Soil Matters is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary of driving sustainable farming and to keep this momentum going, we also need to look to the future! We are very excited to advise that Canaan Ahu of Agrownomics is buying into our company and will become the new face and leader of Soil Matters as Rob looks to pull back over the next few years. A passing of the mantle so to speak.
When planning for a crop rotation there are many elements you need to consider.
When choosing a fertiliser, we are faced with many options: conventional fertiliser, organic fertiliser, salt-based fertilisers… but what is best? What will suit your farm? The lines between these fertilisers can get blurred and the actual meaning can be debated - but let’s stick to what we know….
Soil is integral to life on earth, as it filters water, enables growth of forests and crops, and most importantly it regulates the earth's temperature and greenhouse gases.
During my time growing high-value vegetable crops in intensive production systems, I observed challenges to reach marketable yields and product quality regardless of the investment in fertiliser inputs. I also witnessed small tractors make way to larger horsepower tractors with power-driven implements alongside a significantly larger spend on synthetic nitrogen that was harming the preservation of our soil carbon stocks.
When I moved to Marlborough 40 years ago it was a province with diverse land use - lots of shelter belts, and a multitude of crops and livestock farms forming an interesting tapestry on the valley floor. Now most of the diversity is gone in the lower plains, and at last count there are some 26,000 hectares of vineyard. Vines have brought a lot of wealth into the province but also, a loss of diversity.
‘Regenerative agriculture’ is a term that, in a way, has the same flavour as the term ‘sustainability’ - both tend to be used or abused with similar reasoning. Regardless, the fact remains that the talk about regenerative agriculture has raised awareness (throughout the country, around the world, and most importantly within the farming industry) and identified certain farm practises as being accountable for tipping the balance in regards to the environment. The question I often get is, “what are your thoughts on this regenerative farming that everyone talks about?”
It was during the mid 1800’s that Justus von Liebig, a German scientist who made major contributions to agricultural and biological chemistry, discovered the power of nitrogen when he created an explosion whilst experimenting with nitrate in his father’s pharmacy. And of course, in more recent history, it is believed that a large stockpile of ammonium nitrate caused the explosion in the Port of Beirut. It’s fair to say then that nitrogen is ‘powerful stuff’. And as farmers we know all too well that this is also true when it comes to plant growth.
For soil testing enquiries or other questions call us, send us an email or use our contact form via the button, below.