Help ATS with a contribution via PayPal:
learn more

Study: Biodiversity from Polyculture Outperforms Industrial Farming Chemicals

page: 1
20
<<   2 >>

log in

join
+5 more 
posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 09:23 AM
link   
I often here that we need modern farming and chemicals in order to maintain the level of food we have on the planet and without such practised people would starve. Evidence is coming out that this is not the case. Last week I read about a farmer in India that out performed modern farming and grew the most rice per square metre anywhere in the world. He used old farming practises. Not new.


A study by the University of California, Berkeley, presented exhaustive alternatives to current practices. One section of the paper cited research pointing to the positive effects of biodiversity on the numbers of herbivore pests, finding that polycultural planting led to reduction of pest populations by up to 64%. Later, combined results of hundreds of comparisons also favored biologically diverse farms with a 54% increase in pest mortality and damage to crops dropping by almost 25%. The introduction of more diverse insects also promoted increased pollination and healthier crops.

A 9-year study conducted by researchers from the USDA, University of Minnesota and Iowa State University proved that in more complex systems, yield AND profits were both enhanced. When paired against the conventional corn/soy rotation, less fertilizer was used. This difference actually increased over the course of the study, indicating the quality of the soil was improving over time, instead of experiencing the depletion of common practices.


www.activistpost.com...

It looks like the FDA knows about such methods and their results. However that does not stop the funding of agro chemical farming.




posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 09:46 AM
link   
reply to post by purplemer
 


Do you have a link to the article about the farmer in India? It would be useful to see how it was done and if the methods could be effectively scaled up.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 11:02 AM
link   
reply to post by PhoenixOD
 


Using absolutely no machines, a farmer in India has produced a rice crop so large that it puts all modern methods and their claims to complete shame. Sumant Kumar has produced 22.4 tons of rice on a single hectare, about 2½ acres, of land.

gaia-health.com...

over 22 tons

That is a heck of a lot of rice....I truly believe that going back to the older methods were be of a tremendous help to our health and that of the planet.

However, one wonders what those changes back would do to our demand for all the fresh produce demanded year-around....



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 11:13 AM
link   
reply to post by DontTreadOnMe
 


It seems they dont really know why this one farmer has managed to produce that much. Of course its great that he did but can he do it again elsewhere and will this scale up? Using human labor and old tools might not work out to be very efficient, this would in turn drive up the price of the finished product, especially if it was grown in areas that did not have workers that will work for next to nothing like some places in India.

So it remains to be seen if this method is really 'better' in all respects than the current farming methods. Fingers crossed though that scientist can at least get some better ideas from his method that can benefit us all.

I certainly dont support Monsanto's quest to rule the farming industry.

edit on 10-3-2013 by PhoenixOD because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 11:35 AM
link   
reply to post by PhoenixOD
 


Here is a newspaper article about it...


India's rice revolution In a village in India's poorest state, Bihar, farmers are growing world record amounts of rice – with no GM, and no herbicide. Is this one solution to world food shortages


www.guardian.co.uk...



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:22 PM
link   
This Farmer is letting nature do much of the work for him. Im guessing he has established a Thriving Rizosphere within his soil....which lead to an optimal fungal/bacteria ratio to promote extreme growth rates and multiple flowering sites. The soil basically has trillions of microorganisms eating, digesting, pooping and repeating which plants looooove. It enables them to self regulate through most issues.... diseases, pests, even droughts because the endo/ectomycorizae holds onto nutrients for times of stress.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 01:28 PM
link   
It's old news to some of us (me at least) that modern agriculture is fatally flawed, and going back to less intensive practices can equal (if not better) today's modern practices.

Today's agriculture fights nature at every step instead of "going with the flow", which can only be a bad thing.

I have found that soil (or rather what is in it) is the key. Let me explain...

Healthy soil has a thriving population of micro-fauna - a teaspoon can contain 10's of millions of bacteria. It's these bacteria (and fungi) that effectively feed plants that grow in the wild. When you put chemical fertilizers on soil or water with chlorinated water (not so much a large scale agricultural practice, but can apply to small scale plots/gardens), you kill 95% of the micro-fauna, and drastically reduce the diversity of species in the soil. Your plants are now dependent on you giving them chemicals to feed them.

The other big problem is compaction of the soil, caused mainly by heavy agricultural machinery. By compacting the soil, you remove all the air spaces, decimating the aerobic micro-fauna population, which results in a mostly anaerobic dominated micro-fauna that is not healthy for the soil. Not to mention that plant roots don't do so well in anaerobic conditions.

Whilst modern agricultural techniques involve ploughing or breaking up the soil to allow air in, it's only the top foot or two, and below that most agricultural land has a hard compacted layer that is both anaerobic and basically impenetrable to most plant roots. Besides the wasted soil below this layer, it also means that plant roots can't get to the water table, so irrigation becomes essential during dry periods of weather - again wasting resources since a large amount of water evaporates when it's applied to the surface.

