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Feeding Livestock Wastes
Animal parts and wastes ought to go back to the soil that produced them.
The root cause is removing animals from farms and putting them into
"factories" where their feed is a cash expense, and the manure is a
disposal problem. At the other end, grain farmers are paying cash for
petroleum-based fertilizer and selling grain for cash. In a time of low
grain prices, they could feed more to their animals, diversifying their
sales. Their fertilizer bill would be reduced by their on-farm source of
Animals and people would be subject to less disease pressure if animals
were spread out over more farms. Ruminants can graze land too stony or
steep to plow, keeping it in soil-holding grass, instead of standing in a
feedlot gorging on corn that we paid for in soil washed down the rivers
from continuous corn production. Rotating grain production on tillable
land with legume and grass sod crops keeps organic matter levels high and
weed pressure and soil erosion down.
One of the things we have forgotten during our addiction to
petrofertilizers this century is the beauty of grass and grassland
agriculture as a means for keeping land productive year after year.
Finishing more livestock on the farms that produce their feed would go a
long way to reducing the problems associated with feeding livestock
Howell Living History Farm