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.