Ahh, the old "meat is wasteful" argument.
The utilization of animals and meat is what has allowed--and continues to allow--our capability to produce in areas w/out the possibility for crop production--such as arid, steep and limited soil habitats. Meat animals are adept at taking a non-resource (herbaceous and scrub growth) and turning it into a food resource (meat, milk, eggs). Without the utilization of animals much less of the earth's surface would be capable of human food production. A fact not truly appreciated until you spend substantial time in these areas of the world. Note: this is not a defense of our current production systems, only a statement as to why meat has been, and will be, an integral tool in our food production systems. Not to mention the manure, which is a much better resource for increasing soil fertility and tilth than cover crops alone. Much better to feed the cover crops to animals that drop the manure as they feed, than to use cover crops alone.
I currently have a suburban backyard (the farm property is ~2hrs away in PA). We produce all our own tomatoes and eggs and that's about it. Get a little of everything else during the summer season (to include grapes, blueberries and a few apples). Often don't have the time to can all the tomatoes so we just throw them in the chest freezers and take out when needed--warm, remove skin, and cook. We have one chest freezer just for tomatoes. We still buy eggs in the winter because we don't use artificial light. They would probably support the wife and I but not w/ the physically active teenage kids.
The real problem w/ this ideal of gardens replacing lawns in Suburbia is that people are inherently lazy if they can be. Most can't even cut their own lawns anymore.
I agree that animals can be beneficial. When buffalo roamed the praries they fed countless humans and the praries were healthier for it. Goats "grazing" on the cliffs prduces meat where nothing else could sustain a human. That's not going to work for a large population.... I believe the amount of resource that it takes to raise beef could feed 7x the number of vegetarians. (You will no doubt recognize that most American grown beef comes from areas that could be tilled and planted if there were not farms in the way; and all their fields comes from land that could be used for human consumption. (Not to mention ethanol!)) I wonder if someone has more current numbers on that?
Now, I am not a vegetarian and don't plan to be. We found that by managing our pastures intensively we could double the stocking rate each year until we reached our limit; I think the pastures could still produce more, but they have clearly become more fertile. And, though I do agree that animal fertilizer is the best, the green manures are more efficient, acre for acre. Especially in terms of food energy the farm can produce. What made our pastures better was a little manure from the sheep and a lot of root action from the grass being grazed. I don't have % but there is not a lot of poop from those animals. We only run them on a couple acres of what could be good row crop land. Enough land to be an organic farm requiring 1 full time laborer and feeding 40-50 people (if we could bring in manure!) or 16 people if we had to produce our own fertility. We get about 600# of meat and we bring in all the chicken feed (for 400# meat) and all the hay (for 200# meat). So enough meat to feed about 1 person (carnivore) for the year with a lot of outside input in the space that could feed 16 with little outside input if we managed it intensively and replaced the barn with a green house....
all for the want of some good chemicals and a few planes to spray
mike syracuse ny
Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan
Yep. Nuc em! It worked in ww2! My goodness, when things are in balance pests are not an economic issue any more....
National emergencies are being declared in Somalia and Kenya. USAF Aerial Spray Unit is on stand by should DoS request DoD support. Last unit in the Air Force. Army and Navy still have some aerial spray equipment on the books but no longer have the capability. Collected sand flies in some of those areas in Kenya (and found previously unknown visceral leishmaniasis vectors). Big agricultural area.
First worked with the USAF folks during hurricane Katrina for filth fly control. Great folks really good at what they do. Team lead is now also president of the American Mosquito Control Association.
I, personally, am organic methods preferred, but there is a time and place for everything. The real issue is proper use, application, and timing.
You do need to take those numbers with a bit of a grain of salt though; 2017/2018 was a particularly cold/harsh winter, while 2018/2019 was a mild but very prolonged winter. My losses were zilch last winter (small operation though, so again, grains of salt), but I have a few friends who lost hives at a time in early spring when hives are usually beginning to grow.