Taking research with a grain of salt

Allen Williams

All of it is anecdotal

By Allen Williams

The British statistician George E. P. Box stated that “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

This has become an oft-quoted statement in scientific circles. Box was referring to the fact that in science there is a growing trend to develop theoretical models with the purpose of predicting some type of behavior or outcome based on data assumptions used in the model.

While no model can predict the exact outcome of any singular event, models can be useful if the assumptions are good and the output is close enough.

Having been a scientist and a farmer for more than 30 years now, I often hear people talk about “anecdotal” research or data. Their point is that if the research was not peer-reviewed and published, it has no value. This is particularly insinuated with observational data.

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Ten tips for summer grazing success

Pasture grasses and legumes

Planning, observation and keeping soil cool are among the priorities

By Allen Williams

By the time you read this we will be fully into summer 2020, and full bore into the grazing season. Many of us had a cool spring season, but who knows what’s to come?

Here are my “Top 10 Tips” for grazing success, no matter what the weather throws at us. The first two offer advice for spring planning and grazing, so save those for next year’s planning.

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Telling the real story about fake meats

This stuff has lots of holes in its logic, but also lots of money backing it


By Allen Williams
Consumers are being bombarded with ads for various forms of what are being boosted as “clean proteins”, but what I call “fake meat”.

It’s pretty much impossible not to see, hear or read about fake meats. There is much publicity about these plant-based proteins and their supposed benefits for human health and animal welfare, the environment and climate change.

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Regenerating soils by grazing cattle and pigs

By John Arbuckle
Grazing multiple species provides many benefits, not the least of which is enterprise stacking that allows each acre to create more than one saleable product in the same growing season.

Our topic here is how to make multi-species grazing regenerative in the biological sense. We custom graze replacement heifers in front of our pigs, with 37 heifers and slightly more than 100 finisher pigs moving in a leader-follow pattern.

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The fallacy of ‘feeding the world’

Allen Williams

Most grain isn’t going to people

by Allen Williams
When you ask American farmers what they are doing on their farms, they will often tell you they are “feeding the world”.

This is stated with considerable pride. We feel we are doing the world a huge favor through the sacrifices we make as farmers. We are continuously told that by some not-too-distant date there will be 10 billion mouths to feed, so we have to ramp up production even more. Continue reading “The fallacy of ‘feeding the world’”

How we regenerate soils with pigs

Pigs on pasture

By John and Holly Arbuckle
We consistently hear how pigs can’t be regenerative. We would edit that to say this: While pigs don’t fit into the regenerative equation as smoothly as ruminants, we can look for strategies to improve land, even with pigs.

When it comes to regenerative grazing, it is useful to look at how pigs compare and contrast to beef cows. Let’s contrast first:
• If you want pigs to grow at a reasonable rate, you’ll have to give them something other than just grass.
• If you want them to create positive animal impact on your cropland or pasture, you have to move more than just the fence.  

This second topic is what we are talking about in this article.

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