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How much land does it take to feed a person for a year?

Discussion in 'Everything Else Frugality' started by fancie217, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. Feb 10, 2009
    fancie217

    fancie217 Enjoys Recycling

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    :frow Need to figure out How much land goes into feeding each person every year?

    "hobby Farmers" typically use more land per animal than factory farmers, How much more land would we need to use if animals were raised more humanely?

    Any random Facts, links, etc. to help me figure this out will be helpful... I'll be doing my own research too.

    How much corn does a chicken eat in a year? A cow? Anything is helpfull.

    Thanks,
    You guys are all ways really helpfull.
  2. Feb 10, 2009
    me&thegals

    me&thegals A Major Squash & Pumpkin Lover

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    One family living in the city gets a pile of food and other food products off a very small plot of land. Their story can be found on urbanhomestead.org. By using vertical space as well as horizontal, intensively farming and carefully pasturing, an amazing amount of food can come off relatively small plots of ground. Joel Salatin and his books are another place to look. The amount of meat, eggs and vegetables he gets off 100 acres is staggering.
  3. Feb 10, 2009
    FarmerChick

    FarmerChick Super Self-Sufficient

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    I am a farmer and use the land to good use and DO HUMANELY raise my animals. Hmmm...most animals are truly raised humanely for their purpose.

    If you want to feed millions who can't feed themselves, "something" like an animal might "be raised" less than nature intended situations.

    Small land is needed for basics. A cow can stand in a corral and be fed...simple as that. No pasture needed if you can supply good hay and small feed.

    Chickens very little space needed...feed supplied.

    Square foot intensive gardening can feed alot of people if you do it correctly and give it the time....it can feed a whole family easily if you freeze and preserve.

    Not much space is need, but zoning is needed to allow that cow..LOL
  4. Feb 10, 2009
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    I agree with the advice about reading Joel Salatin, as he goes into depth about diversifying your livestock so as to raise several species on the same pasture/land. He also has some great ideas about how to keep that divesification running smoothly.

    If you are wanting to support yourself off your land as much as possible, without buying outside sources of food, grain, hay, etc., I would say traditional farming/feed-lot type agriculture is not the way to go. Factory farmers, if they grow their own grain, will use more land per animal than do folks who rotate pasture and stack species. The grain has to be grown somewhere and that land is not being used to run livestock.

    For instance, one can run sheep, cattle, and poultry on the same pasture at the same time, as these species eat different grasses. By allowing grass to rest and regrow between rotations, you get over twice as many "cow days" off the same pasture as someone who doesn't use this method. Mr. Salatin breaks it down and even tells how to graze certain landscapes, how to move livestock to benefit the grass growth, etc.

    Good luck and try to post what you find on here so we can learn also? :)
  5. Feb 10, 2009
    patandchickens

    patandchickens Crazy Cat Lady

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    I'm really sorry but I don't think it can be reduced to such simplistic level. For instance, how many chickens a person eats each year is totally discretionary (depends both on how much of what *else* they're eating, and on whether they're sticking to just the amount of protein required or are eating extra just cuz they like the taste)... and for each chicken they eat (or eat the eggs from), the amount of corn it's fed is a huge variable too, because although you may get higher-production and more consistant results from commercial feeds (which vary in corn content somewhat), a chicken does not HAVE to eat corn, it does not HAVE to eat commercial feed at all, it can forage for some of its food and eat not-edible-by-humans plants and leftovers. And of course it's up to you how productive you want that chicken to be, as well.

    And so forth and so on.

    You can make up all sorts of numbers if you want but they will just be 1 single scenario, you know? Whereas there are a bajillion different ways to skin a cat or feed a person.

    Sorry,

    Pat
  6. Feb 11, 2009
    enjoy the ride

    enjoy the ride Sufficient Life

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    The amount a person can produce on land is effected by climate, fertility of land, sun and water available, slope of land, air pollution, etc etc etc,
    I lived on a little more than 1/4 acre and was able to produce more than I can where I live now. It was possible to grow year round pretty much and I had lots of sun and water. I only live 6 miles away now, it's 1500 feet higher in the hills, limited water and limited sun and very poor soil. I'm working to imrprove it and learning to adapt but my place, while larger will never be as productive as a little land down the hill.
    Some land will support animals OK but not a vegetable garden. Some places have a 3 month growing season. Some places are so marginal that it takes miles to have a productive ranch- there are totally productiove dairy garns on 80 acres in other places here.

    There are places that you ask how many acres to the cow and others you ask how many cows to the acre.

    Also food intake is effected by climate- an animal in the cold needs more than one who is warm.
  7. Feb 11, 2009
    me&thegals

    me&thegals A Major Squash & Pumpkin Lover

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    So, what we're all saying is that while it is hard to put a cut-and-dried number to it, there are always ways of decreasing the amount of land needed:

    intensive farming
    grazing
    going flat (espaliering fruit)
    or vertical (climbing beans on the corn, etc.)
    reducing consumption of land hogs (animals)
    getting bees
    using season extenders
    foraging
    and so on... :)

    It would be really cool to at least have an average, though, say for a twice weekly meat-eating family of 4.
  8. Feb 11, 2009
    lupinfarm

    lupinfarm Almost Self-Reliant

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    Mm... growing season is a big thing..

    We could grow all or most of our food for the year, but we have to start our seeds early because of the maturity and harvest length for some plants is too long for our growing season. That's why I have brussels in the mini greenhouse right now, because they take forever to grow.

    Which reminds me... I should start on the bigger greenhouse...

    Also, our chickens can't forage or freerange in the winter so feed costs do go up, but I have them on crumbles and some hay and occasionally some fat from a meal we had (left to set, they love pecking at it) etc.

    In the summer between all of them one 25kg bag of feed lasts 1.5 months, now I'm feeding 2 25kg bags a month.
  9. Feb 11, 2009
    ams3651

    ams3651 Lovin' The Homestead

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  10. Feb 11, 2009
    DrakeMaiden

    DrakeMaiden Sourdough Slave

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    I've read that if you are vegan you can grow all the food you need for a year on 2 1/2 acres. If you include animals the land estimate goes up from there. All land is not created equal, so I would have to agree with Enjoy the ride (ETR) that your mileage will vary. Keep in mind that your efficiency will be higher on a smaller piece of land.

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