Saturday, July 14, 2012

Corn, Mono Cropping and Drought

First corn as a feed:

We raise Cornish X Rock meat chickens every year. Normally we feed them a meatbird ration made up primarily of corn and soy. This spring we (us and another couple people that use the feedmill) decided we wanted GO free chicken. Joe the feed guy made up a new ration with oats, barley, alfalfa, fish meal and lysine. This was because none GMO corn (even before the drought) was sky high. We are going to put a little organic soy meal in the next batch instead of lysine as they don't really like the taste of lysine. 

Wow!  The meatbirds this year are not the normal fat, sluggish, out of breath chickens that they normally are. Normally they walk three feet and are exhausted. They normally eat sitting down as it is too much work to eat standing up. THIS year they  are active and run around and are in my little sisters term, "Normal chickens!" I really can't believe how active they are compared to other years meat chickens. Paul the other guy raising them on the same feed also can't. (The meat chickens also aren't smelly like they normally are.)

Now, this could be because it is a GMO free ration, could be the corn in and of it's self or it could be the soy. (I'll find out if it is the soy soon.) My speculation is it's the corn and or the GMO which is now the same thing being then organic corn is not an option. One organic farmer near us is feeding there cow only small grains and their cows are beautiful clean and not smelly. They do also graze. 

Mono Cropping:

What did most people in Ireland grow? Potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes. What do most cash croppers  and farmers grow? Corn, corn, corn and a few soy beans and hay. A few guys in our area grow winter wheat and other small grains. The winter wheat this year is coming off beautifully! There is lots of tick golden straw (used both as a beef/ dry cow feed filler) and good amounts of grain. This year the corn and soy beans are looking ok right now, but if we don't get enough rain soon they will fail. Southern WI, IN , and IL's corn has gone to pot. People both food (grain) and feed (meat and milk) rely heavily on corn. If/when the corn fails there could be a huge problem? People are cutting back, and selling out completely on sheep and beef. Next year and the year after there won't be as many calves or lambs born for beef and lamb. We (the US) are already lower on beef then we had been and the rest of the beef consumed is made up of dairy cows getting slaughtered. At some point, I would assume, there will be a beef shortage.


This is a map of the drought: if you click on a region it pops up and then you can click and individual state.

I didn't realize how bad this drought is. I did now it was the midwest and parts of the west, but it is basically EVERYWHERE! We don't know what is in store for us yet, we may get lots of nice rains in Aug. producing a nice third cutting of hay, but we also may not. 


  1. VERY interesting, Laura! I've been eliminating almost everything from our diet that contains corn and soy unless labeled organic in order to steer away from GE foods. I've also been losing about a pound a month without trying. Could be the hot flashes, though.... Regardless, I'm sharing this blog post with Deborah at

  2. Pig farmers are also being hurt by this because of the increase in feed prices. All livestock owners are feeling the hurt and the consumers are clueless. Meat prices in general are going to skyrocket.

    1. Yeah, prices will go up, but I wonder if for meat it will lag by a year or so as everyone is dumping animals and also there are still overfed lambs from last year to be slaughtered.

      Around here several people got out of the farrowing business about 5-10 years ago. One had a super nice, clean as can be operation, but he was loosing money on them as feeders were only $10-14 ea. at the sale yard.

      Aren't you glad you don't have to worry about buying meat! I know we are we like eating meat from healthy animals that aren't fed junk (old cookies, chewing gum, recycled chicken manure, bread etc.)

  3. We've got very low hay production this year, and as usual most will go to the horses in the valley. The productive animals (sheep, goats, cattle) are going to be sold off. I've got pretty much everything for sale, but won't sell through the sale barns... Can't take that hit. But if I can find some winter pasture, be it desert range (which I think these sheep and the Nubians will flourish on) or hay/wheat fields in the valley where the snowpack is rarely more than a few inches (compared to feet here) I think we might make it through. I'm not going to breed until December, unless we AI when Martin and Joy come through on their way back East. I think I can stretch feed better, and I won't have the problems with ewes that are pulled down so badly

  4. And can mitigate some of the parasite issues. We'll see. If the Lord says to sell them, I will... But it seems like he's saying to hold on for now. I don't know...

    Some folks are projecting a vicious winter, which would make sense on a drought year. It may be a mixed blessing...

    It may weed out the Continental cattle breeds and club lamb stock... Hopefully a bunch of horses. We need to promote horse meat for human consumption I think.

    1. Yeah, there are lots of horse people around here driving up the price of hay as well as alpaca, and llamas. There are so many acres taken out of production for non-food animals and golf courses in WI as well as a the subdivisions with 3-5 acres lots...They just rezone farm land like crazy around here.

  5. And get back to the Hereford, Angus, Baldie, Galloway and Devon stock that produce (edible) beef efficiently and economically on grass and range... Maybe it'll give us the edge we need to see the Beef Mobsters shut down too, and close their feedlots and mega slaughter facilities. I may be quite radical in that view, but our cattlemen are playing with fire by doing business with these guys. Almost all of our herds are bred for the sole focus of producing larger weaning weights... Black hided, polled and inedible unless ground for McDonald's. But they've gone to the corporate false markets and global trading that is not sustainable... So if it collapses and a few edgy,young producers with new ideas, local (not global) views and values that are Christ-centered, instead of Humanist, I think it may be a good thing. Things may get super tough, but The Lord sustains His people, and if He loves and cares for the sparrows, He certainly does the same for us.

    The System will crumble at some point... I think times will have to be quite difficult for the world to fall for the false hopes and promises of the coming False-Messiah. I think we need to do like Alsan told Jill Pole in the Silver Chair, and be reminding ourselves of His plan every morning and every night, or we'll fall for the musical lies and blurred confusion from the father of lies. Keep fed by the Word, and watered by the Spirit, and we won't have to drink the Koolaid, no matter how hard things get.

    1. What are most of the beef breeds out by you? Around here there are a lot of dairy steers, Hereford and Angus as well as some crosses.

      Thanks for the encouragement! We, Christians are so short sighted and so ready to grumble and complain. We need to place all of our trust in the Lord.