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  • SHT Chintamani
    A family that has little use for cash The morning I went to meet her Anusuyabai Meshram did something she does not usually do-milk one of her cows. It was a
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 1, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      A family that has little use for cash

      The morning I went to meet her Anusuyabai Meshram did something she does not usually do-milk one of her cows. It was a special day: the Meshrams were having guests. "We do not need milk on a daily basis," she explained cheerfully as she served us tea, "Because we drink our tea black."

      There are many other things that Anusuyabai, 44, and her 47-year-old husband Pandurang Meshram do not need: electricity, piped water, security, a weather-proof house, regular social contact, and for the most part, even money.

      For the past eight years, this couple has been living by choice on their seven acre (2.8 hectare) ancestral farm outside village Wasriphode in Maharashra's Yavatmal district without these facilities. Their joy in living a simple life shows on their faces. "We live like this because we like to," Pandurang said. "Two years ago our only daughter, Manisha, was married.Now we are free of parental responsibilities," he added.

      Before moving to Wasriphode, Pandurang had worked as a mechanic and driver and also in a fishery for a few years, but the couple was never happy. "We were always anxious about something or the other, especially money and rising prices. Finally we decided to move away here and grow our own food so that we could live without worries," he said.

      Over the past eight years, the Meshrams have evolved a lifestyle that requires minimal money. They plant cotton on three of their seven acres, and food crops-jowar millets, a variety of legumes, vegetables, oilseeds and spices on the rest.

      The cotton-an indigenious variety-earns them around Rs 40,000 annually, which is enough to buy wheat, rice, the occasional set of clothing and a few necessities; perform their duties on social occasions like weddings in the family, and save a little.

      "We do not need money to spend on addictions like tobacco or alcohol, or on visits to doctors," Anusuyabai said.

      For transport they have a bicycle, which, they claim is enough, because apart from a monthly pilgrimage to Mahur about 75 km away, they never need to travel more than 25-30 km. They get enough fuelwood from the trees on their land. They harvest food items according to their requirements, leaving the rest on the field for whoever needs them. The couple says that they have never run short of food, and hardly ever harvest more than half of the crops they grow.

      "This year we had an excellent okra crop," Pandurang said, pointing to a plant still standing amid a festoon of dried pods, "Each plant yielded more than 100 pods. I gathered baskets of them and heaped them on the roadside for whoever wanted them."

      Has he never considered selling his excess produce for money? "Yes, but loche wadteel (it will only create complications)," he replied without missing a beat. This sentence appears to be a refrain with the couple. Why don't they get an electric connection that they can very well afford? Why don't they add to their income by selling the milk from their nine cows? Why don't they avail of government subsidies? Why don't they put their money in a bank? The answer is the same always.

      It took some coaxing to get Pandurang to explain the nature of the complications: "See, if we get electricity, we will have to earn extra to pay bills, and will be frustrated over power cuts. If we sell our extra produce, I will have to spend more time in the market than with my land and animals. Subsidy means bribing officials."

      So why do they bother to grow more than they need? "So we have something to give," he said with touching humility, "Villagers regularly take vegetables and lentils from our farm. Everyone trusts us and we trust everyone."

      Love and trust. That appears to be the dominant philosophy of the couple. Dogs, cats and cattle live in harmony on the farm, and injured wild animals find their way there too. "I have seen a peacock, a deer and a hare in their farm at different times," says Sucheta Ingole of Dharamitra, a non-profit which works in the area of organic farming.

      "It is because of these animals that we don't get lonely," explained Anusuyabai, "We have them for love, not for making money."

      But what about the investment involved in growing those extra crops and keeping the livestock? "What investment?" asked Pandurang.

      This brings us to one of the most important achievements of the Meshrams: zero-budget farming. The Meshrams have switched completely to organic farming. They preserve indigenous seeds (and give freely to whoever needs them) of a wide variety of crops they grow. Mulching and contour bunding have enriched the land and reduced the need for irrigation, and have no need for pest control. All other farming techniques have been simplified to a point where the need for labour is minimal.

      "We do all the work and in any case our farm does not require more than three hours of work a day," Anusuya-bai said.

      "Initially, we taught them techniques for making vermicompost, vermiwash, organic pesticide. But after a year or two, they simply took to tying their animals under some neem trees on the farm. The falling leaves, animal dung, urine and fodder waste accumulating under the trees combined into the best fertilizer-cum-pest repellant you ever saw. I have never heard of crop failure or a pest attack on their farm," Ingole said.

      The same simplicity characterizes their financial transactions. The Meshrams keep their money with a trusted money-lender, refusing to bank, but most of their savings are spent in helping relatives.

      For the last two years they have been planning to rebuild their mud-and-tile house, which is sagging, but never got around to doing it because they gave away their money to relatives who were in need. "It does not matter," said a cheerful, sunburnt Ansuyabai, "We are used to living in the open with our animals. We will build the house when people repay us."

      They do keep a nest-egg for an emergency though, but neither of them knows exactly how much they have. "I have everything written down," says Pandurang, who has an education up to the fourth grade, with a careless wave of his hand, "And anyway, the man is trustworthy."

      The Meshrams have inspired Tarak Kate, agricultural scientist and founder of Dharamitra. A year ago Kate, 60, retired from the non-profit and started living on his own one hectare.

      The Meshrams have no doubts nor fear about sustaining their unique self-sufficient lifestyle till the end of their lives. "When you love the land, it yields in abundance. When you love trees and animals, they love you in return. What else do you need to live?"

      What else, indeed.

      Story link


      Copyright © 2002 Society for Environmental Communications


      Down To Earth is a science and environment fortnightly published by the Society for Environmental Communications, India. Subscribe to Down To Earth to read some of the best articles on environment,

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Raju Titus
      Dear Friend,The word Sustainable , Natural and True Organic is based on Zero soil,water and biodiversity erosion and this is directly related to
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 4, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear Friend,The word "Sustainable", " Natural" and " True Organic" is based
        on Zero soil,water and biodiversity erosion and this is directly related to"
        Tilling".Tilling is responsible for desertification,floods and droughts. In
        this very beautiful article nothing is written about tilling. Ausabai is
        using man made fertilizer this shows that she is tilling her land for
        cropping and if tilling is there "Fukuoka farming group" do not consider it"
        sustainable".because Fukuoka Farming is based on Zero tillage.Many
        N.G.O were working with farmers
        for Organic farming are now switching their project to "Fukuoka Farming" due
        to this only.
        Raju Titus
        Natural Farmer of India

        On Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 9:25 PM, SHT Chintamani <
        chintamani.fes@...> wrote:

