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August 28, 2009

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Erika Peterson

Actually, CPP, *integrated* agriculture does produce far more calories per acre and per calorie of input than industrial farming. The most productive system of agriculture on earth is the Chinese pig-duck-rice system. It's the integration, not so much the scale that matters, but integrated agricultural systems do not lend themselves well to massive scale.

Walter Jeffries

We co-graze sheep, pigs, geese, ducks and chickens. They run well together, eating different things at different levels. Together the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Examples:

- Ducks eat up the mosquito larva in the pig ponds;

- Chickens eat flies and peck apart the manure of the pigs - something they'll do for cow patties too;

- Pigs root up brush turning wild pastures into lush grass and then they graze the grass

- Sheep mow down taller brush and low hanging branches of regen trees opening this up to become pasture;

- The geese honk at everyone and graze the tender grasses.

It's a system. Together they graze better than any one species would do alone.

CPP

Curious as to your basis for the statement that small farms are more efficient per unit of land. If efficiency is defined as the ability to produce the greatest volume of food per land unit/acre (rather than the most diverse as I believe you mention in your piece)then it seems questionable that smaller farms are in fact more efficient. You can question the negative externalities caused by large scale high volume farms but in terms of total food production they are more efficient.

Carmelite

Yay! I love that I am buying my food from people who see the world so much like I do! Way to represent!

Carrie Oliver

Glad to know I'm not the only one with mixed up political views. This is a lovely post and those Jersey calves sure are a handsome lot. My cousin had Highland heifers to keep his grass short (and that of his neighbors) - great for fire prevention in/near Nicasio. I say had because he bought a bull and I believe those heifers are now cows.

Nature's Harmony Farm, Elberton, GA

You're right that sheep easily break out of several strands of fence, even at 8,000 volts or so. However, we found the trick to grazing sheep and cows together, which we described in this blog post: http://www.naturesharmonyfarm.com/grass-fed-meat-farm-blog/2009/3/18/multi-species-rotational-grazing-cows-sheep.html

The trick is to not rely on the fence, but to force them to bond with cattle. Once they do, they'll associate them with safety and not leave. We move the cows and sheep together, and the sheep haven't broken out in 7 months.

Good luck.

Tim
Nature's Harmony Farm

Rich

Up our way, we call that ideology Agrarian.

Ulla

Your blog is lovely! I so agree. My family farms and I always thought it was funny how conservative and liberal they are.

Liz McLellan - hyperlocavore.com

Wow...sheep r mean!

Thanks great blog! (tweeted)

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