Monday Message Board

Another Monday Message Board. Post comments on any topic. Civil discussion and no coarse language please. Side discussions and idees fixes to the sandpits, please. If you would like to receive my (hopefully) regular email news, please sign up using the following link You can also follow me on Twitter @JohnQuiggin, at my Facebook public page   and at my Economics in Two Lessons page

68 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. “Sepp Holzer: “I did most of my cattle breeding at the beginning of the 90s, when I kept a mixed herd of around 50 wild cattle in a 25-hectare paddock.”

    Thats a cattle BREEDING program. Thats not a soil reclamation program nor is it a cattle HERDING program. Its probably a Scottish highland breeding program where he just wants the animals to prune but not destroy all his valuable trees. Of course I’m speculating a bit since I don’t have that book right in front of me. But you get nowhere picking your guru and then quote-mining him tendentiously in a situation of almost total ignorance.

  2. Graeme, firstly I’m not claiming to be any kind of expert on agriculture or permaculture. And my interest is primarily in water consumption, not fertilisation, which can be achieved in a host of different ways that don’t involve running beef cattle. For instance:

    A farm atop a former factory in The Hague produces vegetables and fish in a self-sustaining loop: Fish waste fertilizes plants, which filter the water for the fish.

    The Netherlands has no beef industry btw outside of what comes from its dairy industry.

    I asked you the question: “How many beef cattle does he recommend per acre?” because you appealed to Holzer as an authority (he’s your guru, not mine), and I thought you may be able to clarify for me.

    Instead you replied: “your land will continue to improve even with too many animals”

    When it should be obvious Holzer doesn’t claim anything like this, and in fact very clearly says the opposite. Or, if he has said something to that effect, and I somehow misinterpreted him with my ‘quote mining’ feel free to link to it. The book is available to read on Google Books. I’m sure you can find what you’re looking for.

  3. Nick, don’t get involved with this Bird creation – his knowledge of farming is confined to wormholes.

  4. His first farm is not the only farm in the world, and he’s not the only authority in the world. His first farm is a highly rarified, in more than one sense of the word “rarified” affair. I listen to many experts and not just one. Your methodology is very poor epistemology and you could use it to make any case for anything if anyone took this method seriously.

    Now the reality is that I knew what I was talking about and you by your own admission do not.

    “A farm atop a former factory in The Hague produces vegetables and fish in a self-sustaining loop: Fish waste fertilizes plants, which filter the water for the fish.”

    Yes and thats the whole point. Animals are the best fertiliser for plants even as plants are, you guessed it, the best food for herbivores. The kingdoms of life, properly arranged, feeds each-other. (What was your point again?)

    On Sepps first farm the plant root exudates from the trees, and the water gathered by the trees feed the grasses and other plants on the terraces and they feed and fill the ponds also. Then the fish in the pond and dams fertilise that water, so that water naturally FERTIGATES (irrigates and fertilses) the soil lower down. Part of the reason he doesn’t need so many cattle is because he has four hectares of fish doing much of the fertilising. How many cubic metres of water that is, with fish living in it I cannot tell you. But the principle is clear. Both the plants and the animals help each-other. If they are properly arranged in your system.

    Would we like to have enough water in sub-Saharan Africa and South Australia to rely more on inland fish and trees doing the job, and rely a bit less on herbivores? Sure I’m open to that. But the grass needs to be pruned and stomped on before it browns up or its dead matter that has to oxidise slowly. So in the fragile lands its really only herbivore mammals that we have available to do this job. We cannot conjure that many ponds that many trees and that many inland fish in a big hurry should we want to swing further on the tree and pond spectrum and a little away from the pasture and herbivore mammal spectrum. We want both of course. But in most of these drier areas its just a little bit hard to conjure all these fish and all these ponds in a great big hurry.

    What was your point again? It pays to have a point? Next time treat the idea of having a point like that old American Express motto. Don’t leave home without one.

  5. Graeme, P A Yeomans tried this sort of farming, Keyline he called it. There were many farmers who took his advice, they constructed contour banks to slow down the rain etc.

    He also developed the deep till Plough which has had some limited success but you have to take into account the cost of the machine, and the fuel, to pull this things around.

    It all seemed like such a good idea at the time but it didn’t really work and farmers were left with the added cost of eventually having to remove these structures.

