and plants one seed potato per square foot.  So the finished compost produced from our one cubic meter pile would be just about right for our 4 x 8 garden bed.  Let's assume that we get five decent size potatoes per square foot and that comes out to 1000 food calories per square foot.  So our one cubic meter of  Green and brown materials plus 18 days of backbreaking labor plus vermiculite plus peat moss plus planting labor plus harvesting labor plus watering and weeding and everything else produces 32,000 food calories. - Dave H

If this 'friend' only manages to get 5 potatos per plant it doesn't matter how anal he is about his compost; he's doing something wrong.

There's no need to be so nuts about composting. You don't need vermiculite and peat. you don't need to carefully calculate 'green and brown', that happens pretty (haha) organically and can be an ongoing natural thought process regarding what you know you will have available. You don't need to do 'backbreaking work' to have a successful compost heap, like what the hell. You don't even need a containing framework, it just looks neater. You can just pile up your plant-waste organics in a sunny spot and spend ten minutes to toss the pile with a pitchfork once a week. It'll take more days than 18 likely to get to usable compost stage, but who cares, what is your hurry?

My parents place was on the side of a valley, and there was low wall across from the kitchen door, with a steep drop behind it down to the old stable yard.  They had the compost heap there, so when you'd finished peeling the veg, you took the colander and tipped it over the wall.  The shed next to the heap had the mower in it, so my father would just empty the grass cuttings into it before he put the mower away.  We put dead leaves on it in autumn, and kept some in a pile to shovel on occasionally through the summer.  My father grew amazing veg.  I don't think they ever bought veg.  They had blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes as well  - very productive.   And an amazing plum tree with a swing.
I have a Darwin-debased mind.

Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24557
I have a compost turner for chicken poop but I just have a pile for the regular compost. I turn it once a year and use the bottom part in the garden.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24558
Pingu is too lazy to  come up with any details so as usual, I will have to do most of the legwork if I want to have an analysis of feeding people with plant foods.  The key difficulty is going to be producing compost and the Berkeley method is one popular method, described here. http://lloydrichardsdesign.com/2017/01/14/berkeley-composting-method/

 Basically you get a one cubic meter pile of materials consisting of roughly 2 parts brown material and one part green material.  After 18 days of backbreaking work, you will have some finished compost. I'm not sure how much you will have but certainly not one cubic meter.  If it says in this article, I missed it but perhaps you have 1/3 of a m³.  A good vegetable gardener friend of mine mixes 1/3 compost with 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 peat for his garden beds.  He uses 4' x 8' garden beds and plants one seed potato per square foot.  So the finished compost produced from our one cubic meter pile would be just about right for our 4 x 8 garden bed.  Let's assume that we get five decent size potatoes per square foot and that comes out to 1000 food calories per square foot.  So our one cubic meter of  Green and brown materials plus 18 days of backbreaking labor plus vermiculite plus peat moss plus planting labor plus harvesting labor plus watering and weeding and everything else produces 32,000 food calories.

NOW  we are getting closer to what I would consider to be a complete analysis.
Did you actually read that article?
Because it does not describe 18 days of back breaking work. Rather it's
Quote
When the pile is complete you can cover the pile to reduce water evaporation or encase of heavy rains, but if you live in the UK then its not necessary.  The day you make the compost counts as Day 1.
Three days later, on Day 4, you will do the first turn.  Take off the wire fencing, rebuilt it next to  it and then turn the compost into the new area.  Unless the compost has dried out there wont be any need to water it again, but if it is dry then add just enough water to get it damp again. You should also notice that the pile is steaming slightly at this point.
Now you repeat this every second day, giving the compost one day of rest between turns.  So turn it on Day 6, Day 8, Day 10, Day 12, Day 14, Day 16 and Day 18.
So, from the 4th day on, every other day, you spend about half an hour. For a total of about 6 to 8 hours of mild labor. Also, from that initial 1m3 you will get about 2.25 meters of soil when mixed as you suggest. That's good for about 7.5m2 or about 81ft2, not just 32ft2. And you'll usually get from 5 to 10 potatoes per sf, figure 7.5 per sf. which at 163 cap per, yields about 100,000 calories. Planting effort is minimal, at least in my experience, 9ydsft2 might take a couple of hours. Harvesting perhaps the same though I've done it while taking a break from work and strolling through the garden. Watering was about the same deal as was weeding.

How many calories are you going to get with a cow in a stationary pen that's 9' x 9'? And, by the way, your cow is going to graze that 81sf to dirt in about two days. So you'll be feeding it hay or something. Nice thing about the potatoes, with a little bit of pvc piping and some clear plastic, you can do 3 to 4 crops a year. So make that 300,000 to 400,000 calories per year.