        > A family that has little use for cash
        >
        > The morning I went to meet her Anusuyabai Meshram did something she does
        > not usually do-milk one of her cows. It was a special day: the Meshrams were
        > having guests. "We do not need milk on a daily basis," she explained
        > cheerfully as she served us tea, "Because we drink our tea black."
        >
        > There are many other things that Anusuyabai, 44, and her 47-year-old
        > husband Pandurang Meshram do not need: electricity, piped water, security, a
        > weather-proof house, regular social contact, and for the most part, even
        > money.
        >
        > For the past eight years, this couple has been living by choice on their
        > seven acre (2.8 hectare) ancestral farm outside village Wasriphode in
        > Maharashra's Yavatmal district without these facilities. Their joy in living
        > a simple life shows on their faces. "We live like this because we like to,"
        > Pandurang said. "Two years ago our only daughter, Manisha, was married.Now
        > we are free of parental responsibilities," he added.
        >
        > Before moving to Wasriphode, Pandurang had worked as a mechanic and driver
        > and also in a fishery for a few years, but the couple was never happy. "We
        > were always anxious about something or the other, especially money and
        > rising prices. Finally we decided to move away here and grow our own food so
        > that we could live without worries," he said.
        >
        > Over the past eight years, the Meshrams have evolved a lifestyle that
        > requires minimal money. They plant cotton on three of their seven acres, and
        > food crops-jowar millets, a variety of legumes, vegetables, oilseeds and
        > spices on the rest.
        >
        > The cotton-an indigenious variety-earns them around Rs 40,000 annually,
        > which is enough to buy wheat, rice, the occasional set of clothing and a few
        > necessities; perform their duties on social occasions like weddings in the
        > family, and save a little.
        >
        > "We do not need money to spend on addictions like tobacco or alcohol, or on
        > visits to doctors," Anusuyabai said.
        >
        > For transport they have a bicycle, which, they claim is enough, because
        > apart from a monthly pilgrimage to Mahur about 75 km away, they never need
        > to travel more than 25-30 km. They get enough fuelwood from the trees on
        > their land. They harvest food items according to their requirements, leaving
        > the rest on the field for whoever needs them. The couple says that they have
        > never run short of food, and hardly ever harvest more than half of the crops
        > they grow.
        >
        > "This year we had an excellent okra crop," Pandurang said, pointing to a
        > plant still standing amid a festoon of dried pods, "Each plant yielded more
        > than 100 pods. I gathered baskets of them and heaped them on the roadside
        > for whoever wanted them."
        >
        > Has he never considered selling his excess produce for money? "Yes, but
        > loche wadteel (it will only create complications)," he replied without
        > missing a beat. This sentence appears to be a refrain with the couple. Why
        > don't they get an electric connection that they can very well afford? Why
        > don't they add to their income by selling the milk from their nine cows? Why
        > don't they avail of government subsidies? Why don't they put their money in
        > a bank? The answer is the same always.
        >
        > It took some coaxing to get Pandurang to explain the nature of the
        > complications: "See, if we get electricity, we will have to earn extra to
        > pay bills, and will be frustrated over power cuts. If we sell our extra
        > produce, I will have to spend more time in the market than with my land and
        > animals. Subsidy means bribing officials."
        >
        > So why do they bother to grow more than they need? "So we have something to
        > give," he said with touching humility, "Villagers regularly take vegetables
        > and lentils from our farm. Everyone trusts us and we trust everyone."
        >
        > Love and trust. That appears to be the dominant philosophy of the couple.
        > Dogs, cats and cattle live in harmony on the farm, and injured wild animals
        > find their way there too. "I have seen a peacock, a deer and a hare in their
        > farm at different times," says Sucheta Ingole of Dharamitra, a non-profit
        > which works in the area of organic farming.
        >
        > "It is because of these animals that we don't get lonely," explained
        > Anusuyabai, "We have them for love, not for making money."
        >
        > But what about the investment involved in growing those extra crops and
        > keeping the livestock? "What investment?" asked Pandurang.
        >
        > This brings us to one of the most important achievements of the Meshrams:
        > zero-budget farming. The Meshrams have switched completely to organic
        > farming. They preserve indigenous seeds (and give freely to whoever needs
        > them) of a wide variety of crops they grow. Mulching and contour bunding
        > have enriched the land and reduced the need for irrigation, and have no need
        > for pest control. All other farming techniques have been simplified to a
        > point where the need for labour is minimal.
        >
        > "We do all the work and in any case our farm does not require more than
        > three hours of work a day," Anusuya-bai said.
        >
        > "Initially, we taught them techniques for making vermicompost, vermiwash,
        > organic pesticide. But after a year or two, they simply took to tying their
        > animals under some neem trees on the farm. The falling leaves, animal dung,
        > urine and fodder waste accumulating under the trees combined into the best
        > fertilizer-cum-pest repellant you ever saw. I have never heard of crop
        > failure or a pest attack on their farm," Ingole said.
        >
        > The same simplicity characterizes their financial transactions. The
        > Meshrams keep their money with a trusted money-lender, refusing to bank, but
        > most of their savings are spent in helping relatives.
        >
        > For the last two years they have been planning to rebuild their
        > mud-and-tile house, which is sagging, but never got around to doing it
        > because they gave away their money to relatives who were in need. "It does
        > not matter," said a cheerful, sunburnt Ansuyabai, "We are used to living in
        > the open with our animals. We will build the house when people repay us."
        >
        > They do keep a nest-egg for an emergency though, but neither of them knows
        > exactly how much they have. "I have everything written down," says
        > Pandurang, who has an education up to the fourth grade, with a careless wave
        > of his hand, "And anyway, the man is trustworthy."
        >
        > The Meshrams have inspired Tarak Kate, agricultural scientist and founder
        > of Dharamitra. A year ago Kate, 60, retired from the non-profit and started
        > living on his own one hectare.
        >
        > The Meshrams have no doubts nor fear about sustaining their unique
        > self-sufficient lifestyle till the end of their lives. "When you love the
        > land, it yields in abundance. When you love trees and animals, they love you
        > in return. What else do you need to live?"
        >
        > What else, indeed.
        >
        > Story link
        >
        > Copyright © 2002 Society for Environmental Communications
        >
        > Down To Earth is a science and environment fortnightly published by the
        > Society for Environmental Communications, India. Subscribe to Down To Earth
        > to read some of the best articles on environment,
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • grannis04
        Dear Rajiji and all, This is very good news from India. If the NGO s are turning their organic methods toward no-till some great progress can be made. I m
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 4, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          Dear Rajiji and all, This is very good news from India. If the NGO's are turning their organic methods toward no-till some great progress can be made. I'm hopeful that more can be done in the States. I've reported earlier that there is 30% low-till or no-till farming in America but it now appears that even though cover crops and rotations were used there was still dependency on chemical fertilizers that have now caused further erosion and pollution. This failure illustrates the immediate need to see soil as the living system that it is. Zero tillage is needed to correct this problem. I have just returned from a conference on growing grains in Maine. We have an alliance of Bakers, Farmers and masonry oven builders. All are working to create a local system of field to table breads. There were five farmers speaking and two were practicing biological methods and one had a good knowledge of Fukuoka Farming. We are all small farmers that are trying to create local systems but there is great economic pressures that are made worse by large farms in the Midwest. Another topic was animal feeds. When animals were given their choice of sweet feed grain or organic oats they chose the oats. It was mentioned that sprouting grains for livestock is a way to extend and enhance the food value of your grain crops. The sprouted seeds are more easily digested by animals and will create healthier, less stressed livestock.










