Sustainable agriculture: A case study of a small Lopez Island farm
Overreliance on fossil fuel based inputs, and transport of inputs and products is seen by many as a threat to long-term agricultural and food system sustainability. Many organic, biodynamic, and low-input farmers limit off-farm inputs, attempting instead to farm within the carrying capacity of their land or local environment. These farmers often accept lower farm productivity because they see reduced reliance on non-renewable inputs as more sustainable. Documentation of low-input agricultural systems through both replicated research trials and case studies is needed in order to better understand perceived and real advantages and tradeoffs. The goal of our study was twofold: (1) to compare liming and biodynamic (BD) preparations in improving pasture on a moderately acidic pasture soil through stimulation of soil microbial activity; (2) to place these findings within the context of a whole farm analysis of economic, plant, and animal health. Treatments included lime, the Pfeiffer Field Spray plus BD compost preparations, and untreated controls. Soil pH, total C and N, microbial activity, forage biomass, and forage quality were evaluated over two growing seasons. Both lime and the Pfeiffer Field Spray and BD preparations were only moderately effective in raising soil pH, with no effect on soil microbial activity or forage yield. Lime significantly reduced forage crude protein but the practical implications of this are questionable given the overall low quality of the forage. While the farm is profitable and economically stable and the animals healthy, the need for future targeted nutrient inputs cannot be ruled out for sustainable long-term production.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:104:y:2011:i:7:p:572-579. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.