Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef

Posts tagged [enviroment]

Some Truth About Manure


I recently read an article in the Columbus Dispatch about the manure problem in Ohio.

The article starts out "Under the best conditions, raising livestock is a dirty, smelly business."

The truth is under the right conditions, raising livestock is not dirty or smelly.

Until last year I let my hogs spread their own manure 24 hrs a day throughout the pastures. Then I decided I needed to keep some for specific applications. So I have been bringing hogs into the barn for winter to collect the manure.

As long as the carbon ratio is right there is no smell or mess. In my case, wheat or oat straw. Lots of it.

By keeping a good bed of straw in the barn I tie up the manure right along with the smell and mess.  Anytime you're smelling manure you know right away your carbon is low.

If you don't tie it up with a carbonaceous material you are losing valuable nutrients that you can use on your soil to fertilize it.

The nutrients either evaporate, which you smell, or leach away which wastes the nutrients by fertilizing the lawn around the barn. Or worse yet, running of into a waterway somewhere and polluting the water.

The whole idea of a huge amount of animals in one place (for long periods of time) is so unnatural it's no wonder big Ag had to come up with all these nifty, yet environmentally unfriendly ways, to store it or get rid of it. 

Big Agriculture spreads manure that is usually 100 percent raw manure. Nothing added like straw or sawdust. Heck just put those critters on concrete or slatted floors and let the pure manure pile up and then we can overload the soil with it.

Bad idea all the way around in my opinion.

If you read any old books they tout the benefits of manure as a fertilizer. But that manure was loaded with straw or other material which added to the organic material in the soil.

The combination of the manure with the organic material in my opinion is far superior to just raw manure you get from a factory farm.

As sustainable farmers we have to make sure we are doing things right. No manure running off into waterways or overloading the soil.

The American public is getting tired of factory type farms ruining the environment with all these unsustainable ways. I don't blame them I'm tired of it too.

The best way to send the message is to stop giving the factory farms your money. Give to a farmer who is acting responsibly towards the environment and the animals or crops they raise.

At Spring Hill Farms we think that's the right thing to do...

Until next time! 




More Evidence: On the Edge of a Food Shortage.

I recently posted I felt food and grain prices would remain high throughout 2011 and beyond.

Reading Lester Brown's book, WORLD ON THE EDGE he points out some interesting statistics about grain. You can read them in the document posted on my site.

While I'm not doing a book review here, I will say the book has some good points, however some of Brown's ideology about the world cooperating on some of these issues is looking through rose colored glasses.

When reading books or listening to others ideas I try to keep an open mind, at the same time, I try to use the sense of an old cow, eat the hay and spit out the sticks! 

The main point I want to bring out is Brown isn't necessarily against genetically modified seeds, but he doesn't seem to think they are the big magic bullet that many would want you to believe. As far as I can tell his reasons are fairly sound.

Which brings me to my next point. Ray Bowman was recently asked on Consumer Ag connection about the future of agriculture he said "Frightening" he then pointed to our young people as a possible source for answers although he pointed out that there isn't nearly as many young men and women interested in farming today as when he was young.

The segment ended with Pam Fretwell asking him if he thought they would "be allowed to do what was needed" to solve world hunger. Since this radio program focuses on mainstream agriculture I'm sure they are getting ready to talk about bio-tech answers for world hunger.

And so as the debate heats up, you can bet one of the answers coming from mainstream Ag is more and better genetically modified seeds, better chemicals, more bushels per acre etc. 

My thoughts are you better plant a garden this year and find a local small farmer so you can stock up.

Until next time...
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