When it all comes down to it, true productivity is the ability to turn the sun’s energy into energy products. Thus, good farmers will always be converters of energy rather than consumers of energy.
When we understand this, we can look at our soils in a very different way. It doesn’t all come down to what the soil’s Olsen P is or what the soil pH is. What it does come down to is the knowledge and ability to identify deficiencies, excesses and limitations that impede the turning of the sun’s energy into energy products and cause other issues such as plant disease, ill health in stock and environmental damage.
Our beginning point is to measure what we are starting with by taking two soil tests. The first one is a total soil test which is very similar to a mining assay. This test determines the total amount of nutrients in the soil. The second test is an available nutrient test that determines what portion of the total nutrients are available to the crop or pasture you are growing.
When we compare these two tests and ask a few questions and make some observations we can identify what’s going on in your soils. Factors such as mineral deficiencies, toxicities and biological problems that need to be dealt with are identified. The soil may require mineral amendments or biological inoculants that bring beneficial biology into the soil or products that can improve electrical energy production in the soil that stimulates biological activity and plant nutrient uptake. This process has many benefits that result in increases in production while lowering costs.
Another important starting point is to accurately measure soil organic carbon to determine the soil organic carbon baseline data. This data, along with the soil nutrient tests and farm runoff water tests, provides the information required to complete a comprehensive environmental plan that is specific to your farm.
This information is needed by all farmers because it gives an accurate picture year on year of the soil nutrient status and soil organic carbon stocks. It leaves no room for conjecture and has become necessary in today’s world where farmers are being accused of harming the environment. This information will show that you are not damaging the environment; you are enhancing it!
This information not only deals with the Government's environmental compliance it also gives the opportunity to trade carbon credits. Our testing and mapping of farms is showing that farmers can sequester more carbon than what has been thought possible without hindering their daily farming operations. At today’s (January 2020) price of $25 per NZ Unit ton, we have measured increases to the value of $1500 a hectare and higher in a calendar year.
To sum up, what we do is to test, measure, question and discuss with farmers what they are wishing to achieve, then combine this to formulate a plan for achieving these goals. That way we can all partake in producing food fit for consumption while looking after the environment and your wallet at the same time!
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