Sustainability is more often about the process, than it is about achieving specific goals and then moving on to something different. There is always room for improvement, and opportunity to become more sustainable.
As to whether effluent is a waste or a benefit, depends entirely on how you, the farmer, use it.
“The soil is the only stomach that the plant has”. I had never thought of soil in this manner before, and found it to be an interesting perspective.
“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
Water stewardship is defined as being the use of freshwater that is “socially equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial, achieved through a stakeholder-inclusive process that involves site and catchment-based actions”.
If farmers could challenge themselves and stop applying excessive nutrients in the form of fertiliser, especially N, and rather focus on building soil carbon, that would force the soil organisms to start working (mineralise organic matter) for their own nutrients.
Multi-species pastures have become a prominent topic over the last few years. Why does everyone make such a big deal about it?
Here is a practical guide based on the work by Graham Shepherd to assess the health of your soil visually. Use this guide in association with the sustainability indicators if you want to improve your soil health.
The farmers who attended were provided with a fresh perspective and encouragement on how to approach environmental stewardship on their farms.
One of the important take away points of the day was that this generation (producers, retailers, consumers) needs to understand and appreciate that they have in their hands the opportunity to ask questions, come up with solutions and create awareness across the world about why stewarding the environment is crucial.