“As farmers, we are stewards of the land. It is our responsibility to ensure that as caretakers we treat it with respect and leave it in a better condition for future generations” – Bonnen Biggs, Suiderland Farm
At Trace & Save we believe in placing integrity to our claims of addressing sustainability on farms. One of the ways we do this is by using the concept of measured agricultural sustainability using the SWAN system.
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.
Nitrogen alone cannot carry the responsibilities of other nutrients in the plant. That is why farmers need to have a balance of all essential plant nutrients in order to archive optimal growth.
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.
The benefits of multispecies pasture are not only limited to the benefits mentioned in this blog, they are far greater. I have isolated these ones because they are the most pertinent and directly relate to farm profitability.
Look out for the Trace & Save logo on First Choice UHT-milk to see how easy it is to trace the impact of the product on the environment
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.
Farmers that include lucerne as part of their pasture mixtures will benefit from free nitrogen both from the atmosphere and from an enhanced mineralisation rate that will be stimulated by diverse pastures. The free nitrogen will help reduce fertiliser costs and improve farm efficiency.
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.