Industrial agriculture

Plant breeders are now breeding varieties that are suited to a particular environment and will perform extremely well in that environment. As seen in this publication the list of pasture varieties commercially released onto the market has increased dramatically over the last 5 – 10 years and farmers have a huge range of not only ryegrasses, but phalaris, cocksfoot, fescue and clover varieties to choose from.

Pasture seed and other costs involved in sowing a pasture are a major investment to a farmer so it is important they sow the right variety to suit the environment on their farm. There are also new species like perennial herbs being released onto the market that have their place to improve productivity given the right growing conditions.

Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne)
Perennial ryegrass is easy to establish because its seedlings are vigorous. Like
all grasses, quality declines with flowering. However, palatability is better
than many other grasses at this stage. Frost has minimal effect on leaf quality.
When ryegrass is not dormant, it tolerates heavy, continuous grazing.
The suitability of perennial ryegrass for the hotter, drier areas of Tasmania
(<600 mm rainfall) should always be questioned. It is assisted in surviving
hot, dry summer periods through its natural post flowering dormant to semi
dormant period.
This is not a true physiological dormancy and as a consequence most
perennial ryegrasses exhibit poor long term persistence under dry, low
rainfall conditions.
There is often a significant lag time between the initial autumn rain and
when dormancy is broken and growth starts.
High temperatures restrict its growth even if moisture is available so the
performance of perennial ryegrass under irrigation may be restricted in
some conditions.
Some cultivars are more suited to irrigation than others.
Ryegrasses vary considerably in their tolerance/resistance to stem and crown
rusts. Rusts reduce growth, feed value and palatability. Generally ryegrasses
that have adequate nitrogen nutrition and/or are closely grazed will be less
affected by rust.
Good fertility, especially nitrogen is required for ryegrass to persist and
thrive. It is very susceptible to damage by cockchafers and corbies, especially
on light soils.
Perennial ryegrass is –
  • Easy to establish.
  • Easy to graze.
  • Best suited to higher rainfall areas.
  • Not at all tolerant of poor fertility.
  • Dormant in hot weather.
  • Highly susceptible to pest and disease damage.
(Consider specific paddock conditions before automatically
choosing perennial ryegrass.)
Ryegrass staggers in livestock, caused by toxins of an endophytic fungus
concentrated in the crown of the plants, can occur in late summer and
autumn. This can be avoided by sowing seedlots with low or nil content
of endophyte, or ensuring that leaves reach at least 50mm in length before
grazing. However, because the endophyte helps the plant combat disease and
pest invasion, its removal may reduce persistence. Another practical solution
is to ensure that some areas of the farm are ryegrass free.
Novel endophytes, that will protect the plants from some insects while
causing less animal health problems, have been developed for ryegrass.
Choice points for perennial ryegrass cultivars –
  • Tasmanian bred cultivars are Victoca, Jackaroo and Wintas.
  • Make sure the cultivar chosen is truly perennial (ie persists for 20 years).
  • For long term pastures, make proven persistence a high priority when
  • choosing a cultivar.
  • Choose cultivars adapted to the rainfall conditions of your area.
  • The relationship between time of flowering and productivity in ryegrass is
  • complex and usually not important in the Tasmanian climate.
  • Be aware of issues related to endophyte level. Select cultivars and/or
  • manage accordingly.
Seeding rate – 10kg/ha
Perennial legumes
Perennial legume comparison table – get a perennial legume thriving and you’re laughing. Is there one here to suit your environment?
  • White clover –needs plenty of water. Some cultivars are tougher than others.
  • Short-lived red clover –conditions must be excellent but its great while it lasts!
  • Stoloniferous red clover – a winner for the medium rainfall areas?
  • Strawberry clover – handles poor drainage, salinity and drought. Survives but does it thrive?
  • Caucasian clover – a versatile long term legume.
  • Lucerne – an underutilised legume with great production potential, it is “King of the fodders”.
  • Big trefoil (Greater birdsfoot trefoil) – a special legume for special environments.
  • Birdsfoot trefoil – another specialist legume.
  • tall fescue
  • chicory
  • plantain
  • cocksfoot

http://www.soilandhealth.org/

The Free Digitalized Library:

