An Introduction To Grasslands Farming
From the pages of Farming For Security comes a short introduction to the benefits of grassland farming. Farming For Security was written in 1943, during one of the darkest and hardest times in American history: World War II. It focuses on how to make a sustainable lifestyle and future in agriculture, with an emphasis on rebuilding the country and the world with hope and hard work. This is truly an amazing book, so be sure to check out the links below to see more from it’s pages.
“Often the buyer of a farm will acquire a few acres of land that he does not need for a garden, a poultry establishment or other small-area uses. In other cases a good deal of land is included in the farm. Whatever the reason, the question is posed as to the use of that land. The following discussion is intended to assist in meeting this problem in the simplest method possible. Although the term “grassland farming” may seem to imply large-scale operations, this is not necessarily the case, since the owner of a small tract of sod land is just as anxious to utilize it properly as is the extensive livestock grower or rancher. Grassland farming is adapted to any size of farm and to all types of animal husbandry.
Grassland farming is the production of grasses and clovers of various types as a crop. There are two fundamental purposes in grassland farming: to hold and improve the soil and to make the operation pay dividends in the form of livestock. It is certainly the most economical type of agriculture. It consists simply of good soil preparation, the sowing of adapted seeds and harvesting. The harvesting process can be done by grazing or by mowing the standing hay and garnering it for one’s own animals or for sale. Thus the investment in machinery and equipment is kept at a minimum. Labor requirements are likewise very small. In these times a farm-labor shortage and demand for meat animals, grassland farming is ideally fitted to the new farmer. It keeps down his cost of labor, of overhead in machinery, requires little skilled labor, preserves and builds up the fertility of the soil and adds a sward of green lights and shadows to the landscape.
Contrast this method of farming with the production of cultivated crops on extensive areas of one’s farm. With these crops one has the problems of annual plowing, soil preparation, planting, cultivation and harvesting, all of which require heavy investments in specialized machinery, unusual skill, the facing of seasonal hazards of moisture and frost, and the uncertainties that go with marketing and specialized cropping practices. Furthermore, it has been amply demonstrated that land in grass will improve with each year of use. This can hardly be said of the practice of growing cultivated crops in successive seasons.
Grassland farming is particularly well adapted to a majority of farms acquired by those entering the vocation for the first time. Most farms that are for sale are characterized by worn lands in a minor or major degree. There is no better tonic for such worn lands and in fact no substitute that is more valuable, than seeding these lands to grass. Many such farms have been subject to erosion of the gully or sheet movement type. Once these lands are seeded to grass, erosion problems are forgotten and the restoration process begins.
Many people have the impression that grassland farming is “dead” farming. They think there is no income to be derived from it and hence it is looked upon as a necessary but unproductive part of a crop rotation system. This is too limited a viewpoint.”