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Staal Burgher

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since Apr 16, 2018
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Recent posts by Staal Burgher

Thanks for the replies!

Bobby Reynolds wrote:
My memory is a little fuzzy but I believe Masanobu Fukuoka estimated that one person can easily keep 1/4 acre continuously cropped with reasonable effort. I might not be remembering that correctly, however. I thought he put forward the idea that all the arable land in Japan could be portioned out such that every family (of approximately four people; the entire population of Japan at the time) would have one to 1.5 acre(s) to produce everything they need.

Yes, I have seen that part. It was pretty vague though. It was something about "5 people working less than an hour a day can feed themselves for a year" or something to that effect. So if we round that up it is 5 hours per day per 1/4 acre per year for 2 harvests. Is that 250 days or 365 days?  365 x 5 = 1,850? Which is about what modern statistics will base per-worker-yields on, i.e. 8 hours per day for 250 days a year = 2,000 hours.

I am struggling to make sense of the yields. 1,300 pounds rice and 1,300 pounds wheat I read from 1/4 acre! I don't know if it is possible to do this but I did a rough calc assuming 2 wheat harvests of 2,000 pounds from that 1/4 acre.

1 acre (pounds) = 8,000 (2,000 x 4)
1 hectare (pounds) = 19,768 (8,000 x 2.47105)
1 hectare (kilograms) = 8,986 (19,768 / 2.2)

My understanding is that modern, mechanised farming yields about 3,000 kg per hectare. 3,000 vs 8,986 just doesn't seem reasonable? Or is the 3,000 kg per hectare just for one harvest? Even 6,000 vs 8,986 seems suspect.

Am I missing something?

Travis Johnson wrote:Forgive me for any spelling or typos, that was a lot of typing)

Practically none and that is a feat considering the amount of text!

My working theory is definitely that the plough came into use because it required less knowledge and was "easily" applied anywhere. The benefits of non-ploughing could not be seen unless someone spent years trying to experiment and I guess people were to busy trying not to starve. It was only in places where ploughing was less practical that non-plough methods were developed historically. The benefits regarding soil erosion etc was completely coincidental and had little to do with indigenous knowledge.
1 year ago
Not sure which sub-forum is the most appropriate for these questions so feel free to move me to where-ever is best!

I am not a farmer at all. My interest is in history and I have ended up here trying to understand why permaculture/natural farming/no-tillage as a historical farming technique did not survive contact with the plough. I realise some parts of the world never used the plough but I would like to focus on those that did. I also realise different crop types have different requirements but if I have to give a choice we can go with wheat.

If natural farming/permaculture is possible with equivalent modern yields without any machinery, diesel or other modern day technology it means it should've been possible 1,000s of years ago.

1) If natural farming produces more and requires less physical labour compared to non-mechanised ploughing, why did the plough come into vogue in the first place? What was the evolutionary advantage that the plough had over natural farming that allowed it to be widely adopted despite lower efficiency/output? I have a working theory but would like to see what other opinions/fact are out there.

2) How many acres/hectares can 1 person (without any hired help) work in 365 days? I.e. you are trying to apply your techniques 1,000 years ago.

3) Am I right in understanding that applying these natural techniques there is no need to leave any land fallow?

1 year ago