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Old 12-23-2011, 07:39 AM
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,737,353 times
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Using horses or oxen (or llamas, or dogs or goats) for farming would work quite well and be economical if you had a very small farm, like a self-sufficient homestead less than 100 acres, that was primarily cultivated for your own food and resource supply instead of for market. Tractors, maintenance and fuel can be prohibitively expensive for such a small acreage; especially if you live somewhere that fuel and parts aren't easy to obtain so are marked up or cost extra in shipping & handling. Even an ATV/snowmachine with all the necessary attachments might not be as cost effective as an animal if you can grow most of the animal's feed on your land without much additional effort or expense. You can also get an animal into some terrain where mechanical vehicles aren't exactly viable, thus saving you time and effort building a road/trail and maximizing your natural resources. Plus the animal provides manure to fertilize food production, and can be eaten when it stops working with inedible parts added to the compost or used for other things (like leather, etc).

But, once you get larger than a certain size or if you can't easily grow the majority of feed and safely use manures onsite, I agree that animal-power probably isn't going to be cost effective for farming.
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:07 AM
Location: North Cackelacky....in the hills.
19,556 posts, read 19,544,697 times
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Modern factory farming cannot exist without massive amounts of fertiliser,fuel and irrigation.

All of which are either getting more expensive or harder to get.

The American farming technique works great if you have access to cheap fuel,fertiliser and water,otherwise it is going to fail.

Ohhh,and genetically modified products.
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