[Market-farming] Soil and production costs

Brigette Leach avalonfarmshomegrown at earthlink.net
Mon Feb 5 14:18:52 EST 2007

What are you basing this statement upon?

and industrial farming has seen
yields decline over several decades in spite of increasing use of fossil
fuel-based pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.

Avalon Farms Homegrown

TradingPostPaul wrote:

>It's common knowledge that most soil has to be cultivated one way or
>another to grow field crops. I say most soil because most soil has been
>degraded too much to produce without tillage and chemicals. But that's
>precisely the problem. It's common knowledge that most farms have lost a
>lot of topsoil depth and organic matter, and industrial farming has seen
>yields decline over several decades in spite of increasing use of fossil
>fuel-based pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. On the plus side recent
>research has resulted in more widespread reduced tillage methods, though
>it's well established that any tillage degrades soil organic matter to some
>extent. Cover crops have become standard practice since the Dust Bowl days.
>But we're still losing topsoil, irrigating more, and using ever increasing
>amounts of chemicals that get more expensive as oil and gas prices keep
>rising. Large and small farmers are getting squeezed more between input
>costs and market prices. These are all challenges that call for
>hard-headed, realistic, innovative approaches. Building soil that doesn't
>need regular tilling can cut labor and machinery costs in the long run.
>There are other methods of weed suppression that cut costs below chemical
>or mechanical methods. Better methods of pest  and disease control are
>being explored. The one thing we can't afford is "well, we've always done
>it this way". If we farm the next fifty years the way we have the last
>fifty, we won't have any topsoil left to till anyway. 
>paul tradingpost at lobo.net
>Market-farming mailing list
>Market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org

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