Maximising crop yield begins at sowing

Seed treated with biostimulant on the left, no seed treatment on the right

We all know the importance of that first drink of mother’s milk to a new born baby, whether it is a new born lamb, calf or human. The protection colostrum gives a new born as a boost to their immunity so they can reach their potential has well been documented, but have we really sat back and thought how we can do the same for plants.

Every year farmers set off sowing millions of tiny seeds which they hope to protect through the growing season, ensuring the crop reaches its full potential and returns a maximum yield. There are limited opportunities throughout the growing season to prevent yield loss and sowing time is one of them.

Many farmers are starting to look differently at their cropping system, for a long time they have been encouraged to prevent failure, but what happens when our mind set changes and we farm to promote life?

A good quality biostimulant and balanced nutrition is the starting point for change, a change to promoting life instead of a defensive preventing failure approach.

A good seed dressing is a plant’s colostrum, giving the seed its initial boost of immunity as the early signs of life emerge from the seed and the first root is sent out. As with a young calf or lamb, if it does not get that initial hit of colostrum it will struggle for the rest of its life.

Conventional pickle treatments aim to prevent failure, but in the process the pickle sterilises the plants micro biome, the micro biome occurs naturally on and around the seed. Hard working microbes were designed by nature to promote plant health, immunity and protection. To me a pickle is like going to the hospital and saying I don’t have cancer but just give me a round of chemo just in case.

There are an emerging range of biological products which can be used as a seed coat / seed dressing to promote microbial activity on and around the seed and newly forming roots. These microbes promote the growth of more microbes, increasing plant health and immunity, giving your plant the best chance to reach its full potential.

Don’t hesitate to give me a call and I can start you in the right direction to giving your crop the best start to reach its full potential.

The top seeds were coated with a biostimulant, while the bottom seeds were coated with a conventional seed treatment. Photo courtesy of Grant Sims
Cover crop with a TM Germination seed treatment prior to sowing
Seeds on the left were treated with a conventional seed treatment, while the seeds on the right were inoculated with TM Germination
Left half of the photo – no inoculation at sowing, on the right seeds were inoculated with NutriSoil and NTS (Nutri – Tech Solutions) at sowing
Seeds coated with NutriSoil and NTS seed start
Seed treated with biostimulant on the left, no seed treatment on the right
Seed on the left coated with NutriSoil left, seed on right no inoculation. Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of Alex MacAlpine

March Soil Health Days

March was a busy month for the Regenerative Farming community, during which two Soil Health days  allowed likeminded advocates for Soil Health to come together and pass on their knowledge and expertise about increasing soil biology.

A Soil Health day in Cowra in early March gave me the opportunity to get out on the road to visit some clients and farmers who are making a transition from conventional farming methods with the aim to reduce synthetic inputs to increase biology, improve soil health, plant health and profit margins in the process.

Calling into West Wylong on my way to Cowra I caught up with a farmer who recently purchased some lime, gypsum and soft rock phosphate, which were waiting to be mixed and spread onto paddocks to help with nutrient balance in the soil. Soft Rock Phosphate is a naturally mined Australian product, and while traditional phosphates can become locked up in the soil when they bond with other minerals. Soft Rock Phosphate is a more naturally balanced product containing calcium and silicon along with other trace elements which do not harm the microscopic life in your soil.

About 35 gathered on a property near Cowra for the Soil Health day to discuss many issues around the role microbes play in improving soil and plant health and how to increase microbial activity in the soil. We also discussed the role multispecies and cover crops play in helping improve soil structure, while at the same time providing a great feed option for stock and reducing soil erosion.

I took the opportunity to call in on some progressive farmers in Wagga and Narrandera who are doing great things in the regenerative farming space. Everyone will have a different system and will find what works for them, so it is always great to see what is working for others.

Deciding to reduce your dependency on synthetic inputs can be daunting and success will not be measured using traditional methods such as tonnes to the hectare. Instead, you will be assessing success by the quality of produce whether it is healthier stock with less disease issues, sheep with better quality wool, crops with no pest and disease management issues, or it might be wheat with better test weights.

A Soil Health day in Brocklesby later in March provided an opportunity for those further south to find out more about what others are doing and the options available to reduce farm input costs. Soil Health days can put you in contact with the right people to guide you and talk to you about your individual journey to soil health, as it will be different for everyone.

If you have ever thought about wanting to change the way you do things, then please reach out and I can point you in the right direction to find the information you need to better understand the advantages of improving the health of your soil and leaving it in a better condition for the next generation.

Halving your cost of Soil Amendments by adding Biology.

healthy soil ingredients

Sodic soils and acidic soils are a common problem in agriculture and can be expensive to address.

Sodic soils cause clay particles to swell and disperse leading to a number of problems including soil compaction, obstructed seed emergence and reduced nutrient uptake by plants. Applying gypsum to sodic soils helps improve the physical soil structure leading to more friable soils (crumblier soils) which exchange essential elements such as Calcium, Potassium and Sulphur with plants more readily. This contributes to a more balanced pH, increasing the availability of nutrients and minerals to the plants.

Acidic soils could be preventing nutrient uptake by your plants. Adding lime to your soil helps with pH balance, improves nutrient balance and availability, soil structure and reduces the likelihood of Aluminium and Manganese toxicity. The addition of Calcium to your overall soil health improvement strategy is a great start to increased nutrient availability and healthier plants, but this is only half the story. 

When the biology of your soil is activated, soil amendments such as gypsum and lime can perform their roles much more efficiently and much less is needed. This saves you money, and the benefits of having the soil alive with countless tiny microbes and biological organisms is they work around the clock to help improve every working function of your soil and plant. These microscopic work horses are essential to the interconnected relationship between how plants absorb nutrients from the atmosphere and the soil, and they play a critical role in helping plants protect themselves from pests, diseases and stressful situations. Soils which are biologically active have better water holding capacity, nutrient availability and provide a strong immunity check for your plants. Investing in healthy soil is like investing in a preventative health plan for your plants and your budget.   You will enjoy better yields, use less chemicals and fertiliser, and less soil amendments.

Re-Gen Farming can help you plan how to increase the level of biological activity in your soil. Now is the time to give me a call and discuss how we can put a strategy together to begin your journey to soil health and half your lime and gypsum needs.

2021, the year for What, Why and How!

As 2020 draws to a close for most of us it is a year we would rather put behind us, while for some the challenges of 2020 have provided opportunities to explore new possibilities.

The Christmas and New Year period allows many of us some time for reflection and planning for the year ahead.

At Re-Gen Farming we believe in the power of healthy soils. Healthy soils result in healthy plants, leading to healthy stock, a healthier planet and a healthier profit.

Healthy soils begin with activating and understanding the biology and nutrients in your soil, from all the unseen microbes and organisms through to those very important topsoil workers, worms.

Having confidence in creating healthy soils requires learning the What, Why and How of soil biology, nutrition and the benefits it can provide to your farming system.

In 2021 Re-Gen Farming look forward to providing you with easy to access and user friendly material to help you with the What, Why and How so you can enjoy your journey to soil health. Re-Gen can provide you with advice and access to a range of additives, fertilisers, amendments and biological products designed to increase your soil’s health.

Re-Gen Farming would like to wish you all a safe and festive Christmas / New Year period. We look forward to connecting with you next year as we continue to increase our understanding of how the soil works most efficiently, to provide healthier profits to your bottom line and supporting planet healthier at the same time.

Merry Christmas!