BTW, if you are going to robocage your cow, I get to expand my square footage of potato beds an equal amount that your cage sweeps through.
Ok I'll give a bit here. I'll go with 2 beds 32 sf each. Compost input is 1 cu m per year, peat and vermiculite are inputs every 5 years (?).  I'll go with 50,000 food calories per bed for a total of 100,000 for the two beds.

Now ... how much land area to produce the 1 cu m of compost? 2 parts brown and 1 part green. I would be surprised if it's less than 50 sq m. Imagine a 7 x 7 m square with a tree which is pruned for brown material and grass which is cut for the green material.

If this is close, then we have 550 sf plus 64 sf plus maybe another 33 sq ft for paths to produce the 100,000 food calories from potatoes. About 650 sf. But it could be more like 1000 sf.


Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24559
Pingu is too lazy to  come up with any details so as usual, I will have to do most of the legwork if I want to have an analysis of feeding people with plant foods.  The key difficulty is going to be producing compost and the Berkeley method is one popular method, described here. http://lloydrichardsdesign.com/2017/01/14/berkeley-composting-method/

 Basically you get a one cubic meter pile of materials consisting of roughly 2 parts brown material and one part green material.  After 18 days of backbreaking work, you will have some finished compost. I'm not sure how much you will have but certainly not one cubic meter.  If it says in this article, I missed it but perhaps you have 1/3 of a m³.  A good vegetable gardener friend of mine mixes 1/3 compost with 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 peat for his garden beds.  He uses 4' x 8' garden beds and plants one seed potato per square foot.  So the finished compost produced from our one cubic meter pile would be just about right for our 4 x 8 garden bed.  Let's assume that we get five decent size potatoes per square foot and that comes out to 1000 food calories per square foot.  So our one cubic meter of  Green and brown materials plus 18 days of backbreaking labor plus vermiculite plus peat moss plus planting labor plus harvesting labor plus watering and weeding and everything else produces 32,000 food calories.

NOW  we are getting closer to what I would consider to be a complete analysis.
Did you actually read that article?
Because it does not describe 18 days of back breaking work. Rather it's
Quote
When the pile is complete you can cover the pile to reduce water evaporation or encase of heavy rains, but if you live in the UK then its not necessary.  The day you make the compost counts as Day 1.
Three days later, on Day 4, you will do the first turn.  Take off the wire fencing, rebuilt it next to  it and then turn the compost into the new area.  Unless the compost has dried out there wont be any need to water it again, but if it is dry then add just enough water to get it damp again. You should also notice that the pile is steaming slightly at this point.
Now you repeat this every second day, giving the compost one day of rest between turns.  So turn it on Day 6, Day 8, Day 10, Day 12, Day 14, Day 16 and Day 18.
So, from the 4th day on, every other day, you spend about half an hour. For a total of about 6 to 8 hours of mild labor. Also, from that initial 1m3 you will get about 2.25 meters of soil when mixed as you suggest. That's good for about 7.5m2 or about 81ft2, not just 32ft2. And you'll usually get from 5 to 10 potatoes per sf, figure 7.5 per sf. which at 163 cap per, yields about 100,000 calories. Planting effort is minimal, at least in my experience, 9ydsft2 might take a couple of hours. Harvesting perhaps the same though I've done it while taking a break from work and strolling through the garden. Watering was about the same deal as was weeding.

How many calories are you going to get with a cow in a stationary pen that's 9' x 9'? And, by the way, your cow is going to graze that 81sf to dirt in about two days. So you'll be feeding it hay or something. Nice thing about the potatoes, with a little bit of pvc piping and some clear plastic, you can do 3 to 4 crops a year. So make that 300,000 to 400,000 calories per year.

BTW, if you are going to robocage your cow, I get to expand my square footage of potato beds an equal amount that your cage sweeps through.
Ok I'll give a bit here. I'll go with 2 beds 32 sf each. Compost input is 1 cu m per year, peat and vermiculite are inputs every 5 years (?).  I'll go with 50,000 food calories per bed for a total of 100,000 for the two beds.

Now ... how much land area to produce the 1 cu m of compost? 2 parts brown and 1 part green. I would be surprised if it's less than 50 sq m. Imagine a 7 x 7 m square with a tree which is pruned for brown material and grass which is cut for the green material.

If this is close, then we have 550 sf plus 64 sf plus maybe another 33 sq ft for paths to produce the 100,000 food calories from potatoes. About 650 sf. But it could be more like 1000 sf.



How about crunching them C14 numbers?

Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24560
Now 100,000 food calories from 1000 sf is good.   But when managing a complete garden not just potatoes, you will not get anything close to that.  Walter Haugen reports 2 million food calories per acre but he doesn't account for any acreage for compost.  If he did, he might only report 1 million food calories per acre ... or maybe only 500,000.

Anyway, if it's 500,000, then an animal food system probably competes pretty well with that. I personally am producing about 500,000 food calories on about 4 acres but I'm not anywhere close to being optimized yet.

Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24561
So Walter Haugen is my current benchmark for actual practical plant food production with hand labor and I'm gonna use 500,000 food calories per acre for his model.

Which is good. But how about labor? Haugen reports about 1000 food calories per hour of labor. That's high labor. In contrast to this, a guy like Joe Hopping raising sheep produces something like 25 million food calories in about 500 hours of labor.  That's 50,000 food calories per hour.

Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24562
In the context of this discussion, Joel Salatin's optimized pasture numbers are interesting ... he reports having "400 cow day" pasture. Which means that a cow could survive on less than 1 acre of his pasture for 1 year.  Presumably a beef cow. A dairy cow requires more nutrition but let's just say that you could keep a dairy cow on 1 of Joel Salatin's pasture acres and get 600 gallons of milk from a lactation. That's 1.5 million food calories from a single acre. Darn good.  In fact, it's better than Walter Haugen's plant food numbers. Or at worst, roughly the same.

  • Fenrir
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24563
US corn production averages 15 million calories per acre.

You were saying?

And no, a deflection into "but but industrial frankenfood bad evil" would not be an appropriate response.
It's what plants crave.

Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24564
In the context of this discussion, Joel Salatin's optimized pasture numbers are interesting ... he reports having "400 cow day" pasture. Which means that a cow could survive on less than 1 acre of his pasture for 1 year.  Presumably a beef cow. A dairy cow requires more nutrition but let's just say that you could keep a dairy cow on 1 of Joel Salatin's pasture acres and get 600 gallons of milk from a lactation. That's 1.5 million food calories from a single acre. Darn good.  In fact, it's better than Walter Haugen's plant food numbers. Or at worst, roughly the same.

What about the numbers for giraffes?

  • JonF
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24565
Now 100,000 food calories from 1000 sf is good.   But when managing a complete garden not just potatoes, you will not get anything close to that.  Walter Haugen reports 2 million food calories per acre but he doesn't account for any acreage for compost.  If he did, he might only report 1 million food calories per acre ... or maybe only 500,000.
Or he might not. Or maybe not only half a million, more.

As usual you anally extract obviously biased bullshit. The rest of your posts merely propagate your BS.
"I would never consider my evaluation of his work to be fair minded unless I had actually read his own words." - Dave Hawkins

  • Fenrir
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24566
It is somewhat interesting that David has a habit of confecting the weakest possible scenario for practices he is currently opposing and the strongest possible scenario for his prefered practice du jour. Yet he still can't manage to get over the line into credibility.

You'd think an honest man would eventually twig.
It's what plants crave.

Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24567
US corn production averages 15 million calories per acre.

Sigh.  We've had this discussion already.  Not going to waste my time going through it again.

  • Fenrir
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24568
US corn production averages 15 million calories per acre.

Sigh.  We've had this discussion already.  Not going to waste my time going through it again.

Apology accepted.
It's what plants crave.

  • borealis
  • Administrator
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24569
Yes, well, we aren't going through explaining the advantages of legumes and roots and greens and fruits to you again, either.

  • borealis
  • Administrator
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24570
As an aside, I grew four heritage tomato plants in containers on my deck this summer. I ate them fresh every day for a couple months and now have ten medium bags of frozen blanched tomatos in the freezer. My labour included an hour of potting them up, watering them a few times in dry weather, trimming leaves when the fruits started growing, and picking them off the plants. Worth it.

Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24571
Yes, well, we aren't going through explaining the advantages of legumes and roots and greens and fruits to you again, either.
No need.

I've got a pretty good handle on it now I think.

When you compare Joel Salatin's pasture numbers with Walter Haugen's gardening numbers, the animal numbers look pretty compelling.

Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24572
Yes, well, we aren't going through explaining the advantages of legumes and roots and greens and fruits to you again, either.
No need.

I've got a pretty good handle on it now I think.

When you compare Joel Salatin's pasture numbers with Walter Haugen's gardening numbers, the animal numbers look pretty compelling.

Post the numbers.
"That which can be asserted with evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." (Dave Hawkins)

  • RAFH
  • Have a life, already.
Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24573
Pingu is too lazy to  come up with any details so as usual, I will have to do most of the legwork if I want to have an analysis of feeding people with plant foods.  The key difficulty is going to be producing compost and the Berkeley method is one popular method, described here. http://lloydrichardsdesign.com/2017/01/14/berkeley-composting-method/

 Basically you get a one cubic meter pile of materials consisting of roughly 2 parts brown material and one part green material.  After 18 days of backbreaking work, you will have some finished compost. I'm not sure how much you will have but certainly not one cubic meter.  If it says in this article, I missed it but perhaps you have 1/3 of a m³.  A good vegetable gardener friend of mine mixes 1/3 compost with 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 peat for his garden beds.  He uses 4' x 8' garden beds and plants one seed potato per square foot.  So the finished compost produced from our one cubic meter pile would be just about right for our 4 x 8 garden bed.  Let's assume that we get five decent size potatoes per square foot and that comes out to 1000 food calories per square foot.  So our one cubic meter of  Green and brown materials plus 18 days of backbreaking labor plus vermiculite plus peat moss plus planting labor plus harvesting labor plus watering and weeding and everything else produces 32,000 food calories.