          - In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Raju Titus <rajuktitus@...> wrote:
          >
          > Dear Friend,The word "Sustainable", " Natural" and " True Organic" is based
          > on Zero soil,water and biodiversity erosion and this is directly related to"
          > Tilling".Tilling is responsible for desertification,floods and droughts. In
          > this very beautiful article nothing is written about tilling. Ausabai is
          > using man made fertilizer this shows that she is tilling her land for
          > cropping and if tilling is there "Fukuoka farming group" do not consider it"
          > sustainable".because Fukuoka Farming is based on Zero tillage.Many
          > N.G.O were working with farmers
          > for Organic farming are now switching their project to "Fukuoka Farming" due
          > to this only.
          > Raju Titus
          > Natural Farmer of India
          >
          > On Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 9:25 PM, SHT Chintamani <
          > chintamani.fes@...> wrote:
          >
          > > A family that has little use for cash
          > >
          > > The morning I went to meet her Anusuyabai Meshram did something she does
          > > not usually do-milk one of her cows. It was a special day: the Meshrams were
          > > having guests. "We do not need milk on a daily basis," she explained
          > > cheerfully as she served us tea, "Because we drink our tea black."
          > >
          > > There are many other things that Anusuyabai, 44, and her 47-year-old
          > > husband Pandurang Meshram do not need: electricity, piped water, security, a
          > > weather-proof house, regular social contact, and for the most part, even
          > > money.
          > >
          > > For the past eight years, this couple has been living by choice on their
          > > seven acre (2.8 hectare) ancestral farm outside village Wasriphode in
          > > Maharashra's Yavatmal district without these facilities. Their joy in living
          > > a simple life shows on their faces. "We live like this because we like to,"
          > > Pandurang said. "Two years ago our only daughter, Manisha, was married.Now
          > > we are free of parental responsibilities," he added.
          > >
          > > Before moving to Wasriphode, Pandurang had worked as a mechanic and driver
          > > and also in a fishery for a few years, but the couple was never happy. "We
          > > were always anxious about something or the other, especially money and
          > > rising prices. Finally we decided to move away here and grow our own food so
          > > that we could live without worries," he said.
          > >
          > > Over the past eight years, the Meshrams have evolved a lifestyle that
          > > requires minimal money. They plant cotton on three of their seven acres, and
          > > food crops-jowar millets, a variety of legumes, vegetables, oilseeds and
          > > spices on the rest.
          > >
          > > The cotton-an indigenious variety-earns them around Rs 40,000 annually,
          > > which is enough to buy wheat, rice, the occasional set of clothing and a few
          > > necessities; perform their duties on social occasions like weddings in the
          > > family, and save a little.
          > >
          > > "We do not need money to spend on addictions like tobacco or alcohol, or on
          > > visits to doctors," Anusuyabai said.
          > >
          > > For transport they have a bicycle, which, they claim is enough, because
          > > apart from a monthly pilgrimage to Mahur about 75 km away, they never need
          > > to travel more than 25-30 km. They get enough fuelwood from the trees on
          > > their land. They harvest food items according to their requirements, leaving
          > > the rest on the field for whoever needs them. The couple says that they have
          > > never run short of food, and hardly ever harvest more than half of the crops
          > > they grow.
          > >
          > > "This year we had an excellent okra crop," Pandurang said, pointing to a
          > > plant still standing amid a festoon of dried pods, "Each plant yielded more
          > > than 100 pods. I gathered baskets of them and heaped them on the roadside
          > > for whoever wanted them."
          > >
          > > Has he never considered selling his excess produce for money? "Yes, but
          > > loche wadteel (it will only create complications)," he replied without
          > > missing a beat. This sentence appears to be a refrain with the couple. Why
          > > don't they get an electric connection that they can very well afford? Why
          > > don't they add to their income by selling the milk from their nine cows? Why
          > > don't they avail of government subsidies? Why don't they put their money in
          > > a bank? The answer is the same always.
          > >
          > > It took some coaxing to get Pandurang to explain the nature of the
          > > complications: "See, if we get electricity, we will have to earn extra to
          > > pay bills, and will be frustrated over power cuts. If we sell our extra
          > > produce, I will have to spend more time in the market than with my land and
          > > animals. Subsidy means bribing officials."
          > >
          > > So why do they bother to grow more than they need? "So we have something to
          > > give," he said with touching humility, "Villagers regularly take vegetables
          > > and lentils from our farm. Everyone trusts us and we trust everyone."
          > >
          > > Love and trust. That appears to be the dominant philosophy of the couple.
          > > Dogs, cats and cattle live in harmony on the farm, and injured wild animals
          > > find their way there too. "I have seen a peacock, a deer and a hare in their
          > > farm at different times," says Sucheta Ingole of Dharamitra, a non-profit
          > > which works in the area of organic farming.
          > >
          > > "It is because of these animals that we don't get lonely," explained
          > > Anusuyabai, "We have them for love, not for making money."
          > >
          > > But what about the investment involved in growing those extra crops and
          > > keeping the livestock? "What investment?" asked Pandurang.
          > >
          > > This brings us to one of the most important achievements of the Meshrams:
          > > zero-budget farming. The Meshrams have switched completely to organic
          > > farming. They preserve indigenous seeds (and give freely to whoever needs
          > > them) of a wide variety of crops they grow. Mulching and contour bunding
          > > have enriched the land and reduced the need for irrigation, and have no need
          > > for pest control. All other farming techniques have been simplified to a
          > > point where the need for labour is minimal.
          > >
          > > "We do all the work and in any case our farm does not require more than
          > > three hours of work a day," Anusuya-bai said.
          > >
          > > "Initially, we taught them techniques for making vermicompost, vermiwash,
          > > organic pesticide. But after a year or two, they simply took to tying their
          > > animals under some neem trees on the farm. The falling leaves, animal dung,
          > > urine and fodder waste accumulating under the trees combined into the best
          > > fertilizer-cum-pest repellant you ever saw. I have never heard of crop
          > > failure or a pest attack on their farm," Ingole said.
          > >
          > > The same simplicity characterizes their financial transactions. The
          > > Meshrams keep their money with a trusted money-lender, refusing to bank, but
          > > most of their savings are spent in helping relatives.
          > >
          > > For the last two years they have been planning to rebuild their
          > > mud-and-tile house, which is sagging, but never got around to doing it
          > > because they gave away their money to relatives who were in need. "It does
          > > not matter," said a cheerful, sunburnt Ansuyabai, "We are used to living in
          > > the open with our animals. We will build the house when people repay us."
          > >
          > > They do keep a nest-egg for an emergency though, but neither of them knows
          > > exactly how much they have. "I have everything written down," says
          > > Pandurang, who has an education up to the fourth grade, with a careless wave
          > > of his hand, "And anyway, the man is trustworthy."
          > >
          > > The Meshrams have inspired Tarak Kate, agricultural scientist and founder
          > > of Dharamitra. A year ago Kate, 60, retired from the non-profit and started
          > > living on his own one hectare.
          > >
          > > The Meshrams have no doubts nor fear about sustaining their unique
          > > self-sufficient lifestyle till the end of their lives. "When you love the
          > > land, it yields in abundance. When you love trees and animals, they love you
          > > in return. What else do you need to live?"
          > >
          > > What else, indeed.
          > >
          > > Story link
          > >
          > > Copyright © 2002 Society for Environmental Communications
          > >
          > > Down To Earth is a science and environment fortnightly published by the
          > > Society for Environmental Communications, India. Subscribe to Down To Earth
          > > to read some of the best articles on environment,
          > >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • Raju Titus
          Dear friend, Thanks for the information. Sprout grains to domestic animals is good idea. In no till farming farmers are unnessesarily using fertilizers,
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 5, 2009
          • 0 Attachment
            Dear friend,
            Thanks for the information. Sprout grains to domestic animals is good
            idea. In no till farming farmers are unnessesarily using fertilizers,
            herbicides and insect killers. Growing crops without tilling is dose
            not require any of this.
            Thanks
            Raju

