Book

Polyface Micro: Success with Livestock on a Homestead Scale

By Joel Salatin

July, 2022

TRIBE+ BOOK REVIEW

POLYFACE MICRO: SUCCESS WITH LIVESTOCK ON A HOMESTEAD SCALE 

Forward by Justin Rhodes
-Abundant Permaculture–
Geoff Lawton

Steven Covey– Almost every library has these for free and you can also go online to your library and usually find them in free audio.

Lucas Nelson, “ Turn off the news and build a garden.”

Intro Notes:

Joel Salatin

Temple Grandin

Temple, “Animals live in the moment.”

They have 24/7/365 to fool around (horses jiggling latches open).

Animals love routine and despise new things.

Think like a pig. Think about their physical and emotional needs of animals.

As you begin your journey how are you set up to do this 24/7/365? Who will fill in? Vacation? Illness? Injury?

An unproductive animal is a parasite.

Matthew Sleeth

Upcycle Margins–
Sacred Cow

Site:

Certain animals thrive in hard environments, let them do the work.

Put and keep animals where you want them.

Securing animals

Culling animals that can’t and won’t learn.

Greg Judy

Don’t blame the animal, it’s doing what it naturally wants to do.

Joel’s three picks: Water, Sawmills/chainsaws, electric fence.

Stockmans Grass Farmer

Don’t buy someone else’s problem.

Feed:
Duckweed- Takota Coen

Fertrell

Morrisons Feed and Feeding Book

Chicken Tractor, Andy Lee-

Planning!!

“While our homesteads may not be considered a formal business, if we don’t bring some business acumen to them we’ll fail miserably.”

Adequate infrastructure first, then fallbacks

Function first, form second

Allan Nation– 

Mutual interdependence vs. cultish independence…

“In simple terms, that’s how local economies work. By definition, homesteads tend toward supplying all their requirements. We talk about the self-sufficient homestead with almost cultish reverence. Sometimes we can harm homestead success by frittering away hours on highly inefficient activities. These may prove we’re stubborn or persevering, but they might actually impede overall success to our homestead venture.”

Lean Farming (FYI, this will be the next book club book per Jill’s request)
The Lean Farm: How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work

The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables: More In-Depth Lean Techniques for Efficient Organic Production:

What is Lean farming?
Lean principles grew out of the Japanese automotive industry, but they are now being followed on progressive farms around the world. Using examples from his own family’s one-acre community-supported farm in Indiana, Hartman clearly instructs other small farmers in how to incorporate lean practices in each step of their production chain, from starting a farm and harvesting crops to training employees and selling goods.
Inside The Lean Farm you’ll discover how to apply lean practices like:
Every Tool In Its Place
Ten Types of Farm Waste
Establish Pull, Don’t Push
Limits of Lean
Lean for More Profit
and much more!

While the intended audience for this book is small-scale farmers who are part of the growing local food movement, Hartman’s prescriptions for high-value, low-cost production apply to farms and businesses of almost any size or scale that hope to harness the power of lean in their production processes.

I’m not suggesting this class but the free info here helps understand how flow on the farm and homestead will help with time, safety, and organization. It is addressed in the Lean Farm book. Joel talks about this in chapter 5 (movement maps).

We’ve all heard:
Go loaded, come loaded
Everything in its place, a place for everything
Spaghetti Diagram – Six Sigma Study Guide.
Example would be:
Garden shed and water in the garden, tools for the chickens in or near the pen etc…
Joel- “Chaos is expensive”
Hooks, totes, buckets, peg boards, tech (tote scan), work stations etc..
Joel suggests no more than 4 hours on chores because we need time to think, do maintenance, make progress, bulk feeders, electronet…
Polyface Designs: A Comprehensive Construction Guide for Scalable Farming Infrastructure Paperback – March 1, 2021

Tribe Organize Challenge this winter??

Eat the frog was discussed:
What Is Eat the Frog? A Dead Simple System for Productivity Minimalists

How to eat a frog step by step

Joel mentions Bill Mollison who is a permaculture designer and many consider him the father of permaculture. Some of his books are very expensive but you can find PDF’s to purchase.

Permaculture : A Designers’ Manual

Bill Mollison – Permaculture – “In Grave Danger of Falling Food” (Documentary 1989)

Permaculture Design Course ( called a PDC) OSU PDC Trailer
This permaculture series is short and to the point
Permaculture with Jack Spirko Part 1 – Introduction

Function stacking is part of permaculture. Many use this without knowing it. For example I needed a new water bath canner and so I purchased a stainless pot I can use to cook and to can with. That is function stacking. On the farm you collect rain water off the chicken coop, that is function stacking.

Portable Infrastructure, Joel uses this a lot. You can find lots of videos of his stuff but I think Justin Rhodes has great videos on it since videos are what he makes (joel is more of an author and speaker)
Tour Joel Salatin’s Ultimate Mobile Farm Structures

Value added spaces- Bakers talk about this all the time with the butcher shop. This will be decided by your farm direction and space.

PA Yeomans Keyline plow, keeping water from going fast…
P A Yeomans-Water Harvesting & Keyline (14 min) 1956
P A Yeomans-Building a Keyline Dam (25 min) 1960

Joel mentions Regraians (with all the reading and studying I’ve done I have not listened to his stuff so this is also on my own list). Lots of long videos online, which is cool.
Darren J. Doherty: The Regrarians Platform
I am selfishly placing this next one here so I remember to view it…LOL
Designing Trees to Fit the Landscape, with Darren Doherty of Regrarians

Joel talks about not having electricity in the barn since it is the cause of most fires. Using LED and head lamps etc… Interesting.

