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Biodiversity conservation The key, reducing meat consumption
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Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 15 9:17 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

Actually both links (the video was about humus) involve the ending of reductionist science and introducing holistic management which isn't primarily about any particular aspect and recognises the benefit of the sum of all the parts. Biodiversity is one of those parts, as is water retention, carbon sequestration, food production.

Night soil is perhaps a subject for another thread but what do you do with yours? Ours certainly ends up back on the land, either as the solids cleanings or biomass from the reed & willow beds. It is approriate to use it in some areas, but less so in others. If you're not taking masses of carbon out of a system, just the minimum amount you need you don't need to put masses back in.

That was an issue we found with the ings - in the first year we cut the upper section and grazed the lower. The problem was that it was full of rushes and we were carting a lot of coarse material back to the farm that was ultimately ending up being thrown directly into the bedding. The solution was to graze the ings more tightly and ensure that the maximum amount of ungrazed material was incorporated into the soils and the sward gradually improved. The problem is that you need more animals to have that effect and graze it fully.

Behemoth will probably be the better person to ask about it, but I'm pretty sure that they utilise it too. This link certainly suggests that they are doing.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 15 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

House is plumbed to a septic tank but I've an outdoor privy (compost bucket) that I use.
Something you should find interesting & ties in with what I said earlier about woodland.
Agroforestry – saving the world with meat and sport
Quote:
Trees can be successfully established and grown in pasture and the impact on normal grassland management practice is minimal. Pasture growth and livestock production were not reduced until the trees were over 12 years old. The system has been proved to deliver a range of “ecosystem services” from grassland – carbon storage to offset against agricultural emissions, biodiversity, nutrient retention in soils and reduced water pollution, animal welfare benefits and so on.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 15 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Yep, I'd certainly graze that - we have some heathy woodland available but just don't have the time or animals to graze it at the moment. I always think how lacking in diversity ungrazed woodland is, usually full of brambles or bracken.

I do wish more attention would be paid to the amount of carbon that we can store in our soils though. There's so much more potential there than in all the woodlands put together, and again it doesn't stop you grazing it at the same time. It would also work very well in conjunction with agroforestry as the animals could graze January to July in the trees, and July to January on the wetlands.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10535

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 15 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

The problem with agroforestry is that it is a compromise. In the UK light levels under trees in leaf can be very poor. We have recently installed a security camera, and even in daylight it sometimes switches to infra-red as it has insufficient light to operate normally. By planting trees like the ones shown, when they were in full leaf, the grass between them would be very poor. We find an amazing difference when we cut even severely overstood, and therefore rather sparse ash and hazel coppice, and even more when we fell beech trees, or when a mature one falls over.

Putting in some trees might be an idea, but you wouldn't get good timber, although suitable ultimately for firewood or similar, but not dense as shown in the picture, without leaves I notice.

Sewage sludge is used in some fields round here, but it has to be used carefully otherwise it can get into the water supply, so some areas are excluded.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 15 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Quite unrelated, but it mentions the chalk grasslands (of Kent) in passing; link

As regards trees there isn't a great deal of benefit to biodiversity in grasslands if they are essentially planted as a by-cropped duo-culture but shelter belts around pasture can allow for hay making and light to the lower levels with shelter for animals grazing around the outside. It would be of little benefit to our wet grasslands though as the whole point of grazing out the rushes and taller grasses is to get light down to the lower levels. Plus it limits the carbon potential of the soils, especially if the trees are drying the wetlands out.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 15 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Mistress Rose wrote:
The problem with agroforestry is that it is a compromise. In the UK light levels under trees in leaf can be very poor. We have recently installed a security camera, and even in daylight it sometimes switches to infra-red as it has insufficient light to operate normally. By planting trees like the ones shown, when they were in full leaf, the grass between them would be very poor. We find an amazing difference when we cut even severely overstood, and therefore rather sparse ash and hazel coppice, and even more when we fell beech trees, or when a mature one falls over.

