I’ve often wondered on this blog when all those smart farmers out there were going to start talking. Well, here’s Blake Hurst, an absolute must read.
Mr Hurst has a distinguished career in farming and related industries, and besides has published in venues such as the Wilson Quarterly and the Wall Street Journal. And if you shudder at the idea of that the American Enterprise Institute published this, well with the likes of Michael Pollan sewing up the NY Times and no serious farming journalism out there . . . Just give this a go. It’s well written, smart, and to the point. I loved every line.
To get you started.
[Michael Pollan´s] other grand idea is mandatory household composting, with the compost delivered to farmers free of charge. Why not? Compost is a valuable soil amendment, and if somebody else is paying to deliver it to my farm, then bring it on. But it will not do much to solve the nitrogen problem. Household compost has somewhere between 1 and 5 percent nitrogen, and not all that nitrogen is available to crops the first year. Presently, we are applying about 150 pounds of nitrogen per acre to corn, and crediting about 40 pounds per acre from the preceding years soybean crop. Let’s assume a 5 percent nitrogen rate, or about 100 pounds of nitrogen per ton of compost. That would require 3,000 pounds of compost per acre. Or about 150,000 tons for the corn raised in our county. The average truck carries about 20 tons. Picture 7,500 trucks traveling from New York City to our small county here in the Midwest, delivering compost. Five million truckloads to fertilize the country’s corn crop. Now, that would be a carbon footprint!
Read more here.