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Re: No till - No yield

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  • Jeff
    ... Well... first of all your conclusions are invalid for several reasons the first of which is your assumption that broad beans are good competitors in
    Message 1 of 54 , Apr 5, 2009
      Well... first of all your conclusions are invalid for several reasons
      the first of which is your assumption that broad beans are good competitors in unplowed fields...

      in my garden and indeed the natives (american indians) area well aware that annual legumes are very poor competitors with weeds, and additionally there is good evidence that they are highly sensitive to soil compaction that may result from no-till soils during planting and or in any soil lacking sufficient organic matter (especially heavy clays)...

      dry lands are notoriously lacking in organic matter...

      secondly, your planting method may need changing... because drilling works for plowed soils with fertilzer does not mean the timing or the method would be valid for natural farming....

      finally you say nothing about treatment or conditions of the fields you plant using natural farming...
      ie what are the weed and grass competitors...do you mow them.. or what else..... also the amount of mulch would be highly improtant in this equation both to supress weeds and grass and conserve moisture...

      finally planting into perrential grass fields is problematic in non-irrigated areas because they use a greater percentage of the soil moisture..

      also of note is the idea that your previously degraded soil has been restored-...
      restoring fertility requires specific vegetative regimes.. and typically degraded sites remain degraded, not because nature can't restore them, but rather.. what took over is not the restorative regime...

      also wild fields would likely lack the proper innoculant for braod beans .....
      beans don't yield squat without innoculant (with 3-5 years)without fertilizer..

      > I have selected broad beans (vicia fabia) to compare Natural Farming with Traditional Farming in the Alentejo region in the South of Portugal.

      Broad beans are also ideally suited to Natural Farming because they are robust and can grow without fertilizers in an unplowed field and normally compete well with weeds and grasses.

      > The beans are sown in autumn and harvested in April. I inserted each bean in an individual hole in the unplowed soil. I never fertilize my soil. My neighbors sow by drilling the beans in the plowed soil. My neighbor’s soil has been fertilized for previous crops.
      > The soil is heavy clay. The climate is semi-arid: 500-600 mm from October to April; no rain and high temperatures for the rest of the year.
      > 2. Natural Farming (no fertilizer, no plowing for 12 years)
      > 2a) Field 1 (average soil)
      > (25 cm â€" no yield)
      > 2b) Field 2 (average soil after 3 years of mulching, irrigation)
      > (0 cm â€" no yield)

      > * The grass and weeds in this field crowded out the broad beans at an early stage.
      > 2c) Field 3 (best soil)
      > (35 cm â€" no yield)
      > 2d) Garden 1 (very good soil after 10 years of soil improvement)
      > (140 cm â€" good yield)
      > 2e) Garden 2 (good soil after 6 years of soil improvement)
      > (120 cm â€" good yield)
      > 2f) Uncultivated soil (quasi virgin soil between fields, irrigation)
      > (70 cm â€" low yield)
      > Conclusion
      > The results show that Traditional Farming in arid regions obtains good results by plowing and manure (1). Without plowing only very little growth and no yield is obtained (2a and 2c). When mulch from other fields is added for 3 years and when irrigation is used (2b) improved growth of grasses and weeds is obtained which crowded out the beans; again no yield. When garden soil is improved by incorporating compost and by mulching for 6 and 10 years, respectively, good growth and good yields are obtained (2d and 2e). The improved garden soils also produced better results than the quasi virgin soil between fields which has probably not been cultivated for centuries (2f).
      > This clearly demonstrates that plowing is a simple and easy means for growing food crops in arid regions. To obtain the same results without plowing soil needs to be improved by concentrating organic matter from many fields in one small area for use as compost and mulch for a number of years. This is suitable for gardening but not for farming. The size of the garden is further limited by the water available for irrigation. In the summer I can irrigate ¼ acre, which is less than 1% of the total area. Again this is not feasible in farming. With plowing a farmer can use 100% of his land even without irrigation.
      > The myth that nature will create a garden all by itself is also not correct. The quasi virgin soil between the fields (2f) with soil that has probably not been disturbed for centuries produces only half of what the improved garden soil or the plowed fields produce.
      > Nor is it correct to assume that soil will improve of its own simply by stopping to plow. After 12 years without plowing the soil is still as poor as ever.
      > Dieter Brand
      > Portugal, April 4, 2009
      > PS: I have taken pictures of each test plot. I have yet to visit my neighbors to take pictures of their fields. If there is an interest, I can try and post them somewhere on the Web.
    • gunther1753
      ... i m sure you might have tried growing Quinoa. i ve read, it can handle heavy clay and even draught. regards guenther
      Message 54 of 54 , Apr 14, 2009
        --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "diebrand" <diebrand@...> wrote:
        >Hi Dieter
        i'm sure you might have tried growing Quinoa. i've read, it can handle heavy clay and even draught.
        regards guenther
        > Guenther,
        > We have cork oaks on most of our land. Cork oaks can grow on very dry clay soil without a drop of water during the summer. No other food crop can survive under these conditions. Therefore it is usually not possible to grow food crops under cork oaks. Pastures with cork oaks can be used for grazing goats, sheep and pigs during at least part of the year.
        > Dieter Brand
        > Portugal
        > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "gunther1753" <gunther.jerabek@> wrote:
        > >
        > > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Dieter Brand <diebrand@> wrote:
        > > >Hi Dieter
        > > i remember a doku-film about cork-oak plantations in portugal. apparently this is a beautiful eco system for wildlife and plants. i wonder if NF could be practised in between those trees as in a forest garden. maybe reforestation would be the best option in dry areas as yours. have you any info on that?
        > > regards guenther
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