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Author Topic: Economic value of rare breeds
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  flaja
 
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Economic value of rare breeds    (Posted Sun, Jul 17 '11 at 07:52 UTC)

If you wanted to raise endngered livestock breeds for the sake of preserving them, are any breeds any better than any other in terms of economic value so you sell animal products in order to make the preservation effort pay for itself?

 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: Economic value of rare breeds    (Posted Sun, Jul 17 '11 at 10:12 UTC)

There is value in a breed that does well in adverse conditions. This does not always translate into greater marketability. In other words, marketability is relevant in a static business environment, but may be irrelevant if the choice is between a surviving litter to give you some food and no litter at all (to use pigs as an example). Not to put too fine a point on it, but the problem is with the marketing, not with the diverse range of breeds.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 flaja
Re: Economic value of rare breeds    (Posted Sun, Jul 17 '11 at 05:30 UTC)

When I say economic value I am talking about things like feed conversion ratio, rate of growth and rate of egg/meat/wool production.

 Steve Campbell
 Parma
Re: Economic value of rare breeds    (Posted Sun, Jul 17 '11 at 05:55 UTC)

Commodity agriculture production is all about tons, pounds and bushels. They are the reason that the heritage breeds have fallen out of favor. The heritage breeds were nurtured in different areas to be the best overall in that area.

Best.....perhaps meaning least sicknes,s longest life and HIGHEST QUALIY production, with this years tons pounds and bushels secondary.

Lets just say the "life cycle" of heritage animals suited the local climate and food nutrition requirements the very best over the long term.

A 100% grass-raised, Nutrient-rich, Grass Finished beef producer. Utilizing the concept of a smart pasture operation, we produce clean, nutrient rich and also tender grass finished beef.
 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: Economic value of rare breeds    (Posted Sun, Jul 17 '11 at 07:18 UTC)

>If you wanted to raise endngered livestock breeds
>for the sake of preserving them, are any breeds
>any better than any other in terms of economic
>value so you sell animal products in order to
>make the preservation effort pay for itself?

Flaja - Energy conversion ratios is a MUCH different question than your original. Their is a gigantic disconnect between the economic value and the energy value.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 flaja
Re: Economic value of rare breeds    (Posted Sun, Jul 17 '11 at 10:53 UTC)

> Best.....perhaps meaning least sicknes,s longest life and HIGHEST
> QUALIY production, with this years tons pounds and bushels secondary.

Farmers 100-150 years ago that were raising what are now heritage breeds didn?t care about sending a product to market? Of course not.

A dairy farmer in 1880 had to worry about production costs ever bit as much as a modern farmer has to. They had to worry about highest profit production as much as they did highest quality production. A dairy farmer wasn?t going to keep a cow that ate so much food to produce a gallon of milk that the farmer couldn?t make a profit when he sold gallon of milk. A farmer wasn?t going to raise the breed that was most adapted to his environment if that breed didn?t earn its keep.

 flaja
Re: Economic value of rare breeds    (Posted Sun, Jul 17 '11 at 11:03 UTC)

> Flaja - Energy conversion ratios is a MUCH different question than your
> original. Their is a gigantic disconnect between the economic value and the
> energy value.

I don?t see it. If you have to feed heritage breed A 1 pound of food to get 1 gallon of milk, but you have to feed heritage breed B 1.5 pounds of food to get 1 gallon of milk, you are better off economically raising breed A instead of breed b.

What I am trying to determine is what heritage breeds can you raise with the least input of time, money and labor? There is no commercial market for these breeds- if there were then these breeds would still be in mass production. So preserving them could easily be a money-losing proposition. If you have a limited amount of money to lose, which breeds would be the best to preserve?

 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: Economic value of rare breeds    (Posted Mon, Jul 18 '11 at 03:18 UTC)

Okay, if your preservation efforts are not going to pay for themselves, why not go for genetic diversity and adaptability to multiple environments? I have 27 different varieties of potatoes and the good performers are different every year.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: Economic value of rare breeds    (Posted Mon, Jul 18 '11 at 03:21 UTC)

As for the energy value, if you have scrub land, it would be better to run herefords than angus. Better still to raise west highland cattle. Your costs still won't pencil out, but the better breeds will use the scrubland more effectively - this is where energy value trumps the economic dollar value.

By the way, energy costs are still largely dismissed as externals by most mainstream economists, so focusing on economic value is going to give you different results than focusing on energy value.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 flaja
Re: Economic value of rare breeds    (Posted Mon, Jul 18 '11 at 04:21 UTC)

> Okay, if your preservation efforts are not going to pay for themselves, why > not go for genetic diversity and adaptability to multiple environments? I
> have 27 different varieties of potatoes and the good performers are
> different every year.