    You have to try these things and it all made sense on paper but given time not supported by the experience.

  6. P A Yeomans system was ONE METHODOLOGY within permaculture. He developed a plough which cut underneath the soil without moving the soil. The idea was to aerate the soil and then direct water around a bit better than it had been done before. He got this idea from watching Chinese miners or something. Now just because he called one of his books “Water for every farm” or something like that, doesn’t mean that me or anyone else who likes the permaculture concept is going to suggest that the Yeomans technique, which came before Bill Mollison discussed permaculture, was a technique for every farm.

    Rog I think you are getting confused here. You are getting confused between the title of a book, a single ploughing technique, and the entirety of the study of agriculture and permaculture. Sepp never used a Yeomans plough. I don’t think Salatin ever used a Yeoman’s plough. I think some people have used it in permaculture. But I couldn’t name them. You are talking about a fringe technique? I’ve talked about a lot of things but I’ve never brought up Yeoman style ploughing until you brought it up yourself just then. Because I don’t consider it integral to anything much at all.

  7. “He also developed the deep till Plough which has had some limited success but you have to take into account the cost of the machine, and the fuel, to pull this things around.”

    Yes and now you should be thinking about something wrong with the way our banking and tax system works. The banks will lend up to the gills to BUY a farm. But they’ll lend very little, and only at higher interest rates to IMPROVE that farm. I haven’t missed this point. Thats why I’m talking about zero interest loan programs.

    You consider how pathetic our money and banking is. We have all this machinery yet we never developed terraces like the Chinese, the Thai, the ancient Peruvians. This is market failure. And the market failure comes out of poor economic policy. Policy which fails to meet Henry George part-way. Which taxes the retained earnings of sole traders, and which relies on us being money-junkies. We have an economy that works like a needleman. Our private and public debts are so horrific we are always hanging out there like junkies for more monetary growth to justify the prior debt.

    Sepp inherited his first farm without debt. So he could take his time and get things right. But if you go to the bank and buy a farm, you will be in continual debt servitude. You are never going to be able to come up with all these developments unless you are exceptionally lucky and clever.

    I didn’t ignore any of those things rog. Think of the post where you decided that Visigoth was me? I wasn’t just ignoring the finance side of farming problems. For shame that you would have accused me of that. I know that most current farmers cannot aspire to these things or I would not have suggested that zero interest program. I’m not blaming them I’m just pointing the way to a better tomorrow. Once you borrow that money to buy land you are in a much worse ratrace even than your average pen-pusher in the city. The rat-race so-called is really all about debt and usury.

  8. Graeme, I think you should give this farming thing away – you wouldn’t know how to boil and egg let alone produce one – this rambling is not productive.

    Not all farmers are at deaths door, those that operate as a business ie they look at it as a time/space equation, are doing ok. Check out the sale prices of big properties, they are going for big dollars – these people know how to use finance to their own advantage. Check out prices for food in woolies or coles – despite this hard drought things haven’t moved that much.

    Check out food inflation as an ABS index and as a component of the CPI.

  9. No you are just being an idiot rog. I grew up on a farm. You don’t have any solid criticism to anything I’ve said so far.

  10. Look at how diffuse and tangential your arguments(?) are. It would be helpful if you put them in the form of an argument so we could all laugh at you.

    “Not all farmers are at deaths door…” Whats that an argument for rog?
    “Check out the sale prices of big properties, they are going for big dollars” What that an argument for rog? How does that contradict anything I’m saying?

    “Check out prices for food in woolies or coles – despite this hard drought things haven’t moved that much.” Whats that an argument for rog?

    “Check out food inflation as an ABS index and as a component of the CPI.”

    Whats that an argument for rog?

    You see you are just hazy in the logic department. The man that logic forgot. You cannot place these statements into a coherent logical argument against anything I’ve said. Its like you are suffering from advancing dementia.

  11. Yes but Graeme, SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE.

    I’ve given you, at no additional charge, some leads where you could back up your claims. You need to do some work on your thesis, and I mean real work not just trawling these obscure fantasist sites that seem to draw you.

    I leave it with you as my dinner is served. Get to it.

