When I saw Fukuoka's rice/barley fields that hadn't been plowed for more than 25 years and yet achieved the yields of conventional farmers I immediately understood its significance. This was the example no one knew existed! I dropped what I was doing and became committed to making his understanding and techniques available to the rest of the world. (LK)
jeremiah bailey wrote:I haven't decided whether to seed ball yet. I did an experiment with cowpeas and buckwheat last year on 500 sqft. 1/2 was seed ball, 1/2 was plain seed. Both halves seemed to do equally well.
larry korn wrote:
All Right! That last post worked out well, so here are some answers which were written above.
The Natural Way of Farming will probably not be republished. You'll have to find it in a used bookstore, in a friend's library or on line.
When people ask you to PLEASE DO NOT WALK IN THE BEDS they are almost always referring to beds in zone 1 which have been turned over. These are the plowed or rototilled beds, or ones which have been double dug or otherwise been infused with compost and lots of oxygen. Walking on unplowed ground does not pose a problem. The soil "plows" itself by the action of penetrating roots, earthworms, microorganisms, water, trees falling over and so forth. The new grain crops in Fukuoka's rice and barley fields are trampled by human feet during the harvest of the previous crop but they don't seem to even notice. In the orchard it is good if one can avoid stepping directly on a ripe cucumber or daikon radish, but otherwise no damage is caused. Running heavy equipment over and over on the fields...well, that creates problems.
thomas jahn wrote:And I meet a lot of scepticism and resistance from my colleagues. Rumors go that intercropping of wheat with clover outcompetes the wheat.
thomas jahn wrote:
thanks Larry! Though disappointing.
I don't want to be too strict, when I ask for a "reproduction". Already the seedballs may be a science on its own. If there was some good (or bad) experience with growing e.g. wheat intercropped with clover, I would be happy.
I am in the process of taking up such a method for an experiment at our Faculty in agriculture and ecology. And I meet a lot of scepticism and resistance from my colleagues. Rumors go that intercropping of wheat with clover outcompetes the wheat. Now I am trying to find out what they did in detail to get an idea what was wrong.
If I had to start this with wheat and clover, I would host some pigs at the spot to clear the place. And for the first sowing, I could try to start with wheat instead of clover, although this is not according to the method you can find on the net. But as there would be plenty of nitrogen in the soil (from pig manure, there should be plenty of nutrition to give the wheat a proper head start.
In year 2 I would sow right under the clover.
Also, I could imagine that it was best to start with a population rather than a variety, to start with a broad genetic potential. Then using the seeds from the harvest to adapt the population.
Wheat/Red Clover as an Alternative to Corn — Sjoerd Duiker, Soil Management Specialist
Farmers are looking for alternatives to corn because of its high input costs. An interesting alternative is wheat planted after soybeans, corn silage or early maturing corn grain. Red clover can be frost-seeded into standing wheat in late winter when the soil honeycombs, or it can be mixed with nitrogen fertilizer and seeded while top-dressing wheat. Typical wheat yields are 60 bu/A plus 1 ton/A of straw. If wheat is $6/bu and straw is $100/ton, this makes for $460/A. A cutting of red clover may be harvested in the fall. If the yield is 2 ton DM/A this would add another $120/A (@$60/ton). Total value of wheat and red clover would be $580 in revenue. Input costs of the wheat/red clover package are much lower than those for corn, and in one example net revenue was $220/A. Herbicide costs are low and can be zero in a field with low weed pressure. The wheat/red clover package has some additional benefits in the crop rotation, especially for soil improvement. Corn yields after red clover are typically improved, and nitrogen application can be reduced. The N-value of the red clover harvested for forage is approximately 50 lbs/A, or 80 lbs/a if the red clover is not harvested. In addition, corn yields after red clover are typically improved. It is not uncommon to see a 10% yield increase in corn beyond the nitrogen value of red clover. The wheat/red clover combination also helps to keep living roots in the soil year-round, one of the principles we use in designing optimal no-till systems, making this option worthy of consideration. Get ready now for red clover seeding by acquiring the seed and getting set up for frost seeding your winter small grain acres. For more information see http://cropsoil.psu.edu/extension/facts/agfact67.pdf and http://cropsoil.psu.edu/Extension/Facts/agfact21.pdf.
Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
Loose sorts of replication are actually fairly abundant. I found the following here (emphasis mine):
Note that this is not an organic farmer, but a researcher who is happy to eliminate herbicide, reduce the use of chemical fertilizer, and sees benefits to the crop which can't be explained by nitrogen alone.
A direct laboratory experiment showed that cutting was important, and soil disturbance unnecessary, in the transfer of nitrogen to wheat from inter-planted white or red clover. This is consistent with the practice of scything clover while wheat is just beginning to grow. Abstract & link
dirtfarmer wrote:Strip cropping on the contour of fields with alternating wheat (or spelt) and clover would allow safe scything of the clover for regeneration without disturbing the wheat