There are four major subject areas:

Radical Agriculture. The nutrient density of food determines the health of the animals and humans. The nutrient density of food is primarily determined by soil fertility. This section includes the foundational texts of the organic farming and gardening movement. There also are broad collections of materials by William Albrecht and the BioDynamic movement. Go to the Agriculture Library

The Restoration and Maintenance of Health. Nutritional medicine heals disease, builds and maintains health with diet—and sometimes heals with fasting or other forms of dietary restriction. There are many approaches represented in this collection. There is also a collection concerning longevity and nutritional anthropology. A new medical reference library has been added to this collection. Go to the Health Library

Achieving Personal Sovereignty. Physical, mental, and spiritual health are linked to one’s lifestyle. This collection focuses on liberating activities, especially homesteading and the skills it takes to do that—small-scale entrepreneuring, financial independence, frugality, and voluntary simplicity. There is also a collection of social criticism, especially from a back-to-the-land point of view. Go to the Personal Sovereignty Library

Achieving Spiritual Freedom. There are many seemingly-different self-betterment roads. The books in this collection seek to empower a person to effect their own development in an independent manner. Go to the Spiritual Freedom Library.

Additionally

Clippings and Miscellaneous. Since this library’s beginning patrons have sent information and URLs where interesting bits of information and viewpoints could be found. Here you will find articles and essays and etc. that support and enhance the information found in our book collections. Go to the Clipping File.

Latest E-Books Added. Digitalized titles added to the online Soil and Health Library in the last few months, click here:

Soil And Health Discussion Group

On this e-mail forum a wide ranging discussion goes on about how different agricultural and gardening methods change nutritional qualities of the foods being grown, about the resulting health of the animals and humans that eat those foods, about the best ways to homestead, to grow food. This Yahoo group is gently moderated by Steve Solomon. All points of view and opinions are welcome so long as they exhibit a respect for the viewpoints of others. You are welcome to post your own essays, refer to other’s writings, engage in dialogues. To join the group, click here.

The Purpose of Soil And Health Library

The wisest student learns from the originators of a body of knowledge because those who later follow in the founders’ footsteps are not trailblazers of equivalent depth. This is especially true of the writings from many post WWII academics and professors who mainly write because they must publish . . . or perish. Even when the earliest works in a field contain errors because their authors lacked some bit of data or had a fact wrong, their books still contain enormous wisdom. If nothing else, study of older books lets us discover that the conditions that prevail today aren’t the way things always were—whilst on some levels, some things hardly ever change at all.

There are powerful forces on Earth obscuring the foundations of knowledge. That would be okay if there were better knowledge and wiser wisdoms coming on line to replace them. But usually the opposite is the case. As the sort of person Sir Albert Howard called “the laboratory hermit . . . someone who knows more and more about less and less” . . . increasingly dominates ever-wider areas of scholarship, the focus of scholarship gets ever narrower, and less wise. Manipulative social-political-economic interests attempt to create Orwellian realities that suit them; their domination of academia and media makes people forget the fundamentals. Ferdanand Lundberg’s book The Rich and the Super Rich explains exactly how this works. You may find Lundberg’s book in the Social Criticism collection.

Here’s an example of the result of foundation- and industry-influenced “science.” Despite all the apparent advances in broadacre industrial agriculture, the nutritional qualities of our basic foodstuffs have been declining during this century. That’s largely because most agronomists focus on bulk yield and profitability of the crop, whilst knowing next to nothing about animal/human nutrition. However, there’s a little-appreciated “law” about this area: nutritional value usually drops in direct relationship to the increase in bulk production. Or, in agriculture at any rate, “quality” seems the opposite of “quantity.”