            On 4/4/09, grannis04 <grannis04@...> wrote:
            > Dear Rajiji and all, This is very good news from India. If the NGO's are
            > turning their organic methods toward no-till some great progress can be
            > made. I'm hopeful that more can be done in the States. I've reported earlier
            > that there is 30% low-till or no-till farming in America but it now appears
            > that even though cover crops and rotations were used there was still
            > dependency on chemical fertilizers that have now caused further erosion and
            > pollution. This failure illustrates the immediate need to see soil as the
            > living system that it is. Zero tillage is needed to correct this problem. I
            > have just returned from a conference on growing grains in Maine. We have an
            > alliance of Bakers, Farmers and masonry oven builders. All are working to
            > create a local system of field to table breads. There were five farmers
            > speaking and two were practicing biological methods and one had a good
            > knowledge of Fukuoka Farming. We are all small farmers that are trying to
            > create local systems but there is great economic pressures that are made
            > worse by large farms in the Midwest. Another topic was animal feeds. When
            > animals were given their choice of sweet feed grain or organic oats they
            > chose the oats. It was mentioned that sprouting grains for livestock is a
            > way to extend and enhance the food value of your grain crops. The sprouted
            > seeds are more easily digested by animals and will create healthier, less
            > stressed livestock.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > - In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Raju Titus <rajuktitus@...> wrote:
            >>
            >> Dear Friend,The word "Sustainable", " Natural" and " True Organic" is
            >> based
            >> on Zero soil,water and biodiversity erosion and this is directly related
            >> to"
            >> Tilling".Tilling is responsible for desertification,floods and droughts.
            >> In
            >> this very beautiful article nothing is written about tilling. Ausabai is
            >> using man made fertilizer this shows that she is tilling her land for
            >> cropping and if tilling is there "Fukuoka farming group" do not consider
            >> it"
            >> sustainable".because Fukuoka Farming is based on Zero tillage.Many
            >> N.G.O were working with farmers
            >> for Organic farming are now switching their project to "Fukuoka Farming"
            >> due
            >> to this only.
            >> Raju Titus
            >> Natural Farmer of India
            >>
            >> On Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 9:25 PM, SHT Chintamani <
            >> chintamani.fes@...> wrote:
            >>
            >> > A family that has little use for cash
            >> >
            >> > The morning I went to meet her Anusuyabai Meshram did something she does
            >> > not usually do-milk one of her cows. It was a special day: the Meshrams
            >> > were
            >> > having guests. "We do not need milk on a daily basis," she explained
            >> > cheerfully as she served us tea, "Because we drink our tea black."
            >> >
            >> > There are many other things that Anusuyabai, 44, and her 47-year-old
            >> > husband Pandurang Meshram do not need: electricity, piped water,
            >> > security, a
            >> > weather-proof house, regular social contact, and for the most part, even
            >> > money.
            >> >
            >> > For the past eight years, this couple has been living by choice on their
            >> > seven acre (2.8 hectare) ancestral farm outside village Wasriphode in
            >> > Maharashra's Yavatmal district without these facilities. Their joy in
            >> > living
            >> > a simple life shows on their faces. "We live like this because we like
            >> > to,"
            >> > Pandurang said. "Two years ago our only daughter, Manisha, was
            >> > married.Now
            >> > we are free of parental responsibilities," he added.
            >> >
            >> > Before moving to Wasriphode, Pandurang had worked as a mechanic and
            >> > driver
            >> > and also in a fishery for a few years, but the couple was never happy.
            >> > "We
            >> > were always anxious about something or the other, especially money and
            >> > rising prices. Finally we decided to move away here and grow our own
            >> > food so
            >> > that we could live without worries," he said.
            >> >
            >> > Over the past eight years, the Meshrams have evolved a lifestyle that
            >> > requires minimal money. They plant cotton on three of their seven acres,
            >> > and
            >> > food crops-jowar millets, a variety of legumes, vegetables, oilseeds and
            >> > spices on the rest.
            >> >
            >> > The cotton-an indigenious variety-earns them around Rs 40,000 annually,
            >> > which is enough to buy wheat, rice, the occasional set of clothing and a
            >> > few
            >> > necessities; perform their duties on social occasions like weddings in
            >> > the
            >> > family, and save a little.
            >> >
            >> > "We do not need money to spend on addictions like tobacco or alcohol, or
            >> > on
            >> > visits to doctors," Anusuyabai said.
            >> >
            >> > For transport they have a bicycle, which, they claim is enough, because
            >> > apart from a monthly pilgrimage to Mahur about 75 km away, they never
            >> > need
            >> > to travel more than 25-30 km. They get enough fuelwood from the trees on
            >> > their land. They harvest food items according to their requirements,
            >> > leaving
            >> > the rest on the field for whoever needs them. The couple says that they
            >> > have
            >> > never run short of food, and hardly ever harvest more than half of the
            >> > crops
            >> > they grow.
            >> >
            >> > "This year we had an excellent okra crop," Pandurang said, pointing to a
            >> > plant still standing amid a festoon of dried pods, "Each plant yielded
            >> > more
            >> > than 100 pods. I gathered baskets of them and heaped them on the
            >> > roadside
            >> > for whoever wanted them."
            >> >
            >> > Has he never considered selling his excess produce for money? "Yes, but
            >> > loche wadteel (it will only create complications)," he replied without
            >> > missing a beat. This sentence appears to be a refrain with the couple.
            >> > Why
            >> > don't they get an electric connection that they can very well afford?
            >> > Why
            >> > don't they add to their income by selling the milk from their nine cows?
            >> > Why
            >> > don't they avail of government subsidies? Why don't they put their money
            >> > in
            >> > a bank? The answer is the same always.
            >> >
            >> > It took some coaxing to get Pandurang to explain the nature of the
            >> > complications: "See, if we get electricity, we will have to earn extra
            >> > to
            >> > pay bills, and will be frustrated over power cuts. If we sell our extra
            >> > produce, I will have to spend more time in the market than with my land
            >> > and
            >> > animals. Subsidy means bribing officials."
            >> >
            >> > So why do they bother to grow more than they need? "So we have something
            >> > to
            >> > give," he said with touching humility, "Villagers regularly take
            >> > vegetables
            >> > and lentils from our farm. Everyone trusts us and we trust everyone."
            >> >
            >> > Love and trust. That appears to be the dominant philosophy of the
            >> > couple.
            >> > Dogs, cats and cattle live in harmony on the farm, and injured wild
            >> > animals
            >> > find their way there too. "I have seen a peacock, a deer and a hare in
            >> > their
            >> > farm at different times," says Sucheta Ingole of Dharamitra, a
            >> > non-profit
            >> > which works in the area of organic farming.
            >> >
            >> > "It is because of these animals that we don't get lonely," explained
            >> > Anusuyabai, "We have them for love, not for making money."
            >> >
            >> > But what about the investment involved in growing those extra crops and
            >> > keeping the livestock? "What investment?" asked Pandurang.
            >> >
            >> > This brings us to one of the most important achievements of the
            >> > Meshrams:
            >> > zero-budget farming. The Meshrams have switched completely to organic
            >> > farming. They preserve indigenous seeds (and give freely to whoever
            >> > needs
            >> > them) of a wide variety of crops they grow. Mulching and contour bunding
            >> > have enriched the land and reduced the need for irrigation, and have no
            >> > need
            >> > for pest control. All other farming techniques have been simplified to a
