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Farming in Peru- train's eye view

 
                          
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Just got back from DD's graduation trip (me and her) to Peru. It involved many days of travel by bus and train across that lovely nation to get to the sites we visited. So I got a view often as close as 10 feet away of many acres of Peruvian agriculture.

1- Only saw one tractor over a thousand miles- parked in a very large field (unusual) with US type small bales

2- All plowing I saw was 2 oxen teams.

(It was winter, dry season, there.)

3- Grain was shocked in 3' high cones.

4- Many walled in yards and some balconies had stacks of corn (shucked, on the cobs) drying.

5- Saw people hand (pitchfork) fluffing /tedding hay

6- Might have seen silage- or maybe it was just hay on top of dirt berms- and saw a few haystacks but mostly just recently cut.

7- Saw large group (maybe just a family though) picking carrots.

8- Main crops potatos grains (esp quinoa and 2 other types I'd never heard of) corn and livestock.

9- Many adobe walls- some dividing up fields but not all usually just around house area

10- Animals not fenced often but usually if in smaller group roped- even pigs!- and seemed some were roped in a line. Would usually be a person (herder) with every group of grazing animals- sometimes ropes on animals to person visible othertimes they were clearly staked and probably a lot more ropes than I clearly saw. Would see cows a few feet from the train with no definite protection other than their common sense- probably herder keeps them from crossing rail and they don't get too close as no grass there.

Often animals were grazing early grain or harvested field.

At evening time would see 2-3 folks herding animals home- as if 1-2 someones are sent out to herder to help him/her bring animals home. Once it was 3 behind a huge herd cows with boss cow out ahead of all. Never saw dogs herding- dunno if that is done there- most dogs seemed to be just companions but dunno about vermin they might control.

11- dogs- never leashed, never in packs (as I see daily from my window at home rural AL), only once saw one in road in front of car, many more in cities, roaming and eating garbage. (And only saw 3 cats whole visit.) Many purebred- dunno if of all those roamers several are purebred paid for or if they get purebred strays way more than we do.

12- One of our guides working and living in city heads 20 min away to old family farm (shared with one brother still also in area) to grow the potatos and corn for his family.

Don't know what else is of interest- ask and I will answer if able from what I saw/ was told by guides.
 
Amedean Messan
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Posts: 928
Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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I would like to plan a trip to Peru and acquire potato samples - bringing to the states would be a tricky matter.  Did you get any experience with any potato varieties that had any qualities which you do not find normally?
 
                          
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Didn't appreciate the specific qualities. Ate some thAT tasted fine and saw a lot of wierd colors and sizes/shapes but uncertain other qualities. They showed us oca and called it a potato. Was tempted to smuggle that in but didn't relish a possible fine or prison time? Next exotic country I'll investigate import of plant material requiremetns in advance just in case
 
Amedean Messan
pollinator
Posts: 928
Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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It may be worthy to consider in the future a group permies travel to a foreign country in a focused and regulated effort to locate and export worthy plants.  I do not see any reason that we cannot import foreign food products considering we import this stuff all the time.  Peru is an interesting agricultural country (especially for potatoes) with many species that are adaptable to U.S climates.  South America in general has many agricultural hidden treasures waiting to be found.  There is actually a profession where food explorers travel the world in search of strong genetic stock.  I envision myself doing this for some time and I would probably seriously seek company (or join) from this site for mutual benefit in our agricultural exploits.
 
Kirk Hutchison
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Amedean, that sounds like a good idea.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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