Industrial agriculture has devastated self-sufficient, independent lifestyles. Take the U.S. as an example. In 1870, something like 90 percent of all Americans lived on free-and-clear farms or in tiny villages. And in consequence, enjoyed enormously greater personal liberty than today. The current decline in personal rights in America, Canada and in Australia is NOT the result of there being more people dividing up a fixed and limited amount of total possible liberty into smaller and smaller slices. It is a consequence of financial insecurity, financial dependency and wage slavery. Persons lacking financial independence rarely possess the strength to forthrightly demand social liberties.

This is what happened: since 1870 as the industrial food system became ever more “efficient” it lowered the price of basic agricultural commodities. Consequently most country folk rejected their self-sufficient-farm birthright for a better-paying job in town, abandoned their technologically primitive free-and-clear homestead in favour of a city apartment (with electric power and running water) and soon became wage-enslaved. The ones who remained on the farm borrowed to invest in capital-intensive production methods and so became debt slaves. Wage- and debt-slaves, like all other kinds of slaves, feel insecure and think that in order to survive they must not reveal their true feelings, must suppress themselves whilst pleasing those in authority.

The global industrial system’s imperative is balance-sheet efficiency in all areas, including farming, but the apparent cheapness of economically-rational agriculture does not reflect a true accounting of costs. Despite the statistical increase in average lifespan, our average health and feelings of wellness have been declining. Consider as an example the large proportion of your neighbours whose mental awareness seems wrapped in fat. Americans especially are disdained world wide for being hugely obese. Australians and Canadians are going the same way, spending ever-larger portions of their productivity on the treatment and cure of disease. This whole activity of “health” care is not a productive use of human attention, but in reality constitutes enormous waste, pain, and suffering, suffering whose main source, poor nutrition, is almost entirely unappreciated.

Dr. Isabelle Moser, who spent 25 years conducting a clinical practice using holistic approaches, suggested in private conversations that what she termed the “constitution” of her older patients was typically much stronger than the constitution of her younger ones. Each generation got a poorer start than the one before it as each generation built the foundation of their health from foods produced on ever-more degraded soils grown ever-more “scientifically,” and more and more consisting of processed, denatured fodder. (The full text of Dr. Moser’s book How And When To Be Your Own Doctor, is in the Health Library.) (For a good discussion of the concept of “start,” read Wrench’s Wheel of Health in the Longevity Library. See also: Shelton’s Orthotrophy, Chapter 36.)

It was a sage who quipped: “if they can stop you from asking the right questions, you’ll never come up with the right answers.” In this library you will encounter individuals who DID ask the right questions and even came up with some of the answers. Modern higher education points people’s attention away from the Truth and toward an ever-increasing confusion created by too much data. This library restores the availability of key books written by amazing individuals, books that offer major illumination to those who can already see, books that speak the truth to those who can still hear.

How You Can Help

If you admire what is being done here and wish to assist this effort:

You can suggest titles for acquisition. You may donate a book or books. You may offer to sell appropriate titles to the library. You are invited to discuss the content and direction of this library. Suggested titles should be either public domain or out of print. Perhaps you can lend a book for processing into an e-book after discussing the proposed title with the librarian. All lends are returned within a few weeks of receipt and return postage is paid. E-books can also be prepared from very clean, sharp photocopies; photocopies need not be returned and sending a photocopy does not place a rare book at the slight risk of loss in the post.

You can become a contributing member by making a once-in-a-lifetime contribution of ten Euros. Expenses of this library are not large, but having a domain name, offering significant amounts of bytes for free download and buying old books do cost. The most important aspect of patron contributions is the motivation they provide to increase the scope of this library.

Who Is Creating This Site?

The library began in 1997 by Steve Solomon. In 2010 the effort was taken over by Justin Crawford who now owns the library. Effective July, 2013, Justin is on indefinite leave for health reasons and Steve Solomon has resumed daily management. Click here to communicate via e-mail.

Write via ordinary mail to:

Steve Solomon
PO Box 524
Exeter, TAS 7275
Australia

or

Justin Crawford
PO Box 464
Launceston, TAS 7250
Australia

The library maintains a personal web page for Steve Solomon that also contains an e-mail form should you wish to write to Steve.


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