NOW  we are getting closer to what I would consider to be a complete analysis.
Did you actually read that article?
Because it does not describe 18 days of back breaking work. Rather it's
Quote
When the pile is complete you can cover the pile to reduce water evaporation or encase of heavy rains, but if you live in the UK then its not necessary.  The day you make the compost counts as Day 1.
Three days later, on Day 4, you will do the first turn.  Take off the wire fencing, rebuilt it next to  it and then turn the compost into the new area.  Unless the compost has dried out there wont be any need to water it again, but if it is dry then add just enough water to get it damp again. You should also notice that the pile is steaming slightly at this point.
Now you repeat this every second day, giving the compost one day of rest between turns.  So turn it on Day 6, Day 8, Day 10, Day 12, Day 14, Day 16 and Day 18.
So, from the 4th day on, every other day, you spend about half an hour. For a total of about 6 to 8 hours of mild labor. Also, from that initial 1m3 you will get about 2.25 meters of soil when mixed as you suggest. That's good for about 7.5m2 or about 81ft2, not just 32ft2. And you'll usually get from 5 to 10 potatoes per sf, figure 7.5 per sf. which at 163 cap per, yields about 100,000 calories. Planting effort is minimal, at least in my experience, 9ydsft2 might take a couple of hours. Harvesting perhaps the same though I've done it while taking a break from work and strolling through the garden. Watering was about the same deal as was weeding.

How many calories are you going to get with a cow in a stationary pen that's 9' x 9'? And, by the way, your cow is going to graze that 81sf to dirt in about two days. So you'll be feeding it hay or something. Nice thing about the potatoes, with a little bit of pvc piping and some clear plastic, you can do 3 to 4 crops a year. So make that 300,000 to 400,000 calories per year.

BTW, if you are going to robocage your cow, I get to expand my square footage of potato beds an equal amount that your cage sweeps through.
Ok I'll give a bit here. I'll go with 2 beds 32 sf each. Compost input is 1 cu m per year, peat and vermiculite are inputs every 5 years (?).  I'll go with 50,000 food calories per bed for a total of 100,000 for the two beds.

Now ... how much land area to produce the 1 cu m of compost? 2 parts brown and 1 part green. I would be surprised if it's less than 50 sq m. Imagine a 7 x 7 m square with a tree which is pruned for brown material and grass which is cut for the green material.

If this is close, then we have 550 sf plus 64 sf plus maybe another 33 sq ft for paths to produce the 100,000 food calories from potatoes. About 650 sf. But it could be more like 1000 sf.

No, Bluffy, it's 81sf. Three 3' x 9' beds or better, one 3' x 27' bed. With a 3' walk on each side, that's 9' x 27', make it 30' for a connecting walk. So 270sf. No area is required for the compost, except for the composter itself, maybe 30sf, so we're up to 300sf. The potato plants themselves will produce a goodly amount of input, along with other trimmings, grass cuttings, leaves, kitchen waste, newpapers, coffee grinds, etc. Remember, it's once, maybe twice a year. If someone doesn't produce at least half a cubic yard of just kitchen waste in a year I'd be totally surprised. And, you know, there's lots of leaves falling in the the fall. And many communities have free compost material from park and road trimmings. Normally there is way more available material than need.

As for the area, you jump from 650sf to 1000sf, a 50% increase for no reason, with hardly a burp. What sort of analysis is this?

And with two crops a year, that's 200,000 calories. Can your cow or a pair of goats produce 200,000 calories a year on just 300sf? Remember, you don't get to drag your robo-cage all over a bunch of acreage, just 300sf. Remember that's just 10' wide x  30' long. meaning you have to drag your 10' x 10' robo-cage back and forth of that same 30' length, or two moves one way and two moves back. Certainly your livestock are going to stomp and piss and shut that little bit of pasture to the extreme.

Just another example of your typical shallow, not even back of the napkin, blindered "analysis. You have an answer you want to end up with and so you figure out how to get there, regardless of anything else.



Are we there yet?

Re: Economics of "Saving Agriculture" (Thereby Saving the World)
Reply #24574
Yes, well, we aren't going through explaining the advantages of legumes and roots and greens and fruits to you again, either.
No need.

I've got a pretty good handle on it now I think.

When you compare Joel Salatin's pasture numbers with Walter Haugen's gardening numbers, the animal numbers look pretty compelling.

Post the numbers.
I just did.