            >> > point where the need for labour is minimal.
            >> >
            >> > "We do all the work and in any case our farm does not require more than
            >> > three hours of work a day," Anusuya-bai said.
            >> >
            >> > "Initially, we taught them techniques for making vermicompost,
            >> > vermiwash,
            >> > organic pesticide. But after a year or two, they simply took to tying
            >> > their
            >> > animals under some neem trees on the farm. The falling leaves, animal
            >> > dung,
            >> > urine and fodder waste accumulating under the trees combined into the
            >> > best
            >> > fertilizer-cum-pest repellant you ever saw. I have never heard of crop
            >> > failure or a pest attack on their farm," Ingole said.
            >> >
            >> > The same simplicity characterizes their financial transactions. The
            >> > Meshrams keep their money with a trusted money-lender, refusing to bank,
            >> > but
            >> > most of their savings are spent in helping relatives.
            >> >
            >> > For the last two years they have been planning to rebuild their
            >> > mud-and-tile house, which is sagging, but never got around to doing it
            >> > because they gave away their money to relatives who were in need. "It
            >> > does
            >> > not matter," said a cheerful, sunburnt Ansuyabai, "We are used to living
            >> > in
            >> > the open with our animals. We will build the house when people repay
            >> > us."
            >> >
            >> > They do keep a nest-egg for an emergency though, but neither of them
            >> > knows
            >> > exactly how much they have. "I have everything written down," says
            >> > Pandurang, who has an education up to the fourth grade, with a careless
            >> > wave
            >> > of his hand, "And anyway, the man is trustworthy."
            >> >
            >> > The Meshrams have inspired Tarak Kate, agricultural scientist and
            >> > founder
            >> > of Dharamitra. A year ago Kate, 60, retired from the non-profit and
            >> > started
            >> > living on his own one hectare.
            >> >
            >> > The Meshrams have no doubts nor fear about sustaining their unique
            >> > self-sufficient lifestyle till the end of their lives. "When you love
            >> > the
            >> > land, it yields in abundance. When you love trees and animals, they love
            >> > you
            >> > in return. What else do you need to live?"
            >> >
            >> > What else, indeed.
            >> >
            >> > Story link
            >> >
            >> > Copyright © 2002 Society for Environmental Communications
            >> >
            >> > Down To Earth is a science and environment fortnightly published by the
            >> > Society for Environmental Communications, India. Subscribe to Down To
            >> > Earth
            >> > to read some of the best articles on environment,
            >> >
            >> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >> >
            >> >
            >> >
            >>
            >>
            >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >>
            >
            >
            >
          • Raju Titus
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 5, 2009
            • 0 Attachment
              On 4/5/09, Raju Titus <rajuktitus@...> wrote:
              > Dear friend,
              > Thanks for the information. Sprout grains to domestic animals is good
              > idea. In no till farming farmers are unnessesarily using fertilizers,
              > herbicides and insect killers. Growing crops without tilling is dose
              > not require any of this.
              > Thanks
              > Raju
              >
              > On 4/4/09, grannis04 <grannis04@...> wrote:
              >> Dear Rajiji and all, This is very good news from India. If the NGO's are
              >> turning their organic methods toward no-till some great progress can be
              >> made. I'm hopeful that more can be done in the States. I've reported
              >> earlier
              >> that there is 30% low-till or no-till farming in America but it now
              >> appears
              >> that even though cover crops and rotations were used there was still
              >> dependency on chemical fertilizers that have now caused further erosion
              >> and
              >> pollution. This failure illustrates the immediate need to see soil as the
              >> living system that it is. Zero tillage is needed to correct this problem.
              >> I
              >> have just returned from a conference on growing grains in Maine. We have
              >> an
              >> alliance of Bakers, Farmers and masonry oven builders. All are working to
              >> create a local system of field to table breads. There were five farmers
              >> speaking and two were practicing biological methods and one had a good
              >> knowledge of Fukuoka Farming. We are all small farmers that are trying to
              >> create local systems but there is great economic pressures that are made
              >> worse by large farms in the Midwest. Another topic was animal feeds. When
              >> animals were given their choice of sweet feed grain or organic oats they
              >> chose the oats. It was mentioned that sprouting grains for livestock is a
              >> way to extend and enhance the food value of your grain crops. The
              >> sprouted
              >> seeds are more easily digested by animals and will create healthier, less
              >> stressed livestock.
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >> - In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Raju Titus <rajuktitus@...> wrote:
              >>>
              >>> Dear Friend,The word "Sustainable", " Natural" and " True Organic" is
              >>> based
              >>> on Zero soil,water and biodiversity erosion and this is directly related
              >>> to"
              >>> Tilling".Tilling is responsible for desertification,floods and droughts.
              >>> In
              >>> this very beautiful article nothing is written about tilling. Ausabai is
              >>> using man made fertilizer this shows that she is tilling her land for
              >>> cropping and if tilling is there "Fukuoka farming group" do not consider
              >>> it"
              >>> sustainable".because Fukuoka Farming is based on Zero tillage.Many
              >>> N.G.O were working with farmers
              >>> for Organic farming are now switching their project to "Fukuoka Farming"
              >>> due
              >>> to this only.
              >>> Raju Titus
              >>> Natural Farmer of India
              >>>
              >>> On Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 9:25 PM, SHT Chintamani <
              >>> chintamani.fes@...> wrote:
              >>>
              >>> > A family that has little use for cash
              >>> >
              >>> > The morning I went to meet her Anusuyabai Meshram did something she
              >>> > does
              >>> > not usually do-milk one of her cows. It was a special day: the
              >>> > Meshrams
              >>> > were
              >>> > having guests. "We do not need milk on a daily basis," she explained
              >>> > cheerfully as she served us tea, "Because we drink our tea black."
              >>> >
              >>> > There are many other things that Anusuyabai, 44, and her 47-year-old
              >>> > husband Pandurang Meshram do not need: electricity, piped water,
              >>> > security, a
              >>> > weather-proof house, regular social contact, and for the most part,
              >>> > even
              >>> > money.
              >>> >
              >>> > For the past eight years, this couple has been living by choice on
              >>> > their
              >>> > seven acre (2.8 hectare) ancestral farm outside village Wasriphode in
              >>> > Maharashra's Yavatmal district without these facilities. Their joy in
              >>> > living
              >>> > a simple life shows on their faces. "We live like this because we like
              >>> > to,"
              >>> > Pandurang said. "Two years ago our only daughter, Manisha, was
              >>> > married.Now
              >>> > we are free of parental responsibilities," he added.
              >>> >
              >>> > Before moving to Wasriphode, Pandurang had worked as a mechanic and
              >>> > driver
              >>> > and also in a fishery for a few years, but the couple was never happy.
              >>> > "We
              >>> > were always anxious about something or the other, especially money and
              >>> > rising prices. Finally we decided to move away here and grow our own
              >>> > food so
              >>> > that we could live without worries," he said.
              >>> >
              >>> > Over the past eight years, the Meshrams have evolved a lifestyle that
              >>> > requires minimal money. They plant cotton on three of their seven
              >>> > acres,
              >>> > and
              >>> > food crops-jowar millets, a variety of legumes, vegetables, oilseeds
              >>> > and
              >>> > spices on the rest.
              >>> >
