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.

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