Farming principles

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Farm organizing principles are labels that can be applied to a farm. Each farm, in order to develop its own character and attributes must decide which farm organizing principles it will adopt, which priority to assign each principle and which principles to reject.

Principles flow from ethics, which in turn come from worldview. From principles come strategies and techniques

List of conventional farming principles

List of alternative farming principles


  1. Herbivores:
    1. Observing herbivore/grassland patterns:
      1. The natural grazing pattern observed in wild ecosystems
        1. . bunching - a response to predators
        2. . high grazing pressure (eating everything - even less preferred forage) - a result of bunching
        3. . regular access to water: effects on animal movements
          1. . need to drink regularly is balanced by the high danger of predators at watering sites
          2. . need to access fresh pastures pushes grazing far away from watering sites in all directions
          3. . in brittle biomes, seasonality of water availability at many sites:
          4. drives animals away seasonally ensuring longer recovery in more brittle areas.
          5. . even tighter bunching for sleeping at night
    1. . Effects of mob grazing on pasture plant and microbes
      1. . aeration caused by hooves
      2. . seed planting caused by hooves
      3. . manuring
      4. . trampling of plants - matting of organic matter on soil surface
      5. . root sloughing causing rhizosphere fertility and microbial stimulation
      6. . triggering of rapid vegetative growth phase following graizing
      7. . dispersal of microbial colonies through manure
      8. . parasite dispersal through manure
    1. Recovery phase
      1. . invigorated microbial communities work on manure and downed plant material
      2. . soil creation
      3. newly opened pasture canopy triggers new race for plants to establish themselves - leveled playing field
      4. . parasites complete lifecycle and then begin to die as they wait for new hosts
      5. . attraction of bird and small rodents to manure and fly larvae etc… accumulation of yet more fertility
    1. Human systems: pros and cons
      1. Wild Herd Management
      2. Nomadic Pastoralism
      3. “Ranching”
      4. Livestock Farming
    1. Unique attributes of domestic grazing species:
      1. Cattle
        1. dairy
        2. draft oxen
        3. yaks
        4. major races
      2. Sheep
      3. Goats
      4. Ducks
      5. Geese
      6. Rabbits
      7. Guinea pigs
      8. Camels
      9. Reindeer
      10. Water Buffalo
      11. Equines
  1. Omnivores: Pigs, Chickens, turkeys
    1. dealing with agriculture and food waste productively
    2. Pigs as tillers & pigs as sealers
    3. Chickens as composters and pest managers
    4. Grazing pigs and chickens: foraging
  1. Insects and Aquaculture:
    1. fish, & shrimp, insects:
    2. bees, meal worms, soldier flies, silkworm
  1. Practical issues
    1. Husbandry basics for westerners
      1. Not a cog nor a pet nor a human
      2. reproduction
      3. culling and butchering
    2. Moving Animals
      1. driving vs leading vs guiding animal movement patterns
    3. Fencing: Appropriate technology
      1. Living fences
      2. Constructed fences
      3. Electric Fencing