French Farming Books – Dominique Soltner

[I dropped the ‘Farm Diary’ bit because I’m guessing it is all going to be Farm Diary from now on apart from a few posts closing out how we ended up here.]

I was wrong when I said I didn’t think much about farming yesterday. The truth is I spent a few hours of the morning going through some French farming books by a man called Dominique Soltner. Here’s the guy. Here are his books.

He has a system called TCS, for Techniques Culturales Simplifiées that seems to be similar to what the US would call No-Till where you use herbicides instead of ploughing. He does focus more on green manure than I’m used to seeing, which I think is a good thing. Part of the reasong I am looking in to this is there are twelve or more hectares of vines that are going to be ripped up – do I let them just grow whatever or seed them with something?



The vines in the foreground and middle are all getting cut down by the SAFER.

Reading all these French farming books helps me learn vocabulary specific to what I am doing, which in turn helps me talk to the neighbors. For example, I keep hearing about azote and it became clear to me that they were talking about Nitrogen.

Then when I went through his book on animal rearing I found a strange thing. I first looked at these books several months ago and I didn’t get much out of them, but now they answer a whole lot of questions I have and finishing times and birthing times and forage needs. The book hasn’t changed, but I have. I wasn’t ready for those sorts of questions a few months ago but now these are the things that will help me decide various points of implementation.



This is a Blonde d’Aquitaine cow. Soltner talks about French breeds (duh) which means he uses Blondes as examples. I keep reading about American mother cows that weigh a thousand pounds or maybe 1100 at finish. French breeds, especially the local Blondes, crush that number and run several hundred pounds heavier. They’re big. There’s a whole lot of different problems with continental cows over British breeds. Soltner covers systems that work with French cows and it is good to learn what works since the wholesale herd is going to have French cows.

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