OUT OF THE EARTH by Louis Bromfield

OUT OF THE EARTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Though this is an alluring title and will persuade many who loved his Pleasant Valley that this is another such, be not misled. It is closer to Malabar Farm, in which he set forth some of his adventures in bringing an unproductive farm back to fertility, but it is much more technical, much more directed to the agronomist, and the practical professional farmer. Not -- as he suggests- for ""recreational reading"". For here he speaks virtually a new language, the language of the New Agriculture- and perhaps he will supply the spark needed to bring the laggards into at least awareness of the march of progress. His book falls into three main parts. The greater part is a detailed study of his trial and error, trial and success methods- and the conclusions threfrom, the possibility of their wider application to agricultural problems, soil restoration problems, increased crops, streamlined dairy farming and so on elsewhere. He discusses from a scientific angle, the problem of balances, of the relation of lacks chemically, lacks in minerals, and wrong balances, to crop failures, to livestock diseases. He illustrates with personal experience, in virtually eradication of such disasters as Bang's disease. He tells the now famous ""chicken litter story"", which proved the value of benevolent bacteria in accumulated litter- and the danger of too sanitary a method of handling poultry. This is closely linked with his earlier thesis of rough farming. He now goes further still, and shares his findings as to the values of subsoil, and how to get down to it. Of water management- erosion control- increase of ponds and tanks- treatment of woodlots- use of new agricultural tools. The second part of the book deals with flood control and conservation, in which he describes the ""Muskingum Conservance District"" project, which has established a working pattern which may be almost too simple for the bureaucrats to apply to the much discussed Missouri River project. This gives him a chance to expand his attack on the administration's agricultural policies, on the failures of bureaucratic administration, politics and red tape. Towards the end, there is a brief section directed to manufacturers of farm machinery, which, he says, lags far behind the findings of the New Agriculture. He has yet another section dealing with the New South, the beginnings of agricultural change, on the heels of industrial change, and the possibility of applying much of what he has learned to this area. All in all, this book- while not a personal, anecdotal story of his experiments, in the sense that Malabar Farm was, sums up an experiment still in process of growth, and the main facets of Bromfield's agricultural credo. Interesting but specialized.

ISBN: 1590989511
Publisher: Harper