Doc’s Blog

Wisdom from Dr. Wm Albrecht 

"Wild animals chose their own medicine according as the soil grows it, and thereby exemplifies better health and survival on their own than our domestic ones do under our management.”
                                           Dr. William Albrecht

Quote of the Day

"The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money." -- Alexis de Tocqueville   French historian  (1805-1859)


I don’t know if it is classified as true inbreeding or not, but the genetic lineage of all current Holstein sires can be traced to only 2 bulls.      51% of Holstein sires born in this decade trace their lineage back to Elevation and 49% go back to Chief.

We do know that inbreeding or even close breeding can have several deleterious effects on dairy cows, including: 1. Impaired immune function, 2. Reduced longevity.  3. Lower milk production and 4. Diminished reproductive efficiency.

They may not be related, but in the light of the above facts, I find it curious that even while milk production seems to skyrocket, the average dairy cow in the US does not live to complete 2 lactations and 50 of the dairy cows calve with either a metabolic or infectious disease.  Just wondering ?!

Statistical Deception

    There is an old saying that “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure”.   At one time I had a copy of a book entitled “How to lie with statistics”.  It seems that Big Pharma has taken both concepts to the extreme in the way they interpret and promote the results of their drug trials.  

   This statistical trickery is accomplished by using ‘relative risk’ data in which one specific group is compared to another specific group rather than evaluating how an individual responds to the drug - ‘absolute risk’. 

    This magical technique enabled one drug company tout a 54 percent reduction in heart attacks when actually the reduction was less than 1%.

    Used in reverse, this statistical legerdemain also allows the cover up of any adverse effects of the drug.

If you are interested in more details, go to:

Remember the Spotted Owl?

Sp. Owl

With all the hub-bub in the news about terrorism in the middle east we tend to overlook the more insidious eco-terrorism we have been experiencing here at home for decades. 

25 years ago the Endangered Species Act  put 90% of Oregon’s federal forest off limits to logging. The area has never recovered economically and the spotted owl population has continued to decline. The ESA people have never even said “Oops”.

Another example of how we are protected by “the best government money can buy”.

USDA funds for Organic Research

I noticed today that, as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, Ag Commisar Vilsack released $66.5 million for research and extension activites relating to improving organic agriculture and specialty crops.  I am guessing that most of this money will be available for grants.   

I wonder if anyone will apply for a grant to investigate how BigPharma shills have infiltrated the National Organic Standards Board.


Cafeteria-style Research

Cafeteria-style research shows
Cows prefer water with iron levels below 8 mg/L

Research conducted at Cornell by water-quality expert Dave Beede has been published in the February Journal of Dairy Science.  In the experiment, Beede and other researchers set up a series of water tubs cafeteria-style, so they could see which tubs the cows preferred based on iron concentrations in the water. Upon first exposure to drinking water, lactating dairy cows tolerated iron concentrations up to 4 mg/L (or 4 parts per million) without a reduction in water intake; however, water intake was reduced with concentrations of 8 mg/L.

They also indicated that the direct livestock suitability water analysis used by some labs may underestimate the amount of iron in the water as some of the iron is chemically associated (bound) with other chemicals in the water and not analyzable. Therefore, what may appear as a favorable 2 mg/L level may actually be an inhibitory 8 mg/L level.

Learn more:


Conventional nutritional opinion claims that animals do not have the ability to balance their nutritional needs when given the choice.  Yet, these researchers relied on the nutritional wisdom of these cows to set their own standards for acceptable levels of iron in their water by providing varying concentration of iron in water “cafeteria-Style”.

Reading between the lines, this experiment also shows that laboratory tests are not as accurate as an animal’s nutritional wisdom ---   “some of the iron is chemically associated (bound) with other chemicals in the water and not analyzable.”. However, when given the choice, the cows didn’t have any problem choosing the level of iron acceptable to them.

And taking that one more step: maybe cows really are smarter that some scientists.

Hopefully more researchers will begin to apply common sense in their research and the interpretation thereof.

A Calf Problem

I had a phone calll today from a fellow who was having trouble raising baby calves. His calves were suffering from scours and pneumonia, with considerable death loss.  As we discussed his operation it was apparent that he was doing several thinks wrong--things that almost doomed the project from the start.     

First, he was buying calves from several different sources - local dairymen, sales barns and calf jockeys.  So he really had no idea if any of the calves had received colostrum or what if any attention had been paid to their health and nutrition.    

Second, he only had one group of calves and any new purchases were immediately added to the group. This exposed the newcomers to whatever was going through the older calves in the group and these older calves were exposed to whatever the new ones were carrying.   

Third, he was vaccinating the calves with an attenuated live- virus vaccine. which should only be used on healthy animals.  I don’tknow what he was feeding, but if he was using a soy-based milk replacer that in itself is not conducive to calf health. 

Before he contacted me he had already run the gamut of available treatments with very little success.  It is almost impossible to overcome the poor management practices listed above and I had little to offer him except - “Clean up your act and better luck next time”.

Mouse gene makes cattle TB resistant?

Chinese scientists claim to have added a gene from mice to cattle that makes the GE cattle more resistant to Tuberculosis (TB).  This would -they say - allow the GE animals to stay in the herd longer and require less antibiotic use.  I wonder what the unintended consequences are?  In the US cattle with TB are slaughtered not treated. If the GE animals kept in the herd were not 100% resistant they could end up as carriers!

 I suspect that this experiment or press release is but a ploy to try to put a ‘good face’ on genetic engineering and to mask the sisnister aspects.

Farming for Food or Profit

   In January I was sitting in a trade booth at the GrassWorks Grazing Conference when a fellow stopped at the booth and after reading our glyphosate banner began questioning me about why we were against the use of glyphosate.  I briefly outlined several concerns we have, such as trace mineral tie-up, super weeds, damage to soil and GI bacteria, as well as damage to human and animal health. 
   He was not impressed.  He told me he considered Round-Up to be one of the best new things that had come about during his farming career and in his experience it was very cost effective and did no damage that he was aware of. I could tell right off that I was not going to make a convert here.
    Having previously made the decision to never argue with an idiot in public - because those watching would not be able to tell who was the idiot - I played my trump card and asking him; “Have you ever considered that you are primarily growing food for people and animals to eat and not just producing a commodity to be sold or traded on the market?  He gave me kind of a blank condescending look and just walked away.
   It is unfortunate, but often true, that many farmers are so engrossed in the profit side of farming that they overlook the fact that they are poisoning the unsuspecting folks who buy their tainted products.

First Post

Since my awareness of holistic concepts began when I read Bromfield’s books in 1948 it is fitting that I begin this new blog venture by reprinting an older entry first made 0n June 10, 2008.

"A visit to Louis Bromfield’s Malabar Farm is somewhat like a pilgrimage for me. When Ruth and I, along with Gwen and Jim Helfter, visited the site today I recalled that it has been over 60 years ago that I read his books Malabar Farm and Pleasant Valley.  His story was my first exposure to the sustainable or organic agriculture movement.  In that time there has not been all that much improvement on the innovative methods on building soil that he proposed in the early 1940’s.  In my mind, Bromfield, Dr. Wm Albrecht, Sir Albert Howard and others of that era were the pioneers of what we now call the organic and/or sustainable agriculture movement".