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.