These are some questions I was asked by a farmer in the Tsitsikamma the other day about legumes and root nodules.
The amazing thing is that all these ecosystem services support greater agricultural production. They can only be unlocked when the soil is viewed as a valuable natural resource that needs to be conserved.
I would challenge any farmer that desires to improve their farm to think about the “why” behind the regenerative agriculture approach. What is the prize?
Often farmers treat the farm as a whole and that is completely wrong. Fields within a few meters from each other can have completely different characteristics, especially with regards to soil biology.
Oxygen is one of the overlooked but most important requirements for microbial and root development. In fact, I’d even posit that it is more important than food, water, and warmth.
To a large extent, these threats are caused by conventional agriculture. This is what makes the regenerative approach to soil management so important.
Keeping the soil covered is important for soil conservation. The abundance and diversity of food for soil organisms is what determines a soil’s natural productivity.
There has been a lot of research conducted about the impact of applying herbicides. The problem is that there is a full spectrum of findings showing positive, negative and negligible effects on soil biology. This can be very confusing.
Graham’s keynote presentation, Managing N and C to maximise farm performance, truly resonated with the audience. Many of the farmers in attendance are already in transition towards sustainable farming while others are not quite there yet.
The ultimate goal is a healthy soil, with a fully functioning soil food web. One of the important steps in achieving this is ensuring the correct diet for the microbes which make up the full food web.