The SWAN system is composed of soil, water, atmosphere and nutrient components. The best way to show how these integrated and interrelated measures reflect the journey of improving agricultural sustainability is to show a case study of a farm which has been becoming more sustainable over the past five years.
Author Archive for: Craig Galloway
About Craig Galloway
Craig is a sustainability researcher and has been working on the Woodlands Dairy Sustainability Project since January 2013. He studied Conservation Ecology at Stellenbosch University before joining the Trace & Save team. He is passionate about environmental stewardship and the sustainable use of natural resources for food production.
Craig loves travelling and tries to go on an overseas adventure to new and interesting places every opportunity he gets. He loves an engaging conversation or a good book. He is a bit of a coffee snob and foodie, so be sure to let him know about any new and interesting coffee shops or restaurants he should try out. He is also a big sports fan, most notably of the New England Patriots.
You can e-mail Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find him on social media:
LinkedIn: Craig Galloway
Entries by Craig Galloway
What I want to discuss is the difference between putting ideas into practice in a manner that just ticks the box and putting ideas into practice in a manner that brings about tangible results.
It is going to take considerable effort from researchers, consultants and farmers, and a commitment to developing farm systems which better mimic nature, but I am hopeful for the future of sustainable agriculture in South Africa.
Approaching agriculture in new ways requires new perspectives on how to view things. One of the main differences between conventional and sustainable agriculture is the relative reliance on external inputs.
The black maize beetle is a pest to many of the pasture grasses planted on Eastern Cape dairy farms. Two of the most prominent grasses which are favoured by these beetles are ryegrass and kikuyu.
These two very simple visual assessments can give farmers an idea of how good the structure of the soil is on their farms. They are also a good demonstration of the benefits of soil carbon and how carbon contributes to well aggregated soil.
The problem with change is that it is often very challenging. The usual, common and standard way of doing things is comfortable and known, but it very seldom brings about progress.
There are many farmers out there who are really attempting to reduce their environmental impacts and provide agricultural produce which supports a sustainable future.
Due to a lack of soil health, and an imbalance in soil fertility, farmers are relying for too heavily on nitrogen fertiliser for pasture growth. This can actually lead to potassium loss from the soil.
Rather than dwelling on the negative aspect of degradation, I would prefer to focus on the strategies and opportunities which are available to farmers in restoring the soil.