Monday, December 10, 2007

The Contrary Farmer :: Chapter 6 Book Review

The other evening I finished chapter six of Gene Logsdons book, "The Contrary Farmer". This chapter is titled, "A Paradise of Meadows". Like Mr. Logsdon's other chapters in this book it is part life philosophy and part practical knowledge. I enjoyed reading this chapter as the meadow places are areas that I find exceptionally beautiful and full of life ... kinda Mr. Logsdon's idea!

One quote that really hit home for me (not as much because it was new knowledge, but rather because it encourages me) comes from the beginning part of the chapter. Mr. Logsdon writes, "The reason controlled rotational grazing, or grassland farming, the older term which I prefer to use, fits the cottage farm so well is that this is becoming the most economical way to keep animals as the cost of annual crop farming rises." He goes on to talk about the benefits of the livestock doing the work, controlling the weeds, and harvesting our crops (grass, legumes, corn, etc.). One thing I feel like I need to remind myself each time I pick up this book is that Mr. Logsdon is specifically talking about what he calls "cottage farms". These are farmers that don't make their soul income from their livestock, crops, or other farm ventures. So, his type of grassland farming with slower rotations may not fit someone looking to raise their stock density in order to meet product demands, build up their soils, or create a product.

Another thing that comes out loud and clear in this chapter is Mr. Logsdon's love affair with bluegrass and white clover ... and I must admit that I think I'm starting to believe him! I first read his words on bluegrass and white clover in "All Flesh is Grass" a book that I have also read. His feeling is that bluegrass and white clover are such great pasture grasses/legumes because they almost always show up when you graze/mow a pasture for a period of time. And, I must admit that I have seen that on our own families farm. There is land that was a weedy mess of nothingness that all of the sudden is full of a variety of plants and lots of bluegrass and clover! We didn't seed anything, it just came on by itself. He does throw out a few other meadow (pasture) plants that he likes or has heard of others liking. Some that he includes are: birdsfoot trefoil, red clover, alfalfa, timothy, orchard grass, rye grass (although he wasn't as high on this as I have heard others speak), and more. This book chapter really did get me think about grasses, legumes, and weeds again ... this spring I would really like to have an extension agent or the like come out to the family farm to give us a run down of what our pastures hold.

So, here is your two second run down of the chapter: Meadows are beautiful places that hold wonderful wildlife, great memories, and a place to relax. They provide a great opportunity to raise your livestock as they were created to graze and at lower prices than conventional farming as long as you practice some sort of rotational grazing to spread the nutrients and force them to eat a variety of plants. And, meadows should be diverse and have plentiful species of plants ... maybe even different meadows in different environments on the farm with different plants!

When I read other peoples review of this book many of them said that is a book they like to keep on their shelf so they can read it once a year to make sure their heads are on straight. Now that I'm over half way through I can really appreciate that comment. It may not be full of details and systems of grazing, but it does help you keep your mind focused on the ideals of grass farming.

**For my other chapter reviews check out these links : Chapter 1&2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5**

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...