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Worth storing sweet fizzy drinks ?
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 4217
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
An even greater increase can be had by replacing the area used to grow grain for animal feed with an intensively gardened area and relying on, in the case of beef and lamb, meat produced from grass only. Poultry and, to a lesser extent, pork would revert to being luxury meats as the increased cost of grain based feed would bump up their price. Pork would again become a meat produced from grazing/foraging animals with a boost from food waste topped up with a little grain.

Considering how far North the UK is and the terrain in the western moor land I doubt if you can actually raise more food converting grazing land to grain production. Your farmers have already determined the highest and best use for each acre. Consider that you only have about a half million acres in corn (maize) production with almost all of that in market sweet corn or dairy cattle silage. That tells me your growing season is too short to mature field corn to the harvest-able hard dent stage needed to use combines to pick it.
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
kenneal - lagger wrote:
An even greater increase can be had by replacing the area used to grow grain for animal feed with an intensively gardened area and relying on, in the case of beef and lamb, meat produced from grass only. Poultry and, to a lesser extent, pork would revert to being luxury meats as the increased cost of grain based feed would bump up their price. Pork would again become a meat produced from grazing/foraging animals with a boost from food waste topped up with a little grain.

Considering how far North the UK is and the terrain in the western moor land I doubt if you can actually raise more food converting grazing land to grain production. Your farmers have already determined the highest and best use for each acre. Consider that you only have about a half million acres in corn (maize) production with almost all of that in market sweet corn or dairy cattle silage. That tells me your growing season is too short to mature field corn to the harvest-able hard dent stage needed to use combines to pick it.
Determining the highest and best use for each acre in terms of profit is not necessarily the same thing as determining the the highest and best use in terms of optimal food production.
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
Posts: 13822
Location: way out west

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
Your farmers have already determined the highest and best use for each acre.


I very much doubt this.

As in the US, much depends on subsidies. This is not to speak for all farmers but the ones I know have, over the years, changed tack as subsidy levels have changed.

It also makes a difference how old/able you are: our biggest next-door farmer moved from dairy to beef some years ago as his health declined. He said they were simply easier for him and his wife to manage.

Also, when inheriting a farm, offspring already in outside jobs are taking an extremely easy route, allowing their land to be forested in exchange for a yearly cheque. A guy I knew did this simply to get more leisure time outside his part-time job. He had to do nothing for this - the land was prepared, fenced and planted by an outside agency. All he has to do is hold title and hey presto, free money for 25 years.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
kenneal - lagger wrote:
An even greater increase can be had by replacing the area used to grow grain for animal feed with an intensively gardened area and relying on, in the case of beef and lamb, meat produced from grass only. Poultry and, to a lesser extent, pork would revert to being luxury meats as the increased cost of grain based feed would bump up their price. Pork would again become a meat produced from grazing/foraging animals with a boost from food waste topped up with a little grain.

Considering how far North the UK is and the terrain in the western moor land I doubt if you can actually raise more food converting grazing land to grain production. Your farmers have already determined the highest and best use for each acre. Consider that you only have about a half million acres in corn (maize) production with almost all of that in market sweet corn or dairy cattle silage. That tells me your growing season is too short to mature field corn to the harvest-able hard dent stage needed to use combines to pick it.

We, in the UK, have a very large area of land used to produce wheat, feed and bread, barley, feed and brewing, and oats again feed and food so that area used to produce animal feed could be turned over to intensive gardening. This would produce a much higher tonnage of food per acre and a much higher tonnage of food per tonne of fossil fuel although a lower tonnage per person employed. In a fuel constrained future the lower personal productivity would be a function of the more expensive fuel and of the constrained supply and a good thing although I acknowledge that under current economic thinking these are bad things. But economic thinking will have to change in the future as Climate Change takes effect and destroys our current world economy.

I didn't say anything about converting grazing land to grain growing land although a lot of that has happened recently as CAP subsidies changed the economics of farming. Much of the moorland currently grazed would be better turned over to forestry for fuel as in its current grazed state it is causing flooding in lowland areas as the rain run off is too fast. With the increased rainfall forecast under Climate Change this will be an essential to protect much of our housing and quite a bit of productive land.
I agree with LJ's and Em's posts above.

(Edited three times last on 14/07/17 at 12.57)
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Last edited by kenneal - lagger on Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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emordnilap



Joined: 05 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Animal stocking density on grassland comes across as a scandalous waste of resources - estimates vary, one report says it's 1.8 dairy cattle per hectare, others say 3.1 cattle per hectare (with winter feeding: to quote, "At the lower stocking rate [3.1 ph], about 30% of winter feed is imported, whereas at 4.5 cows/ha you are importing as much as 95% of winter feed).

Even if those figures are wrong, they're not going to be far off - and you can grow an enormous amount of food on a single hectare.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
....

Even if those figures are wrong, they're not going to be far off - and you can grow an enormous amount of food on a single hectare.


