Healthy Living Soil: A Farmer’s Greatest Asset
Balanced nutrients can help in times of drought because they create a healthy living soil.
With the very challenging 2018 season behind us we look forward to hopefully a productive and profitable 2019 season.
While some in the more favoured southern areas had a profitable year with high grain prices these same high prices doesn’t mean much to many who were salvaging their seed and not much more. For those with livestock high grain and hay prices are making decisions difficult for retaining stock. For us in the Northern areas it has been a reminder of the 1982 drought, so perhaps a one in forty-year event. However, we look forward with a positive approach.
Here at Soil Management Systems we talk to all sorts of farmers around Australia every week. It has been noticeable of a momentum of increasing awareness of the health of their soils. At last years GRDC Conference in Adelaide a presentation outlined the declining ability of cropping soils in Australia to mineralise Nitrogen in an available form for plants by microbial processes. If we extrapolate this research to soils ability to mineralise Phosphorus and other nutrients, then the only alternative is increasing fertiliser applications and obviously higher costs. Further, increasing chemical applications for fungal or weed control are applied due to imbalances in the soil and susceptible crops.
Or! We can like many farmers are beginning to do, questioning what affect our modern farming practices and inputs are having on the very thing that over time can reduce inputs, thus costs while being more productive and healthier; – the biological diversity, activity and their processes in the soil.
A living soil is a farmer’s greatest asset. We like the fact that our farms are increasing in value each year, but the research as outlined above shows a decreasing ability of our soils available nutritional value. This research was further confirmation to me of the terminology I have spoken about for many years “Subtle Soil Degradation”. That is soil degradation that is happening subtlety every year right under our feet but not being noticed. After a few years when the same input doesn’t seem to give the response it once did the advice is usually to put more of the same on.
Balance of Nutrients makes Healthy Living Soil
A particular encounter I had a few years ago in China will always stay with me. We were on some farms that they say had been continuously farmed for 4,000 years when wheat was first introduced. It was in Central China out from the city of Xian, a very productive area with 3 crops over summer on the same area and covered in snow over winter. We were given a run down through interpreters of the history through to present day practices. Fifteen to twenty years ago a complete change was made to new modern fertilising and chemicals which were quickly adopted, the same as we and most other countries also use. But, the old farmers present made a statement; “Now our soils are not what they once were”!
Here at Soil Management Systems we don’t advocate chemical free or organic but rather ‘Balance’. Every farmer has to make money and any changes should be one step at a time and through a process of understanding their own soils and responses.
It is essential to start with a Comprehensive soil analysis with independent report and recommendations, no vested interest or manipulation of data. We welcome inquiries on how we offer that and also why we market soil friendly fertilisers such as SMS Guano and Ammonium Sulphate rather than Urea. You’re welcome to peruse our website for lots of information.
Healthy living soils is our passion and remember nutrient balance makes healthy living soil.
For more descriptions about Australian Soils, we suggest you visit Australian Soil Resource Information System.
We invite you to see more information on Guano or Guano Blending.