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Is the Bonfils Wheat Growing technique the ultimate breadbasket of permaculture?

 
David Miller
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Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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Since the Bonfils wheat growing technique incorporates a living mulch, a no till approach and a completely sustainable approach (allowing for viable plants instead of relying on fertilizers/pesticide/herbicide to growing wheat without outside inputs and produces a far greater yield than conventional ag, can the Bonfils wheat growing technique considered to be the ultimate breadbasket of permaculture? Opinions or better alternatives. I'm preparing to turn over new ground to this technique in the spring and would love to know if there are better/different alternatives to this technique that can offer all of the above benefits.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Can you describe how it differs from the Fukuoka Natural Farming method of growing grains? Thanks.

 
Brad Davies
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:Can you describe how it differs from the Fukuoka Natural Farming method of growing grains? Thanks.



They are extremely similar, I think the only difference is that each one is adapted for a different location. Different planting times, same techniques. At least that's what I gathered from reading, One Straw Revolution and "Fukuoaka-Bonfils Method" article.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks!
 
nancy sutton
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FYI....Nov issue of Permaculture Activist is titled "Growing Staple Crops".
 
deano Martin
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Try it, then let us know how you get on.
I started my own trials this Summer, and have documented them on my blog, The Sustainable Smallholding, http://deanom.wordpress.com/ .
I would welcome feedback/collaboration from others trying the Bonfils method, especially if you are also adding other elements.
I'm hoping to have a related article published in the next edition of Permaculture Magazine, due out in January.
Wishing you well
Deano
 
David Miller
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Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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deano Martin wrote:Try it, then let us know how you get on.
I started my own trials this Summer, and have documented them on my blog, The Sustainable Smallholding, http://deanom.wordpress.com/ .
I would welcome feedback/collaboration from others trying the Bonfils method, especially if you are also adding other elements.
I'm hoping to have a related article published in the next edition of Permaculture Magazine, due out in January.
Wishing you well
Deano


I'll be trying it this spring, I'll be sure to upload some photos and details of my progress when I have something to report. Thanks for the input, if anyone else is or had done this technique please chime in.
 
Alison Thomas
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I'd like to think that it is. We tried it here in France being inspired by One Straw Revolution but without knowing more than Marc Bonfils' name. We sowed a modern variety late (October), it germinated, grew to about 10cm, then couldn't compete with the pasture flora. Spot the mistakes! Heritage seed of wheat however is proving VERY difficult to find here. I'm keen to try again if I can get seed.

deano - Read your blog entry. We're having lots of fun (and frustration!!) this autumn learning how to hand thresh, winnow, and store all our grains. SO different to just going out and picking some salad or pulling a beetroot. How big are the beds that you talk about?
 
deano Martin
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Hi Alison
Sorry for the late reply, but I'm an infrequent visitor to the forums. My beds are 5 ft by about 45ft, and i have six in the system at the moment. My aim is to prove that the system can work, to find out how much more it could produce, and to incorporate it into a rotation that includes vegetables.
Like you, I have made some errors. I used a rye, kindly sent to me by Mark Moodie, that went to seed the same year, but too late to ripen properly. I had to plant a second batch, which is doing nicely. The spelt is doing well, but I have used a little too much chicory, and it needs trimming back. I used persian, and crimson clover in the first rye beds, but they were a little too vigorous, at least they seemed to be.
I have some perennial rye, and perennial wheat to incorporate into my system. If I plant them at the same spacings as the annuals, it will give me scope to add other elements. Perhaps corn/millet/amaranth.
I am already adding Broad (Fava Beans).
For my part, I would love to hear more about your/other people's experiences with processing grains on a small scale, and recommendations for hand mills, threshing systems etc.
Hopefully, together we can relearn some of the skills that we have recently forgotten.
Wishing you well

Deano

PS. There are more posts on the blog about the system that i'm trying. it seems to have taken over my life, and therefore the blog too.
 
Brenda Groth
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have a strong desire to try some grains this next year if possible, would love to have some perennial ones though. I'm sure the pheasants in the area would also appreciate it, but I'd love to harvest some wheat, rye and oats just for our home, eventually.
 
deano Martin
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Hi Brenda.
Not sure where you are based, but adaptive seeds are selling the perennial wheat in the US, and Brown envelope seeds are selling it in Eire (Bigger packets). Buying from Adaptive seeds will get some money to Tim Peters, who is the breeder.
Hope that is useful
Deano
 
David Miller
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Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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deano Martin wrote:Hi Brenda.
Not sure where you are based, but adaptive seeds are selling the perennial wheat in the US, and Brown envelope seeds are selling it in Eire (Bigger packets). Buying from Adaptive seeds will get some money to Tim Peters, who is the breeder.
Hope that is useful
Deano


I can't locate a perennial wheat on their website, suggestions?
 
deano Martin
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Hi
My mistake. This link should do the job.
http://newworldcrops.com/wp/category/perennial-grains/
Sorry for the mistake.
Deano
 
David Miller
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Don't be sorry, thanks for the help!
 
