Psst….. Farmers, are you feeding your IMO’s?

Are you feeding your IMOs

I haven’t met a farmer yet who doesn’t want to improve disease and pest resistance in their crops and/or stock.  Nor have I met a farmer who doesn’t want to lower their fertiliser rates or increase carbon in their soil and I haven’t met a farmer who doesn’t want to have healthy growing pastures or other crops.

Many farmers are starting to understand the importance of biology in improving soil health and the role soil biology plays in achieving the desired outcomes mentioned above. However, many of us are yet to fully unleash the power of IMOs – Indigenous MicroOrganisms, as the name suggests, microorganisms native to your local area.

Using a manufactured biological stimulant is one great way to increase soil biology and improve soil, plant, and animal health, but encouraging IMOs into your farming system is a long-term solution in allowing biology to do the hard yards in improving the overall health of your farming system.

Native microorganisms can outperform and outlast manufactured biological additives. IMOs are the true heavy lifters in the agricultural environment, and there are several simple DIY ways to kick start IMOs in your farming system which don’t need to cost the earth (pardon the pun!). Some of these include:

  • Plant a multispecies cover crop whenever possible – look for windows of opportunity to sneak in a multispecies cover crop. Diversity is one of the best ways to feed the different microorganisms in the soil, such as bacteria, fungi, and other soil biology
  • Good grazing management – keeps plants in an active growth phase which keeps plant roots releasing exudates into the soil and feeding soil biology
  • Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) – brew your own native biology using rice, water, and milk to capture the native bacteria in your surroundings. Make sure you choose an area on your farm which is naturally productive and as free from human intervention as possible, ie hasn’t had fertilizer or chemical application
  • IMO(1 &2) – Collect native bacteria, fungi, yeast, and other microbes from a productive area of your farm free from fungicides, pesticides, insecticides and fertilizer using boiled rice (IMO 1).  Mix IMO 1 with sugar and store in a cool dark place (indefinitely), this can be used as the basis for IMO (3,4 and 5). Brew the IMO(2) with a good quality worm juice, humic acid, fish emulsion, or other biological food source and spray out a couple of times a year to increase microbiology numbers
  • Liquid vermiwash – either produce your own in a worm composting system or a high-quality worm liquid can be purchased ready to apply. NutriSoil is a trusted vermiwash that contains plant-available nutrition, microbes, and plant growth-promoting properties.
  • Bio-stimulants – TM Ag is one of the easiest and simplest ways to increase and stimulate native biology in the soil

Stimulating native biology is the most important thing we can do in our agricultural systems. Biology and microorganisms are the heavy lifters in improving soil health, plant health, and animal health. For more information on how you can improve your native biology please feel free to drop me a line either by email at luke@re-genfarming.com.au or call 0427138100.

Stay tuned to the Re-Gen Farming website for more videos and blogs outlining the steps to make your LAB and IMO 1&2.

Re-Gen Farming Welcomes Zoe

Welcome Zoe Crouch

2022 is an exciting year for Re-Gen Farming, this year we welcome Zoe Crouch to the team. Zoe is currently studying a degree in Science through Southern Cross University, majoring in Regenerative Agriculture, making her a great fit to our role of supporting farmers in their transition to regenerative farming.

Zoe hales from a little hamlet called Landsborough West, on the edge of the Wimmera and the Pyrenees Ranges in Western Victoria. It is a mixed farming area which receives around 450mm rainfall a year.

Growing up on a farm in Western Victoria, Zoe had spent time working in woolsheds, a year in outback Qld and managing an Artificial Insemination centre in Hamilton for five years. This background has allowed Zoe to develop a large network of farmers and wool growers, along the way she has learnt a great deal about sheep fertility and the industry in general.

Having also worked on large stations and properties in senior roles managing livestock, Zoe now manages her own property with husband Luke (Crouch) which they purchased in 2007. In between all this Zoe has completed the RCS Grazing for profit course, the Nicole Masters Integrity soils 10-week course and she has an Ecotherapy Certificate (short course). Along with all this Zoe was Deputy Editor of Working Stockdog Magazine for four years.

Luke and Zoe’s children are now at school which has given them more time to concentrate on improving soil health and creating a diverse ecosystem on their farm, allowing Zoe to put her knowledge and learnings into practise.

Zoe believes regenerative/biological agriculture is like a huge toolbox, providing farmers with so much more at their disposal, providing farmers with more choices about where their journey will take them. Zoe is concerned about the cracks showing in the current farming model and the continual rise in input costs really limits the profit margin, Zoe believes re-gen ag provides farmers an alternative farming model. Zoe says we are only just starting to scratch the surface of what can be achieved within regen/biological systems, and it’s not limited to soil health; the ripple effect is far-reaching to farmer health, livestock health, community regeneration and resilience, improving the life/work balance we often crave and increasing the consumer knowledge around food and its source.

According to Zoe “Agriculture is life!! Without farmers, we don’t eat.” She is passionate about supporting the farmers out there looking for alternative farming methods. Zoe understands there are a lot of people wanting to source nutritious, wholesome, ethically and locally grown foods. But she believes the gap between the farm and the table has grown exponentially and now we need to bridge that gap, she sees regenerative/biological farming as the way forward. She says the evidence is quite clear the health of the human population runs parallel with that of our soils and wants to be part of the solution to improve soil and human health.

Zoe believes the future of farming is bright but swinging in the breeze, and feels there is a great opportunity for agriculture moving forward to ensure that its principles fulfill the regeneration of the landscape, ecology, people, communities and culture.

Zoe is looking forward to meeting many of you in the near future, working with you to set goals and aspirations and watch the landscape change as mindsets alter, a parallel which she always finds amazing!