              >>> > The cotton-an indigenious variety-earns them around Rs 40,000
              >>> > annually,
              >>> > which is enough to buy wheat, rice, the occasional set of clothing and
              >>> > a
              >>> > few
              >>> > necessities; perform their duties on social occasions like weddings in
              >>> > the
              >>> > family, and save a little.
              >>> >
              >>> > "We do not need money to spend on addictions like tobacco or alcohol,
              >>> > or
              >>> > on
              >>> > visits to doctors," Anusuyabai said.
              >>> >
              >>> > For transport they have a bicycle, which, they claim is enough,
              >>> > because
              >>> > apart from a monthly pilgrimage to Mahur about 75 km away, they never
              >>> > need
              >>> > to travel more than 25-30 km. They get enough fuelwood from the trees
              >>> > on
              >>> > their land. They harvest food items according to their requirements,
              >>> > leaving
              >>> > the rest on the field for whoever needs them. The couple says that
              >>> > they
              >>> > have
              >>> > never run short of food, and hardly ever harvest more than half of the
              >>> > crops
              >>> > they grow.
              >>> >
              >>> > "This year we had an excellent okra crop," Pandurang said, pointing to
              >>> > a
              >>> > plant still standing amid a festoon of dried pods, "Each plant yielded
              >>> > more
              >>> > than 100 pods. I gathered baskets of them and heaped them on the
              >>> > roadside
              >>> > for whoever wanted them."
              >>> >
              >>> > Has he never considered selling his excess produce for money? "Yes,
              >>> > but
              >>> > loche wadteel (it will only create complications)," he replied without
              >>> > missing a beat. This sentence appears to be a refrain with the couple.
              >>> > Why
              >>> > don't they get an electric connection that they can very well afford?
              >>> > Why
              >>> > don't they add to their income by selling the milk from their nine
              >>> > cows?
              >>> > Why
              >>> > don't they avail of government subsidies? Why don't they put their
              >>> > money
              >>> > in
              >>> > a bank? The answer is the same always.
              >>> >
              >>> > It took some coaxing to get Pandurang to explain the nature of the
              >>> > complications: "See, if we get electricity, we will have to earn extra
              >>> > to
              >>> > pay bills, and will be frustrated over power cuts. If we sell our
              >>> > extra
              >>> > produce, I will have to spend more time in the market than with my
              >>> > land
              >>> > and
              >>> > animals. Subsidy means bribing officials."
              >>> >
              >>> > So why do they bother to grow more than they need? "So we have
              >>> > something
              >>> > to
              >>> > give," he said with touching humility, "Villagers regularly take
              >>> > vegetables
              >>> > and lentils from our farm. Everyone trusts us and we trust everyone."
              >>> >
              >>> > Love and trust. That appears to be the dominant philosophy of the
              >>> > couple.
              >>> > Dogs, cats and cattle live in harmony on the farm, and injured wild
              >>> > animals
              >>> > find their way there too. "I have seen a peacock, a deer and a hare in
              >>> > their
              >>> > farm at different times," says Sucheta Ingole of Dharamitra, a
              >>> > non-profit
              >>> > which works in the area of organic farming.
              >>> >
              >>> > "It is because of these animals that we don't get lonely," explained
              >>> > Anusuyabai, "We have them for love, not for making money."
              >>> >
              >>> > But what about the investment involved in growing those extra crops
              >>> > and
              >>> > keeping the livestock? "What investment?" asked Pandurang.
              >>> >
              >>> > This brings us to one of the most important achievements of the
              >>> > Meshrams:
              >>> > zero-budget farming. The Meshrams have switched completely to organic
              >>> > farming. They preserve indigenous seeds (and give freely to whoever
              >>> > needs
              >>> > them) of a wide variety of crops they grow. Mulching and contour
              >>> > bunding
              >>> > have enriched the land and reduced the need for irrigation, and have
              >>> > no
              >>> > need
              >>> > for pest control. All other farming techniques have been simplified to
              >>> > a
              >>> > point where the need for labour is minimal.
              >>> >
              >>> > "We do all the work and in any case our farm does not require more
              >>> > than
              >>> > three hours of work a day," Anusuya-bai said.
              >>> >
              >>> > "Initially, we taught them techniques for making vermicompost,
              >>> > vermiwash,
              >>> > organic pesticide. But after a year or two, they simply took to tying
              >>> > their
              >>> > animals under some neem trees on the farm. The falling leaves, animal
              >>> > dung,
              >>> > urine and fodder waste accumulating under the trees combined into the
              >>> > best
              >>> > fertilizer-cum-pest repellant you ever saw. I have never heard of crop
              >>> > failure or a pest attack on their farm," Ingole said.
              >>> >
              >>> > The same simplicity characterizes their financial transactions. The
              >>> > Meshrams keep their money with a trusted money-lender, refusing to
              >>> > bank,
              >>> > but
              >>> > most of their savings are spent in helping relatives.
              >>> >
              >>> > For the last two years they have been planning to rebuild their
              >>> > mud-and-tile house, which is sagging, but never got around to doing it
              >>> > because they gave away their money to relatives who were in need. "It
              >>> > does
              >>> > not matter," said a cheerful, sunburnt Ansuyabai, "We are used to
              >>> > living
              >>> > in
              >>> > the open with our animals. We will build the house when people repay
              >>> > us."
              >>> >
              >>> > They do keep a nest-egg for an emergency though, but neither of them
              >>> > knows
              >>> > exactly how much they have. "I have everything written down," says
              >>> > Pandurang, who has an education up to the fourth grade, with a
              >>> > careless
              >>> > wave
              >>> > of his hand, "And anyway, the man is trustworthy."
              >>> >
              >>> > The Meshrams have inspired Tarak Kate, agricultural scientist and
              >>> > founder
              >>> > of Dharamitra. A year ago Kate, 60, retired from the non-profit and
              >>> > started
              >>> > living on his own one hectare.
              >>> >
              >>> > The Meshrams have no doubts nor fear about sustaining their unique
              >>> > self-sufficient lifestyle till the end of their lives. "When you love
              >>> > the
              >>> > land, it yields in abundance. When you love trees and animals, they
              >>> > love
              >>> > you
              >>> > in return. What else do you need to live?"
              >>> >
              >>> > What else, indeed.
              >>> >
              >>> > Story link
              >>> >
              >>> > Copyright © 2002 Society for Environmental Communications
              >>> >
              >>> > Down To Earth is a science and environment fortnightly published by
              >>> > the
              >>> > Society for Environmental Communications, India. Subscribe to Down To
              >>> > Earth
              >>> > to read some of the best articles on environment,
              >>> >
              >>> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >>> >
              >>> >
              >>> >
              >>>
              >>>
              >>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >>>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >
            • Jeff
              ... . Another topic was animal feeds. When ... Actually, using sprouted grains is a ridiculous idea!! while it does increase the feed efficiency of the
              Message 6 of 9 , Apr 5, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                >
                > Dear friend,
                > Thanks for the information. Sprout grains to domestic animals is good idea.
                .
                Another topic was animal feeds. When
                > > animals were given their choice of sweet feed grain or organic oats they > chose the oats. It was mentioned that sprouting grains for livestock is a > way to extend and enhance the food value of your grain crops. The sprouted > seeds are more easily digested by animals and will create healthier, less > stressed livestock.
                > >

