ABOUT BIOLOGICAL FARMING
Biological farming is not a new concept and in some cases generations of farmers have successfully followed this farming method with excellent, sustainable results. Before the advent of some of our modern farming practices, farmers knew how to work the land and understood the process of utilising what was on offer due to the natural processes that had been in place for many thousands of years. Modern biological farming is a system that uses nature and science to build the quality of the soil with the understanding that healthy soil will be able to support healthy crops and livestock. This takes advantage of the natural processes, which promote good soil, healthy crops, and healthy animals.
PRODUCTIVE SOIL IS ACHIEVED BY:
- Balancing the soil by applying the correct volume and type of minerals after soil analysis
- Promoting soil life by the addition of fungi and other micro-organisms.
- Providing a food source for the biology
- Adopting best farming practices – stock rates, crop rotation, tillage method
These practices allow the natural system to:
- Develop superior soil structure and microbiology
- Improve crop quality
- Increase stock yields and improve animal health
- Reduce negative environmental impacts by controlling waste (eg leaching or effluent)
- Control weeds, pests, and diseases
- Increase moisture content in the top soil
- Improve drought resistance
- Improve the uptake of nutrients into the pasture, crop etc.
Soil that is healthy firstly has a balance of minerals that ensure a favourable environment to house micro-organisms. This coupled with the addition of organic particles serve as nourishment for plants by also providing food for bacteria, actinomycetes, yeast, fungi, algae, protozoa’s etc. and the larger creatures including earthworms. These organisms process and decompose the inert mineral and organic materials, thereby feeding the plants. A naturally productive soil contains a perfect balance of inorganic minerals, organic (carbon based) materials, and living organisms, all contained within a physical structure that absorbs and holds water to facilitate natural chemical reactions that feed plants perfectly.
Excessive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides can upset this balance in the soil, the exact opposite of what is required.
Many more farmers are beginning to understand that natural fertilisers along with best practice production methods result in higher profitability of their farms. Farming practices that ensure a balance of the minerals required along with recognition of the importance that the soil biology plays, will be more cost effective overall than farms that ignore this approach. Reduced damage to the environment and improved animal and plant health are also natural outcomes from this approach. Long term sustainability is now a focus of many modern farmers.
Biological farming also makes economic sense. Fertiliser is often wasted because the imbalances in the soil fail to allow minerals to be utilised, they become ‘locked up’ or often lost due to leaching. Pesticide use is greatly reduced (or eliminated) as the healthier plants are more disease and pest resistant. Stock should become healthier resulting in improved yields and reduced veterinary expenses.
The biological approach to farming will result in soil that is balanced, healthy and able to support healthy crops. These crops should be nutrient dense – meaning that they contain higher concentrations of plant sugars, minerals and amino acids and therefore have a higher nutritional value. They also exhibit other beneficial traits such as a longer shelf life and greater sustenance for grazing animals.
VOLCANIC ROCK DUST
Rock dust, also known as rock powder and rock flour, consists of finely crushed rock, processed by natural or mechanical means, containing minerals and trace elements widely used in organic farming practices. The rock dust should be a finely ground product as this allows it to be more readily broken down by the processes under the soil.
A few of the rock-dusts that are used in agriculture include RPR (reactive phosphate rock), limestone, serpentine, dolomite, basalt, granite, gypsum and greensand (glauconite- potassium and iron)
The volcanic rocks basalt and granite often contain very good levels of essential macro-compounds, trace elements, and micronutrients. Rock dust on its own is not a fertiliser, for it lacks the qualifying levels of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
The benefit of the addition of a quality volcanic rock dust to the soil is in the remineralisation that takes place. This is the return of minerals to the soil which had been lost by erosion, leaching, and or over-farming.
Totalfert’s TotalBLEND includes several types of rock dusts that provide good levels of various macro and micro elements.
Volcanic rock dust can be added to soil to improve fertility and has been tested since 1993 at the Sustainable Ecological Earth Regeneration Centre (SEER Centre) in Straloch, near Pitlochry, in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. Further testing has been undertaken by James Cook University, Townsville, North Queensland.
SEER’s research claims that the benefits of adding rock dust to soil include increased moisture holding properties in the soil, improved cation exchange capacity and better soil structure and drainage. Rock dust also provides calcium, iron, magnesium, silica, phosphorus and potassium, plus trace elements and micronutrients. By replacing these leached minerals it is claimed that soil health is increased and that this produces healthier plants.
Silicon is thought to be the major element affecting the strength of cell wall development. However it is the amount of available silica that has a dramatic effect on the plant strength and subsequent health. Silicon comes in silicon multi-oxide molecules (e.g. SiO2, SiO4, SiO6, SiO8 etc.). Each molecule shape is thought to pack in different ways to allow different levels of availability.
TotalBLEND provides over 16% silicon per tonne.
Often phosphorus can be locked in soils due to many years of the incorrect application of traditional fertilisers. The use of micronutrient rich fertiliser enables plants to access locked phosphorus.
A balanced ratio of calcium, magnesium and potassium assist in correcting the soil’s PH. This ratio is often referred to as the base saturation level. The microbiology is able to perform at their optimum once the correct ratios of macro and micro-elements are achieved.
A liquid that consists of fish that has been processed filtered and combined with kelp and other beneficial minerals and ingredients. More Info
A combination of very finely crushed rock-dusts, MarinePLUS along with additional beneficial minerals and plant matter. More Info