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Please read this. Not only is the research quite amazing, but the fact that no one is paying attention is unbelievable.
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Chris Hatfield's profile photoSean O'Reilly's profile photoJohn Bump's profile photoLouis Geri's profile photo
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It is surprising more people aren't talking about this.  Crop rotation has been practiced forever and works really well but the idea that it's actually profitable is probably something people aren't prepared to believe.  (Well, large-scale farmer people: those of us with home gardens already do this.)  I'll be pointing some other people at this: thanks for posting it.
 
From the comments section of the linked article:

"Mr. Bittman,

"I read about this study in a prominent magazine that farmers all over the Midwest receive, so the information is in the countryside. The problem with this "simple" solution is that it won't fit a vast majority of operations throughout the Corn Belt. My family farms 6,000 acres of corn and soybeans in Central IN. Like most farms in the state, we have no livestock to feed alfalfa and have no market for oats, or similar crops. So, by using your "simple" solution we would be taking 3,000 acres, essentially, out of production every year. Seeing as this study uses livestock to keep income "stable" I'm sure you can agree that this type of rotation would not work for our farm without making an unfeasible capital investment into grazing livestock.

"Like most farmers in our area we walk every acre during the growing season to determine what weed/pest pressure we have in a specific area so that we can take the necessary action only in the fields that require it. Since we are running a business, along with the environmental impact, it doesn't make good business sense to be blanket applying chemicals to fields that may not need it.

"With an increase in cellulosic ethanol, a similar rotation might be viable for us in the future. However, at this time, it's impossible to use this study to make any changes to our operation."
 
Also:

"The author is taking a pretty big leap to say this can be applied everywhere if only farmers knew about it and wanted to make the change. The article says this particular plan was done on 22 acres. Grazing livestock on those 22 acres seemed to be an integral part of the plan, yet the author says this can be applied on a commercial scale. How does one go about fencing 2,000 acres for the same grazing? (I can only picture the "fences" we saw commonly in use for cows in Belarus — elderly ladies hired to stand there with their arms out.) How does one market as many oats as corn and soybeans when the demand for oats is much lower? I'm all for sustainable solutions, but it's offensive to read that all farmers need to do is work smarter and gain some knowledge — as if farmers are too idiotic to be doing this already. They do walk the fields regularly, they do apply only what's needed, they are not puppets of a chemical company, they do use crop rotation wisely, they do recycle animal nutrients as fertilizer, they do use conservation techniques. It's not a "simple fix.""
 
+Todd Walton if you fricking hipsters, including +Arwen Griffith, would have bothered to link the actual science from the Marsden Farm on PLOS ONE (http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0047149) you would realize grazing/pasturing have nothing to do with this system. They used composted manure to replace synthetic nitrogen and chemical fertilizers. They used cover crops to suppress weeds. They used a more diverse crop rotation to maintain soil microbes. Every conventional farm in the country can adopt these practices. Organics already do it.
 
Whoa.  That was an unexpectedly negative response.
 
I'm unconvinced that the Real Name policy does much to promote civility on G+.
 
Having been involved in farming my entire life, whenever I see anything with a title like "A simple fix for farming" it sets off a multitude of red flags. The industry has more problems then I have any desire to get into here, and the solution to none of them will be simple. 
 
+Chris Hatfield i beg to differ, being an actual farmer myself. its quite simple. it just isn't easy and you won't have the chemical companies there to hold your hand.
 
To Luis Geri ... yes you look like ganja farmer ... high from burning your crops
 
We are not farmers but I am amazed at how much food my wife can grow from her 15'X40' vegetable garden
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