                Actually, using sprouted grains is a ridiculous idea!!

                while it does increase the feed efficiency of the grains,....
                first grain finished or fed livestock is another terrible inventioin of 20th centruy industrial farming... it only makes sense when using 3 ton tractors to pull 24 row tillers, planters and combine harvesters...
                and the cattle are relagated to small mud/manure lots to fatten

                even the dairy industry is moving from grains to perrenial hays (alfalfa) and to grass feeding...

                all ruminants (horses, goats, buffalo, cows, sheep, etc) are natural grass feeders, it grows, and the animals self-harvest....

                using grain is redundant because is wastes resources planting, fertilizing and harvesting, then storing and feeding to the livestock,
                and worse it creates problems such as
                mad cow disease (when they add rendered by-products to increase protein)
                deadly e. coli 0157h7 (which only grows in the acidified stomaches of grain fed cattle-grass fed beef is too basic..)
                and lower omega-3 fat content than grass fed
                among other things
                grain also uses more soil moisture and in many cases irrigation to grow than grass or hay forage would....

                finally, the idea of sprouting grains again, while making a bad idea more palatable (literally and figuratively), does injustice to the water system again...
                water is required to sprout the grains... in a world where water resources are precious this seems like a silly idea....

                animals evolved to eat grass should eat grass period!

                anyone associated with natural farming should quickly relize.. natural farming is based in what happens in nature....