Mathew Ritchie
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millerdavidpatrick McCoy wrote:Since the Bonfils wheat growing technique incorporates a living mulch, a no till approach and a completely sustainable approach (allowing for viable plants instead of relying on fertilizers/pesticide/herbicide to growing wheat without outside inputs and produces a far greater yield than conventional ag, can the Bonfils wheat growing technique considered to be the ultimate breadbasket of permaculture? Opinions or better alternatives. I'm preparing to turn over new ground to this technique in the spring and would love to know if there are better/different alternatives to this technique that can offer all of the above benefits.
Have you heared of `Pasture Cropping`?pasture cropping/Pasture Cropping & No Kill Cropping Profitable Regenerative Agriculture
 
deano Martin
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Hi Mathew.
Yes. My reading suggests that it is only used to produce a grain crop one year in five. It threfore seems to fit in well when used with livestock. The Bonfils method seems to be more suitable for small scale cropping, and theoretically can produce a grain crop every year.
Regards
Deano
 
Mathew Ritchie
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http://www.pasturecropping.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=98:angus-maurice-cropping-in-a-pasture-cropped-paddock&catid=43:all-sorts-of-multimedia&Itemid=64 The impressionI get is that each paddock is assessed each year and the disission is made on is it neaded for management reasons.
deano Martin wrote:Hi Mathew.
Yes. My reading suggests that it is only used to produce a grain crop one year in five. It threfore seems to fit in well when used with livestock. The Bonfils method seems to be more suitable for small scale cropping, and theoretically can produce a grain crop every year.
Regards
Deano
 
David Miller
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Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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Not until now Mathew, I'm intrigued by the claimed 27% increase in profitability. The page also described that their trials were moving away from fertilizer and herbicidal inputs and now running trials without those synthesized inputs. I'm interested to see how their yields are, I'd be optimistic about them.

Mathew Ritchie wrote:
millerdavidpatrick McCoy wrote:Since the Bonfils wheat growing technique incorporates a living mulch, a no till approach and a completely sustainable approach (allowing for viable plants instead of relying on fertilizers/pesticide/herbicide to growing wheat without outside inputs and produces a far greater yield than conventional ag, can the Bonfils wheat growing technique considered to be the ultimate breadbasket of permaculture? Opinions or better alternatives. I'm preparing to turn over new ground to this technique in the spring and would love to know if there are better/different alternatives to this technique that can offer all of the above benefits.
Have you heared of `Pasture Cropping`?pasture cropping/Pasture Cropping & No Kill Cropping Profitable Regenerative Agriculture
 
deano Martin
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Hi Mathew
I'm quoting Joel Salatin, who gives the system a mention in his latest book. I'm sure that there will be people experimenting with different ways to manage their land.
Regards
Deano
 
deano Martin
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Just thought that I'd update my earlier comments on this thread.
I harvested rye and spelt from my (small) Bonfils trial beds yesterday. I'll not know what the yields are like until the grain is dried, threshed, and weighed, but look a little low. In my system the grain beds are also the main providers of composting materials for the rest of the system. The addition of chicory to the understory has yielded masses of biomass, but may have reduced the grain yield.
As my rye is not a true Winter variety, I have the ability, by using modules/soil blocks, to harvest a crop before planting out the transplants.This will allow me to sow at the right time, but transplant later. I hope that this will either allow me to reduce the spacing between grain plants, or use adifferent interplant, either broad (fava) beans or an alternative grain.
I put a quick post about the harvest on my blog http://deanom.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/polyculture-update-and-small-scale-grain-harvested/ if any of you want to read about it.
My perennial rye and spelt is not yet ready to harvest.
Deano
 
David Miller
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I'm interested to know what led you to use chicory instead of a nitrogen fixing legume?
 
deano Martin
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The idea was to use both.
The chicory was to add to the biomass, but also as a way to use its deep roots to 'mine' minerals and bring them up. I sowed the chicory too thickly in some of the beds, and it suppressed the clover.
An alternative would be to use a deeper rooting legume like red clover, rather than/as well as white clover. Less chicory might work, and I want to try again, but thin out a bit earlier.
 
David Miller
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Very cool
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