  12. You’ve given me NOTHING and you would see that if you related your bizarre tangential observations to a solid argument against anything I’ve said already. You might think in your hazy way that your observations stated, seemingly at random, will make a fine argument someday. Well put them in the form of an argument, and lets see if thats true.

    Show you the evidence FOR WHAT? See you aren’t even the least bit clear of anything in your own head. You don’t even know what you are arguing for or against. You haven’t so much as laid out where you have a disagreement with any specific thing that I’ve said. Everything is foggy for you. You don’t know what you are driving at. Its argument dementia. Brain mist. You were never all that bright in the first place.

  13. OK there was a response to the comment by Postkey on the site of Bill Mitchell that I reposted here.
    It summary the response was that the estimates made by the report that Postkey refered to was based upon obsolete technology and therefore the estimates of how much of what would be needed was over estimated. A second point was that of course recycling needs to be part of the solution.
    My response to the response to postkey is that even though technology improves the huge gap between what is available and what needs to be used is huge (OK by the obsolete standards) so these improvements in technology have to be really big not just incremental.
    As for the recyling part not only do I agree I want to make a specific suggestion that the recycling start with the worlds naval vessels. There are 20 tons of copper in just one US aircraft carrier according to a report that I heard a number of years ago on the radio. The UK just built 2 brand new 70,000 ton aircraft carriers. The world can not succeed if the societies of the world do not react fast enough.
    The world’s societies can not react fast enough if we have dumb shit leaders demanding that their countries turn 70,000 tons of valuable metals in to an aircraft carrier.
    That is why the we the sheep of planet earth deserve to Zaphron our commanders who inztead of servng as our shepards have served as our compressors.
    Furthermore there is a good sociological reason for delivery the Zaphron to those in charge. We reached a point that larger and larger numbers of people are comming to an understanding that humanity does not have much time left. If humantiy can see that those most reponsible for delaying humanity’s response to current actual crisis recieving the Zaphron the sheep will be calmed at least for a while longer. We, the sheep of humanity will all benifit from the Gift that those at the top, which toes at the top have comming to them, get.
    Thy will be calmed because they will think that those new leaders at the top take their assignment seriously, that they have a plan, and that they know where the hell thery are going. I will remain skeptical about any of those three things, and therefore watchful though.

  14. Here is an example of the wonder weapons are just are the corner strategy to keep people from turning against the 21st century nazis. I guess the 21st century nazis felf that they had to counter the arguements that I made above because so many people read them today and found them so persuasive that the 21st century nazis thougth that they needed a quick comeback to dierail that lines of thiniking that navies are a mortal martial sin, and those that promote them deserve Zaphron.

    Yes my comments provoked such a viral contraversy through out the United Kingdom that a title wave will be broadcast throughout all of the nations important channels at 4 am local time, or shortly there fater. hahahhahahahhahahaha.

  15. Talking about debt and budgets: Real debt and budgets.

    Today, 29 July 2019, the global society, as represented by 150 countries, has used up its yearly budget of real resource usage. As of tomorrow the global society is living on borrowed real resources, that is, resources which are not being regenerated naturally during the remaining time of 2019 (real resource debt accumulation).

    Source: Der Spiegel online, quoting international organisations that produce these estimates, taking into account CO2 emissions, usage of agricultural land, forests, water.

  16. Given the frighteningly hot summer in Europe, I think it is clear that we are fast approaching a series of unfortunate catastrophes. I wonder, did we ever have “civilizational agency”? Was there ever any chance we could have changed our ways? Given our trajectory it seems not. Just when it became very obviously necessary to change (at about the time of the first Kyoto protocol) we doubled down on consumption, production, waste and CO2 emissions. That looks like an endogenously, systemically controlled path devoid of response to exogenous feedback: a maladaptive system without macro agency relative to its environment.

    Lewis Mumford’s megamachine analogy seems entirely appropriate.

    “In The Myth of the Machine, Mumford insisted upon the reality of the megamachine: the convergence of science, economy, technics and political power as a unified community of interpretation rendering useless and eccentric life-enhancing values.” – Lewis Freid, Makers of the City.

  17. Iko, I think we need to get off this catastrophe bandwagon – it’s exactly the same meme employed by those militaristic types – it’s proven time and time again to be an abject failure.

    Individually we need to move away from the personal flight or fight syndrome; it’s unproductive, counterproductive and harmful.

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