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strip farming and contour plowing

 
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i guess in us agriculture these  the first permie commercial 'systems'
 
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Hi Paul.

I would call them tools rather than systems. Swales, for instance, are tools for the control of water, with the goal of slowing it so that it can seep into the ground rather than picking up topsoil and going to visit the neighbours.

Even paddock-shift grazing is only a tool, rather than a comprehensive management system. Without other tools that improve your pasture and turn topsoil loss into yearly soil and organic matter gains, well it may still be a good tool, but it won't work as well.

I don't really know of any commercial permie systems that aren't one person or group's individual operation, which differs in my mind from what you're describing in that the systems in place for that operation might not be transferable to anything else. I would expect a system to either be focused by region or biome, or to have a general set of precepts and principles to guide you in setting up your own operation.

Which sounds a lot like permaculture to me, but that is a design philosophy, rather than a system.

Don't get me wrong, though. I like both contour plowing and strip farming, where appropriate. Contour plowing increases water infiltration and decreases topsoil runoff, as do the fallow strips between strip farming. But these are tools. Used under the auspices of permaculture, such tools can save topsoil, increase water infiltration, increase pollinator habitat and food sources, and even in cases of near-monocrop or sparse polyculture, increase the number of species of plant growing in proximity to each other, addressing pest issues with scent distraction and pattern disruption.

I wish there were viable permacultural systems to rival conventional commercial agriculture, though, and I think we will get there.

-CK
 
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