Not all land is suitable for growing human food, some is better for growing grass. Some input from cattle is good for the fertility of the soil and as part of a rotation. Most nutritionists would say that a certain amount of meat and dairy, given a much smaller proportion than now and grown to a far higher standard than now, is essential for a balanced diet in northern climes given that we won't be able to import much food in the future.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Subsidies are of course skewing the choices your farmers are making today. They have to live by the rules as they are not what someone else wants them to be. Change or eliminate the subsidies and the farmers will immediately switch to whatever is best for them under the new realities.
But for the grazing land it comes down to soil fertility and growing degree days. Grass and hay can grow in much shorter and cooler summers then any other annual crop and the best way to convert grass and hay into usable human food is by grazing cattle and sheep on it and feeding them the hay crop in the winter.
There is of course some land in between perfect cropland and perfect pasture that can be switched by a change in the rules or fuel and crop prices, but the roughest steepest pasture will never make a profitable truck garden or grain field and might actually be better used if returned to forest.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
[Change or] eliminate the subsidies and the farmers will immediately switch to whatever is best for them under the new realities.


I wish. This is the EU contravening its own rules (like they did with the banks).
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vtsnowedin



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The old New England rule is "An acre and a half for a cow and calf". That would include both the summer pasture and the hay meadow to put up their winter hay stack. If you import winter feed you have to include the acreage that produced that feed to get a stocking density.
It varies by climate of course. In the state of Texas which spans several climate areas it varies from eight to seventy five acres for each cow and calf unit.
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woodburner



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite a lot of this discussion seems to be about how to get larger quantities of food from a patch of land. No matter that a cow can eat grass, provide milk and meat, instead let's grow carb rich plants to feed an oversized population in a comparitively unhealthy way, flour sugar and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Why not grow for healthy existence? Will mean far fewer people, but that's going to happen sooner or later.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

emordnilap wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
[Change or] eliminate the subsidies and the farmers will immediately switch to whatever is best for them under the new realities.


I wish. This is the EU contravening its own rules (like they did with the banks).


If you eliminated the subsidy you would have to put further import protections on many food products because it would become uneconomic to produce many food products in parts of the EU. Although the subsidies skew the price of land upwards even without subsidies the cost of agricultural land in the EU and especially the more affluent parts of the EU would make food production uneconomic. The demand for amenity land is such that much of the land would be taken up for horsey culture for a start without taking into account the City Wallahs who would like to own a country estate with a few tens of acres of lawns!

The reason why most agricultural labour is done by eastern Europeans on short term contracts is that local workers can't afford to live on the wages that are on offer even if they live in Social Housing. The rents are still too high.

The problem with a globalised market is that for it to work properly all factors have to be globalised for a free and fair market in goods including wages and land and housing costs. Our politicians, especially the property and landowning ones, and economists seem to have forgotten this. Wage earners in this country, especially in the public domain, are learning this to their cost at the moment.
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vtsnowedin



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woodburner wrote:
Will mean far fewer people, but that's going to happen sooner or later.
That is the rub isn't it?
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vtsnowedin



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
emordnilap wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
[Change or] eliminate the subsidies and the farmers will immediately switch to whatever is best for them under the new realities.


I wish. This is the EU contravening its own rules (like they did with the banks).


If you eliminated the subsidy you would have to put further import protections on many food products because it would become uneconomic to produce many food products in parts of the EU. Although the subsidies skew the price of land upwards even without subsidies the cost of agricultural land in the EU and especially the more affluent parts of the EU would make food production uneconomic. The demand for amenity land is such that much of the land would be taken up for horsey culture for a start without taking into account the City Wallahs who would like to own a country estate with a few tens of acres of lawns!

The reason why most agricultural labour is done by eastern Europeans on short term contracts is that local workers can't afford to live on the wages that are on offer even if they live in Social Housing. The rents are still too high.

The problem with a globalised market is that for it to work properly all factors have to be globalised for a free and fair market in goods including wages and land and housing costs. Our politicians, especially the property and landowning ones, and economists seem to have forgotten this. Wage earners in this country, especially in the public domain, are learning this to their cost at the moment.

Once again two peoples separated by a common language.
What in the world is amenity land? never have heard the term before.
I understand the horsey demographic as I have plenty of that here in rural New England but how can the Eastern Europeans live on less then the locals in subsidized housing.? Where do they live and how much is the rent?
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are only here temporarily and they live in "hostels" which sometimes come free with the job. Many other migrants "hotbed" if they are doing shift work so their costs are kept low so that they can send money home to their families who are living in much lower housing cost areas of Europe. That's not an option for people who are living with families in the UK and who have got used to having separate bedrooms or, at most, having a couple of children sharing a bedroom with each other.

Amenity land is another word for a very large garden or parkland. It's houses with twenty or thirty acres of agricultural land which doesn't get used for agriculture on a regular basis. It will get mown regularly and might occasionally have a hay crop taken off or a horse, cow or a few sheep put on it.
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emordnilap



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
Amenity land is another word for a very large garden or parkland. It's houses with twenty or thirty acres of agricultural land which doesn't get used for agriculture on a regular basis. It will get mown regularly and might occasionally have a hay crop taken off or a horse, cow or a few sheep put on it.


Ah, yes. A niece of mine and her partner have something like this (about 6 acres though).

With the right attitude, it can be a Good Thing. Apart from putting in a decent size pond they've let it look after itself, barring a liveable margin around the house.

The amount of insect and bird life is, now, stunning. The fact that this couple pay for this, rather than be subsidised to do it, is a form of discrimination.
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