Putting in some trees might be an idea, but you wouldn't get good timber, although suitable ultimately for firewood or similar, but not dense as shown in the picture, without leaves I notice.

Sewage sludge is used in some fields round here, but it has to be used carefully otherwise it can get into the water supply, so some areas are excluded.
The proof is in the pudding, if they say there isn't a drop off in grazing apart from yr 11 to 15 I believe them.
The problem I thought was how to protect the trees from the livestock? Something they don't mention.

Re sewerage sludge. I was led to believe it's not the pollution risk to groundwater, although I can see that could be a problem in some areas, probably no worse than spreading ordinary farm yard slurry. More the risk of heavy metal contamination from all the other rubbish that gets washed down the drains.

Ty Gwyn



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 4196
Location: Lampeter
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 15 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Did`nt you see the guards on them tree`s?

Maybe OK on a big farm or rough grazings dedicated to grazing only,
But on a smaller farm where one rotates ones grazing,cutting and cultivation it would be a pain in the backside.

Used as shelter belts makes more sense,well to a farmer anyway.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 15 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Like most things in life, I'm not going to say that the pudding doesn't taste good but I'd have to taste someone elses before making my own. All too often the biggest problem with alternative options is that the advocates don't even take them up themselves so it becomes more difficult to convince others to do so. Vegans are a prime example, and Monbiot's pretty good at it, too.

I've often thought about the value of tree fodder, and that's what we're trying in the wetland that feeds off the pond & reedbed outfall. When we have enough of it chipping the woody growth for bedding might be a good option too, before spreading it as soil conditioner. Straw is the one part of grain production that we do rely upon to a certain extent - reeds are another such crop that would fit well into a wetland based farming system.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35095
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 15 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

re chippings ,chainsaw chips make an excellent under layer for g'pigs and seem to be composting ok after use so i expect a similar thing would work for deep litter on a larger scale for moos or pigs.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10535

PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 15 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I am afraid my experience of trees and anything is that it is all to easy for the trees to shade things out. The agroforestry people seem to manage it in the UK, or claim they do anyway, but I believe it was developed in Tasmania which has light levels closer to Spain. I would also never do it on any important grassland as it would damage the ecosystem.

In the New Forest there is a tradition of coppicing holly high specifically for fodder, mainly for ponies, but other animals too. Result is if anyone starts up a chainsaw, they have an interested audience of ponies. We have had cows eat the leaves and bark off branches we have cut, and I believe it is often used in some continental countries.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 15 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Spacing & species selection is key obviously.
My reference to guards is post harvest when the trees become multiple stem but I suppose you would pollard not coppice.

There is a holly woodland somewhere on Exmoor (IIRC) that has been kept stunted for centuries by annual harvests for animal fodder.
I know horses will happily take the shoots & bark off most trees.
My neighbours ponies have killed the majority of the trees on our adjoining hedge over the last thirty years. The only ones that survive are the oaks (to much tannin). The hollies & thorns have all but succumbed.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35095
Location: yes
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 15 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

i was chatting to a moo today who seemed very keen on browsing hawthorne.

iirc many of the traditional systems of feeding browse involve cutting it rather than self service.i spose to protect the trees.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 15 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

As I was returning from the ings tonight, I came across a group of more than a dozen hares all running around a newly planted intensive ley for dairy cattle. I've never seen so many in one place before.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35095
Location: yes
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 15 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

i hope you explained the green cross code to them.

there are a few serious danger spots(dpack's roadkill larders) for the delightful critters.

afaik they are fairly safe from most things apart from cars and folk who hunt them.

lots is a good .

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10535

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 15 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We get hares in the woods too. Rather more than rabbits these days. If you are creating a sort of parkland, the usual system is to have a fence round the tree or groups of trees to keep the livestock out. Even Evelyn in Silva (17th century) advises fencing animals out of woodland.

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