[permaculture] Herblands

Mark mpludwig at facstaff.wisc.edu
Wed Sep 11 13:35:28 EDT 2002

At 04:41 AM 9/11/02 -0500, you wrote:
>Hey Mark,
> >>  and pay the bills much sooner.  <<
>Are you saying that a grasslands or 'herblands' are more economically viable
>than woodlands, that cash yields would mirror biomass yields - 10 t / ha /
>year vs. 2.5 t / ha / year?

In the short run yes.  And I would say very competitive long run.

>I wish there really were more true herblands.
>Probably what's left of the prairies has less than 1 / 100'th of the
>underground biomass of a true prairie.

Not that bad really.  It develops deep roots very fast.  Thats why prairie 
plantings are such a pain in the butt for two to three years, they are 
building roots first, the top looks little and needs mowing.

>Right out my door we have some of the prettiest stands of little blue-stem,
>silver blue-stem, gayfeather (liatrus) and Indian paint-brush in Texas.
>However, when you put a shovel in the ground the root systems are very

Dry prairie really isn't all that productive compared to deep soil mesic 
prairie.  It's really a soil/water thing.  Often the same species occur in 
both, just at far different levels of productivity.

>Did you say it might take as long as 100 years to return to true prairie?

More to recharge the aquifers.  5 years to good soil balance, 10 to near 
peak production, 10+ to build resilience and develop long term assets like 

> >>  Only if you get paid for letting people shoot them.  Sorry to be so
>blunt but I'm very focused on getting paid these days...  <<
>Meaning that the only way people would eat buffalo, deer or antelope is if
>they shoot them themselves?  I bet the growing Hispanic population might be
>a good market for deer and antelope.

If you want to look at an angle for Hispanics try selling fresh 
meat.  Cattle are simply a whole lot easier to work with than most exotic 
animals, and more expensive to get into due to high cost breeding 
stock.   Other issues include game laws, and as we are finding out in WI 
prion diseases from imported deer (like mad cow disease).

> >>  Just swap in the cattle (and/or bison) and give it 100 years to
>redevelop the aquifer and soil quality and we're there.  In fact it will be
>better because we can balance the soil chemistry and design the landscape
>with farmer trees etc.  <<
>Watch out Nebraska here I come!  Do you think there's any hope for getting
>away from cattle?

I'm not trying.

>How about the Konza system?  Are they promoting the use
>of wild ungulates?

I believe they study many types of livestock.

>permaculture mailing list
>permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org

Mark P. Ludwig
Poultry Research Lab
University of Wisconsin -Madison
608-262-1730 WK
608-846-7125 HM

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