                I gaurantee that no wild animal comes across sprouted grain. lol
                barring a flooded field of unharvested crops....
                sprouted coconuts perhaps.... but not grains....
              • grannis04
                Jeff and all, Thank you for your insights. The problem for temperate climates is feeding livestock when the fields are dormant. Hay can be put up for winter
                Message 7 of 9 , Apr 5, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  Jeff and all, Thank you for your insights. The problem for temperate climates is feeding livestock when the fields are dormant. Hay can be put up for winter and root crops. Turnips, Rutabagas and beets were used here historically. Sprouted grains are the early stage of grass which animals often eat. The problems with e.coli in factory farms is due to many factors all of which are against nature. Can you suggest strategies for feeding chickens in winter? I don't advocate any livestock beyond fowl and these I consider a luxury. Chickens do fit well in my system because they consume all household waste and provide eggs and some meat and some fertilizer. Steve G



















                  In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff" <shultonus@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > >
                  > > Dear friend,
                  > > Thanks for the information. Sprout grains to domestic animals is good idea.
                  > .
                  > Another topic was animal feeds. When
                  > > > animals were given their choice of sweet feed grain or organic oats they > chose the oats. It was mentioned that sprouting grains for livestock is a > way to extend and enhance the food value of your grain crops. The sprouted > seeds are more easily digested by animals and will create healthier, less > stressed livestock.
                  > > >
                  >
                  > Actually, using sprouted grains is a ridiculous idea!!
                  >
                  > while it does increase the feed efficiency of the grains,....
                  > first grain finished or fed livestock is another terrible inventioin of 20th centruy industrial farming... it only makes sense when using 3 ton tractors to pull 24 row tillers, planters and combine harvesters...
                  > and the cattle are relagated to small mud/manure lots to fatten
                  >
                  > even the dairy industry is moving from grains to perrenial hays (alfalfa) and to grass feeding...
                  >
                  > all ruminants (horses, goats, buffalo, cows, sheep, etc) are natural grass feeders, it grows, and the animals self-harvest....
                  >
                  > using grain is redundant because is wastes resources planting, fertilizing and harvesting, then storing and feeding to the livestock,
                  > and worse it creates problems such as
                  > mad cow disease (when they add rendered by-products to increase protein)
                  > deadly e. coli 0157h7 (which only grows in the acidified stomaches of grain fed cattle-grass fed beef is too basic..)
                  > and lower omega-3 fat content than grass fed
                  > among other things
                  > grain also uses more soil moisture and in many cases irrigation to grow than grass or hay forage would....
                  >
                  > finally, the idea of sprouting grains again, while making a bad idea more palatable (literally and figuratively), does injustice to the water system again...
                  > water is required to sprout the grains... in a world where water resources are precious this seems like a silly idea....
                  >
                  > animals evolved to eat grass should eat grass period!
                  >
                  > anyone associated with natural farming should quickly relize.. natural farming is based in what happens in nature....
                  >
                  > I gaurantee that no wild animal comes across sprouted grain. lol
                  > barring a flooded field of unharvested crops....
                  > sprouted coconuts perhaps.... but not grains....
                  >
                • Jeff
                  ... Yes I was primarily referring to cows (and horses and goats and sheep).. hay and swath grazing are recommended for feeding off season of these animals
                  Message 8 of 9 , Apr 5, 2009
                  • 0 Attachment
                    > Jeff and all, Thank you for your insights. The problem for temperate climates is feeding livestock when the fields are dormant. Hay can be put up for winter and root crops. Turnips, Rutabagas and beets were used here historically. Sprouted grains are the early stage of grass which animals often eat. The problems with e.coli in factory farms is due to many factors all of which are against nature. Can you suggest strategies for feeding chickens in winter? I don't advocate any livestock beyond fowl and these I consider a luxury. Chickens do fit well in my system because they consume all household waste and provide eggs and some meat and some fertilizer. Steve G
                    >

                    Yes I was primarily referring to cows (and horses and goats and sheep).. hay and swath grazing are recommended for feeding off season of these animals

                    Chickens have several advantages- primarily that wild chickens do frequently eat weed and other seeds in their diet.. they actually are adapted for it.. .so grain to chickens is okay in my opinoin...

                    the health of chickens is greatly enhanced by access to greens..
                    I suppose that spouted grains would help in this during winter...
                    although wheatgrass (fully sprouted and actively growing in soil) and alfalfa re-wetted might work okay too though... I've heard that the important ingrediate is actually the chlorophyll and recently sprouted grains may not have enough.....
                    It's been a while since I've sprouted alfalfa for salads.. perhaps this would be a better solution yet than grain sprouts....

                    over dinner conversation..
                    another factor with feeding sprouted grains specifically to cows.. is that their is a salmanella like bacteria that can infect cows via the sprouted grain, and like salmanella.. it poisons even after the bacteria is dead...
                  • Steven McCollough
                    Steve G. For winter feeding of chickens you might have to decide how to evaluate the success. Most traditional feeding methods assumed you would not be trying
                    Message 9 of 9 , Apr 6, 2009
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                      Steve G.

                      For winter feeding of chickens you might have to decide how to evaluate
                      the success. Most traditional feeding methods assumed you would not be
                      trying to get egg production over the winter, simply maintain the flock
                      until spring. Thus the nutritional requirements are different. There
                      is a natural cycle of spring hatching, summer growth and fall slaughter,
                      leaving a breeding flock for over-wintering. Production is then keyed
                      to the productive growth period of the land.

                      Some suggestions for winter feeding: This assumes the major factors to
                      consider are vitamins, carbohydrates, and protein.

                      Meat and fish by-products are under-utilized locally and on the farm.
                      Chickens can consume, as omnivores, large portions of meat and this was
                      a standard method in the past. Small operations in your local area may
                      actually be throwing these by-products away. A little known fact is
                      that chickens have peak performance with 26% protein as compared to the
                      16% usually recommended.

                      Growing worms is a great way to get through the winter. This operation
                      is easy and requires little financial input. It does take a long time
                      to get going and requires some work along the way. Worms don't grow
                      much in the cold of winter but can be stocked for winter from the
                      seasons growth.

                      Legume hay can provide much of the vitamins and have good protein
                      levels. Comfrey is also good as a winter green feed.

                      Waste hay has a wide variety of seeds and insects that will provide a
                      lot of feed. If spread deep in the fall, these areas can be foraged
                      even in the winter. Otherwise, spread over the chicken runs in winter.

                      To provide carbohydrates, consider fodder or sugar beets. They are easy
                      to grow and store well. Also, you may have success with squash,
                      carrots, etc. Try to pick vegetables with higher sugar content and
                      store where they won't freeze. Finally make up the slack in your
                      provender with lower cost grains. Home grown grains are easy because
                      the chickens can do all the threshing. Sunflowers are also good home
                      grown feeds. Sprouting helps but this lowers the carbohydrate level and
                      not easy over a long period of time. I would sprout if there was no
                      better source of greens and then I would sprout to the green stage.

                      Chicken will forage for a percentage of their feed any time of year that
                      the ground is not covered with snow.

                      Steve UP of Michigan



                      grannis04 wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Can you suggest strategies for feeding chickens in winter? I don't
                      > advocate any livestock beyond fowl and these I consider a luxury.
                      > Chickens do fit well in my system because they consume all household
                      > waste and provide eggs and some meat and some fertilizer. Steve G
                      >
                      > __._
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