You want land with water or you have to create water systems. How much does each animal drink?
How Much Water Do My Animals Need Each Day

Permaculture Design for Water

PERMACULTURE PONDS: Why, Where & How

Joel at his farm on water systems:
His OFF GRID automatic WATER System produces food abundance | Joel Salatin

Rest and Sunshine seem to be the ticket. 21 days, 2 times a year!
An Agricultural Testament by Sir Albert Howard
A PDF for you of this book plus a searchable site.
An Agricultural Testament – Albert Howard – ToC
An Agricultural Testament – Albert Howard – ToC
Compost— We need the tribe to host a day class on this! Both back yard and scaled up!!

Gene Logsdon book on Composting Holy Shit

Rodale’s The Complete Book of Composting
The Rodale book of composting : Martin, Deborah L : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming :
Composting MI gardener. MSU also has a series.
Complete Guide to 6 Week Foolproof Compost in 6 Easy Steps

Joel’s Raken House (rabbits and chickens together)
Salatin’s “RAKEN” House | Rabbits & Chickens Together

What Is the Best Manure Compost for Gardens? | Almanac.com
Obviously the Grazing Class that Parker H. and Mark B. taught would be fantastic for this.

We talked about hot peppers, drought and the issues with water we are all having. Moving
rabbit cages and rabbits living inside. We also talked about a book someone was reading which
I will place a few links to here:
Sawdust is my Slave – Nature’s Path
Saving Farmland: The Fight for Real Food
Mycelium running : low mushrooms can help save the world / Paul Stamets.
Learning about Mushrooms to Heal the Garden Soil | VLOG
Mulch, Craig Schaaf

Small scale Biochar:

MSU Biochar: Biochar: An emerging soil amendment
Mark’s class at Tribe Day….

Wes Jackson: The Land Institute
Specifically Joel mentions perennial grains here..
Perennial Grain Crop Development | The Land Institute
Cry once at the prices, especially now.
Paul Guatschi’s Back to Eden Method using lots of composting wood chips:
Back to Eden Film
Ruth Stout’s methods and books:
Ruth Stout’s System for Gardening

Gardening without work -Ruth Stout

Ramial Chips – Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners

Wife Hated our Mineral Feeder, So We Built This

Polyface Farm Part 3 – Chickens & Egg Mobile
Gabe Brown, grazing forage
Grazing Cover Crops and Benefits for Livestock Operations – Gabe Brown

Chapter 11:  Converting Woods to Pasture

 

Silvopasture— Shade and food integrated with pasture… coppace stumps as well unless there are many.

Chapter 12 Management Intensive Grazing

Mark Baker – Pasture Grazing Consulting

Cow-Days per acre formula

Grazing Grasses

Fencing– Included in your Tribe + Membership

Joel Salatin – Talks Fences

 Living Fences

Chapter 15 Grazing Development

 

Shade cloth, mobile or trees.

 

Skids vs Wheels.  Depends on where you are and your land

 

Tarps

Used Billboards

Roofs

“Anything you can do to establish a routine is beneficial. If you’re moving animals across a field, make their cross fences open on the same side of the field everyday.”- book quote

 

Chapter 15 Irrigation

 

PA Yeoman, Australian Water Guru– linked earlier in the water chapter.

 

Ponds:

Swales:

Storing Water

Using Swales Appropriately

K-line water systems as spoke of in the book

Water math

 

Chapter 16: laying hens:
“As a bird begins to lay, she begins robbing her body’s pigment to put in the egg yolk. This pigment comes out of her body in the following order: vent, eye ring, ear lobe, feet, and shanks. When shoe goes OUT of production, it comes back in the same order. So if a bird is bleached around her vent and eye ring, but has yellow pigment on her ear lobe, beak, feet and shanks, you know she’s coming into production

Other Reads

Coming Soon: The Lean Farm: How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work

A practical, systems-based approach for a more sustainable farming operation.

To many people today, using the words “factory” and “farm” in the same sentence is nothing short of sacrilege. In many cases, though, the same sound business practices apply whether you are producing cars or carrots. Author Ben Hartman and other young farmers are increasingly finding that incorporating the best new ideas from business into their farming can drastically cut their wastes and increase their profits, making their farms more environmentally and economically sustainable.

By explaining the lean system for identifying and eliminating waste and introducing efficiency in every aspect of the farm operation, The Lean Farm makes the case that small-scale farming can be an attractive career option for young people who are interested in growing food for their community. Working smarter, not harder, also prevents the kind of burnout that start-up farmers often encounter in the face of long, hard, backbreaking labor. Lean principles grew out of the Japanese automotive industry, but they are now being followed by progressive farms around the world.

Using examples from his own family’s one-acre community-supported farm in Indiana, Hartman clearly instructs other small farmers in how to incorporate lean practices in each step of their production chain, from starting a farm and harvesting crops to training employees and selling goods. While the intended audience for this book is small-scale farmers who are part of the growing local food movement, Hartman’s prescriptions for high-value, low-cost production apply to farms and businesses of almost any size or scale that hope to harness the power of lean in their production processes.

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