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 become more sustainable over the past five years.
The reality is that adapting agricultural practices when the drought is already upon us is actually too late. Sustainable agriculture should be a way of life.
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.
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.
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.
An upside down way of thinking, as with regenerative agriculture, is to start with the soil. Read this blog to find out more about this upside down thinking.
Is there a link between regenerative agricultural practices and the idea of happy soil life, happy grass, happy cows? Read this blog to find out more.
Raising chickens on pasture has many benefits which include improved soil health, improved pasture health, and improved chicken health – which improves the health of the produce, be it meat or eggs. Read this blog to find out how this is archived.