Much better to avoid heavy machinery and use animal or manual labor to break up the soil, which does not result in as much compaction if done properly.

I personally have just finished digging a bed for my potatoes (we moved into a new house a few months back). I dug about 2 feet down, and broke up the compacted soil with a fork for another 10" or 12" below that. It took me a few days just to dig that small (4' x 12') bed (mainly because the ground was full of glass, metal, stones, and an old tree-stump, all of which had to be removed), and it's back-breaking work, but it'll be worth it. I would have dug deeper, but we're running late, and I have other beds to dig. We also have quite a high water table here.

180 liters of well rotted farmyard manure went into that bed, and I'll top it up with more organic fertilizer before planting. Now it's just a case of letting the micro-fauna do their thing.

There is good evidence that growing plants this way results in healthier plants that are more resistant to drought, pests, and diseases, which translates into better crops, and has the added bonus of being environmentally friendly!

ETA: I see RedbeardedFoo got in there while I was typing my reply, and basically summed up what I was trying to say. Good to see there are others on here who understand how it works
edit on 10-3-2013 by FireballStorm because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 02:40 PM
link   
reply to post by purplemer
 


I remember seeing a documentary on PBS about early farming on the American plains.

The prairie grasses were tilled up and wheat was planted.

They had never seen bumper crops like these, for a few years at least.


Prairie grass, along with millions of buffalo fertilizing the soil, made for prime farm land.








Unfortunately those conditions did not continue.......



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 04:12 PM
link   
reply to post by FireballStorm
 



I do the same as you. I have a few beds on the go and I have made all my own soil as I live on a rock. I did not use any chemicals and my vegetables have been doing well. Lots of worms have turned up and I have no sickness in my beds.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 04:44 PM
link   
reply to post by dusty1
 


You might be interested in my recent thread:

Fighting the growning deserts, with livestock: Allan Savory at TED2013



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 04:51 PM
link   
reply to post by FireballStorm
 


Excellent post!


Here are some great articles that examine the wildlife/ecology of the soil:

Soil - Our Financial Institution

Giving Soil the Respect It Deserves

Also, a fun movie to watch:

Dirt! The Movie



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 07:44 PM
link   
Fireball....Great observation on the industrial based soil compaction, the ability for roots to stretch is so important it really cant be stressed enough. I accidentally killed a 7 foot green tomato plant last year by introducing too much organic material to the top soil which actually created an anaerobic environment long enough to choke it out...it felt like i lost a friend. Balance is key i suppose, whether chemical or natural.



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 07:56 PM
link   
I think it is completely crazy that we even need a study to prove this. Of course we are not keeping nature as we should. Our modern techniques are soiled because profits are more important thansustainability.

Humans think they can rival the ingenuity of a tree for example. A tree a perfect "machine" that produces air and carbon dioxide, provide a home for many animal and create shade and so forth. This natural perfect machines are just the apex of what we wish we could come up with. We already have the perfect technologies at our disposition we just need to change our intentions and learn to use them as they are not try to make them do what we want. Besides, people are still starving today even with all these "advancements".

Anyway, I think such a study is a waste of time, money and resources. As if monsanto is it for us. The road to hell is paved with good intentions

edit on 10-3-

2013 by bitsforbytes because: I am human


edit on 10-3-2013 by bitsforbytes because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 08:23 PM
link   
reply to post by bitsforbytes
 


Nothing in your post in consistent or relevant in my opinion, its like a blog post out of 1984....im not calling you a troll...you just sound like one.



posted on Mar, 11 2013 @ 03:28 AM
link   
Interesting indeed, as I recently got into farming rice with my wife and her family, organically on rice terraces. The method in the article is not very complete about the process though..



Traditionally, seedlings are planted in clumps in water-filled fields. These Indian farmers are starting only half as many seeds and they’re planting them when they’re much younger, one by one, spaced at intervals of about 10 inches (25 cm). Soil is kept dryer and weeding is done heavily around the young plants’ roots, which helps assure that they are well aerated and don’t have to compete for water or nutrients.


Seeds are planted usually in a corner of a field until they are seedlings. That corner of the field is usually fenced if it's possible for an animal to eat them. In my case, a carabao jumped a fence and munched on the seedlings. =(

Once the seedlings have grown to an optimum size, around 12", they are ready for TRANS-planting. Of course, by this point the rest of the field has been plowed and the soil loosened. In older terraces, the soil is pretty loose and you will sink up to your knees in the submerged topsoil.