I don?t have land at the moment, but I have been looking. However, I could not afford enough land it would take to grow dozens of varieties of anything. And I couldn?t deal with an operation that big even if I could afford the land because my health is not good. I?m thinking in terms of a demonstration farm that would promote sustainable technology while explaining something of the history of farming. Since my budget is limited, I need to do everything in a way that will generate as much income as possible.


> As for the energy value, if you have scrub land, it would be better to run > herefords than angus. Better still to raise west highland cattle. Your
> costs still won't pencil out, but the better breeds will use the scrubland > more effectively - this is where energy value trumps the economic dollar
> value.

The economic value would still be there in this kind of situation if you have land that cannot be used for anything else.

> By the way, energy costs are still largely dismissed as externals by most
> mainstream economists, so focusing on economic value is going to give you
> different results than focusing on energy value.

But energy value would take into account ecological value. Energy is lost with each successive layer of a food pyramid. The energy a human gets out of a pound of meat will be less than the energy that went into the grass that the cow ate. So the less grass the cow has to eat to produce a pound of meat the better that cow is for the environment.

 Kobeman
 Nixa
Re: Economic value of rare breeds (Kobe Beef - Wagyu Beef)    (Posted Tue, Dec 13 '11 at 03:08 UTC)

I raise Wagyu cattle more well known as Kobe Beef and it is a lot more expensive to raise Kobe than a normal breed. You do get more for your product if you have the right bloodlines and know what your doing but you have a much bugger investment so the profits are about the same as a regular cow. But it is good to preserve the breed in our country. To learn more about the breed check out http://www.kobemidwest.com. I have some info there about the Wagyu Breed.

JB Kobe Beef Farms - www.kobemidwest.com
 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: Economic value of rare breeds    (Posted Tue, Dec 13 '11 at 11:17 UTC)

Flaja - Getting back to your query about rare breeds, you have missed a couple of vital points in energy dynamics. It is not true that "energy value accounts for ecological value." They are two different things. Cows utilize scrubland efficiently, but they do not utilize prime cropland efficiently. Look at traditional methods for some examples. Your starting assumption is that over time the indigenous culture is using a mix of animals and plants to minimize the human workload PLUS provide a mix of vital nutrients. In other words, the indigenous culture is already the most efficient for that econiche, as proven by their success over time. This is far different from paddock agriculture, which is what you favor.

Paddock agriculture, where you utilize prime cropland but manage the cropland with animals, is an offshoot of the Industrial Revolution. Without fossil fuels, paddock agriculture is not viable. If you look at Joel Salatin for example, his farming system utilizes prime land and a paddock system BUT he is dependent on fossil fuels, marketing, capital and a growth economy to be financially viable. He does a very good job with paddock agriculture but it is still less efficient than growing plants for the humans to eat directly. Joel Salatin fits right in with the modern business model. If you want to have a teaching farm that actually provides an alternative to the modern business model, you will have to do something different. But the upside is that if you buy scrubland and figure out how to use it efficiently, you will pay less for it.

As you say, while "Energy is lost with each successive layer of a food pyramid" AND "The energy a human gets out of a pound of meat will be less than the energy that went into the grass that the cow ate" are certainly true, you are missing the conversion factor. Fossil fuels are vital to modern life because they are energy dense. Sunlight, however is not energy dense. The earth is flooded with sunlight energy every day, but it is sparse and distributed over a large area. Plants take this sparse energy and change it into a denser form. The animals eat the plants and some animals (including us) eat other animals. As the energy moves up the chain it changes from a sparser into a denser form and a tremendous amount is lost into the environment as heat, carbon dioxide, oxygen, etc. This is what the focus on entropy is all about.

Your statement: "So the less grass the cow has to eat to produce a pound of meat the better that cow is for the environment" SHOULD BE "the better that cow is for energy conversion." Whether the cow is better for the environment is another question. It may be yes or now depending on the econiche. Even with it being better for the environment than the previous use of the land is still another question. Your simplistic views of energy vs. ecology need more width and depth.

Although you have disrespected my view on other posts, I would like to point out that I am on the land, growing new food and creating new capital right now. I have set up an energy accounting system that works at the individual farm level. As you move from the talking phase into the spending money phase into the actual working phase, you will find that the world around you has changed.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 Angela
 Conway
Re: Economic value of rare breeds    (Posted Thu, Jul 5 '12 at 12:47 UTC)

Right on Ferndale!!

Angela G Stanley Rockgate Farm
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