I am currently trying to wade through a dry but also interesting book about the connection between soil fertility and animal health. The book titled, not surprisingly, Soil Fertility and Animal Health, was written in 1958 by Dr. William A. Albrecht and recommended by Steve Solomon as one of the most important books ever written about agriculture. I’ll try and sum up what I’ve read so far. If I’m wrong please correct me.
Albrecht keeps repeating the phrase, “all flesh is grass”, a term he got from an anonymous “christian scholar” who had a theory that “the soil, by growing the crops, can serve in creating animals and man”. Soil, it seems is a primary basis of life and the soil most suited for growing food that feeds animals lies in a thin band right through the middle the U.S. along the 98th meridian of longitude.
This is due to a variety of reasons but mainly climate. The big factor he mentions is rainfall. Too much rain will leach minerals out of the soil, the case in the East where I live, and too little rain will not enable rocks to break down and make soil, the case in the West (excluding the coast). But this band in the middle seems to have just the right climate to produce excellent soil conditions for growing nutritious grass that produces healthy livestock. It’s also the best soil for growing grains, corn and most likely vegetables?
If interested in downloading a pdf version of this book go to the soil and health library and (after reading and agreeing with the library rules) click “Take me to the library”. The book will be third down on the list.
To see a map of the 98th meridian click here and scroll down.
Information about soil fertility and a good map of global soil fertility from Wikipedia.
Click here for a video by Steve Solomon talking about compost and soil fertility.