Terraces are built by marking out the place you want to make a terrace, and then digging. You keep the black topsoil in a pile somewhere, and then dig down to the clay, so water will not sink through. You can use the extra clay you dig out to build walls. After you made your clay swimming pool terrace, put back in the topsoil and flood the thing (divert water to it.) From there, get an animal to help plow, or stomp around so the mud clods break apart. After stomping around, squeeze the soil with your hands to break it up further.

Then transplant each seedling into the terrace by hand, at the certain interval.

Industrial methods are failing, thanks to the Green Revolution, in which the creator got a Nobel prize for it. He advocates monocropping on farmlands, grown to meet certain specifications so machines can harvest the plants fast and easy. The issue is that monocropping leads to soil nutrient deficiency, so they offset the soil with fertilizers / pesticides to keep nutrients in there.

If someone wants to change the current monocropping lands into multiple crops, it may take years and careful planting to help the soil regain nutrients suitable for good crops.

Just my 2 cents



posted on Mar, 11 2013 @ 11:31 AM
link   
The system they used in Indian was SRI - a bit more about it below.

sri.ciifad.cornell.edu...



posted on Mar, 11 2013 @ 11:34 AM
link   
reply to post by purplemer
 


Good to see scientists looking for alternatives to industrial farming (although I'm for solar powered) Vertical Farms (in desert regions where the water is recycled)...

Have you heard of Tera Preta (aka MAGIC SOIL) and bio-chars??

Some people are experimenting with bio-char... permafornia.com...

The UK (and Europe) used to BURN STUBBLE and plough the charcoal back in for nutrient retension - Then Warm Global BS kicked in and this ANCIENT practice was BANNED (because of the smoke!)... This meant farmers had to use more irrigation and fertiliser - which the giant agro-pharma companies LOVED!

BBC Tera Preta Documentary... www.youtube.com...


edit on 11-3-2013 by PrivateSi because: Link correction



posted on Mar, 11 2013 @ 03:44 PM
link   
reply to post by PrivateSi
 


Thanks for that, I am reading up on the biochar now. I will try it in one of my beds it cant hurt.



posted on Mar, 11 2013 @ 04:07 PM
link   

Originally posted by purplemer

I often here that we need modern farming and chemicals in order to maintain the level of food we have on the planet and without such practised people would starve. Evidence is coming out that this is not the case. Last week I read about a farmer in India that out performed modern farming and grew the most rice per square metre anywhere in the world. He used old farming practises. Not new.


A study by the University of California, Berkeley, presented exhaustive alternatives to current practices. One section of the paper cited research pointing to the positive effects of biodiversity on the numbers of herbivore pests, finding that polycultural planting led to reduction of pest populations by up to 64%. Later, combined results of hundreds of comparisons also favored biologically diverse farms with a 54% increase in pest mortality and damage to crops dropping by almost 25%. The introduction of more diverse insects also promoted increased pollination and healthier crops.

A 9-year study conducted by researchers from the USDA, University of Minnesota and Iowa State University proved that in more complex systems, yield AND profits were both enhanced. When paired against the conventional corn/soy rotation, less fertilizer was used. This difference actually increased over the course of the study, indicating the quality of the soil was improving over time, instead of experiencing the depletion of common practices.


www.activistpost.com...

It looks like the FDA knows about such methods and their results. However that does not stop the funding of agro chemical farming.



But to quote an early American Capitalist: "Where are you going to put the meter?".

Have you noticed lately how some of the newest medicines just mimic the effects of naturally occurring plants? They couldn't put a patent and trademark on something natural, so they had to "re-engineer" it to make it a proprietary product. I'm sure the same thing goes on in the Agricultural Industry.



posted on Mar, 11 2013 @ 08:36 PM
link   

Originally posted by purplemer

I often here that we need modern farming and chemicals in order to maintain the level of food we have on the planet and without such practised people would starve. Evidence is coming out that this is not the case. Last week I read about a farmer in India that out performed modern farming and grew the most rice per square metre anywhere in the world. He used old farming practises. Not new.


A study by the University of California, Berkeley, presented exhaustive alternatives to current practices. One section of the paper cited research pointing to the positive effects of biodiversity on the numbers of herbivore pests, finding that polycultural planting led to reduction of pest populations by up to 64%. Later, combined results of hundreds of comparisons also favored biologically diverse farms with a 54% increase in pest mortality and damage to crops dropping by almost 25%. The introduction of more diverse insects also promoted increased pollination and healthier crops.

A 9-year study conducted by researchers from the USDA, University of Minnesota and Iowa State University proved that in more complex systems, yield AND profits were both enhanced. When paired against the conventional corn/soy rotation, less fertilizer was used. This difference actually increased over the course of the study, indicating the quality of the soil was improving over time, instead of experiencing the depletion of common practices.


www.activistpost.com...

It looks like the FDA knows about such methods and their results. However that does not stop the funding of agro chemical farming.





new topics




 
20
<<   2 >>

log in

join