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AdministratorApril 20, 2023 at 6:19 am100251551
I was away last week at a soil conference with Nicole Masters (Integrity Soils) for 4 days. There were about 130 farmers there, of which over 40% had holdings over 10k ha. Some attendees came from farms over 80k acres.
They were there to learn about better soil solutions and regen management. There were a broad range of topics covered, with the most interesting being the results achieved through different methods of composting teas and their impact on the soil, as well as the use of animals in regen management.
There were several different field studies we did – one being identifying the plants growing and their brix level, the understanding of the fact there are no such thing as weeds, only bacteria mismanagement.
We went a few k down the road to inspect one of the attendees farm and he leases 500 acres, with 240 head of mixed hiefers and steers that he will finish off and sell hopefully before the end of may.
He has been there 18 months now, and has implemented some of Nicole’s techniques as he improves his land quality.
We looked at the land, as you can see by the pictures attached, one was part of the full inspection of the soil profile at a good depth to see what was happening beneath, and our groups broke up to inspect the soil using a shovel.
The discussion regarding animal grazing and biological treatments was very interesting to me. The outcome I got from these discussions was – if you’re doing rotational grazing, it’s wrong. You need to move away from that to ‘surprise’ grazing and fertilising.
By that I understand that rather than have the same fields grazed, skip one, change the pattern up. And in reference to the biological treatments, mix them up too. Don’t let your fields know what you’re doing and mix up the types of treatments you’re adding.
Also, testing, regular testing of your soils with your shovel and counting the life under the soil, checking the rhizosheaths of the plants, the root depth and worm activity.
My takeaway was lots of regular observing and testing. There were stories of many farms who were touted at being regenerative but the root depth of their grasses and fields were very low, and just because it’s green, doesn’t mean all is good.