Having been in the dairy industry for just over 10 years, Rufus Dreyer is one of the early adopters of sustainable dairy farming practices in the area. He runs a farm just outside Humansdorp, close to Oyster Bay. Find out more about Rufus and his insights about dairy farming.
The unfortunate truth is that there are no silver bullets in farming. The agro-ecosystem is way too complex, with far too many interactions, to have a simple, single solution to challenges.
Nutrients are brought into the farm through the farm gate, and nutrients are removed through the farm gate. The question that needs to be asked is, are there more nutrients brought into, or removed from the farm system?
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.
Our philosophy about sustainable agriculture is about limiting inputs from outside a farm system to what is strictly necessary. One of the inputs that is often over-imported, wastefully so, is feed.
A supply of nutrients and minerals to soils which is greater than the amount needed to maintain soil health and fertility actually endangers the soil and can negatively impact on surface and ground water sources.
What can farmers learn from a carbon footprint? Why do people want to know what a farms carbon footprint is? How is a carbon footprint even related to climate change? In the blog below I will attempt to answer these questions.
Many nutrients are wasted on dairy farms due to oversupply through inputs from fertilizers and feeds. A great deal of nutrients, and therefore money, can be saved by recording and monitoring what nutrients are removed from the farm and what nutrients are brought onto the farm.
By measuring water use efficiency farmers are made aware of where and how much water they are using on their farm. Through this process farmers can identify areas where efficiency can be improved, therefore helping them to save water.
Excessive use of chemical nitrogen fertiliser has a negative effect on soil life and soil structure. Yet there still seems to be a trend of farmers wanting, or feeling the need, to apply excessive chemical nitrogen fertiliser to pastures.
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