It’s easy to criticise people, organisations and systems but it takes time and real effort to build something better.

The superphosphate industry has been heavily criticised for producing crude out dated product, the performance of which has required the short term prop of regularly applied nitrogen.

Its continued survival is justified not by performance but by the claim of lowest cost per unit of nutrient, with the argument being that the soil doesn’t know or care in what form nutrient is delivered as long as it’s delivered.

The same philosophy has been used in human nutrition and it’s taken time for the consequences to become fully apparent.

High quality fruit, vegetables, and meat may be analysed and the essential elements provided in manufactured products however the long term health and performance of people fed in this way is always inferior.

The difference between butter made from top quality milk and competing manufactured products containing a range of similar elements may appear subtle but the differences are real, which is why there is a growing demand for high quality fresh unprocessed food.

Quality nearly always costs more initially, however those that have made the change to buying true high quality food have found that less is required to satisfy their needs.   Their performance is better in all respects and with less illness and fewer visits to the doctor the purchase cost is relatively unimportant.

Truly high quality food can only be grown on well-structured, biologically active soil.  From the 56th edition of the Yates Garden Guide, “Soils which lack humus are unproductive because they contain no helpful bacteria, which aid in the releasing of all plant foods to the roots.  Where humus is present in generous quantities, the land has a loamy fibrous texture and will conserve moisture over a longer period.”

The principles of successful pastoral farming whether extensive or intensive are the same as those of home gardening.   The dependence on regular applications of nitrogen fertiliser throughout the growing season at worst destroys humus and at best limits the speed at which it develops.

Performance measures of CalciZest and DoloZest based total nutrient programmes over ten years have shown that they increase the speed at which humus is built, resulting in higher and steadily increasing annual pasture production.

The quality of the feed grown is also better with a recent independent report showing that 21% less feed is consumed to produce a kilogram of milk solids.

Due to the higher energy and actual protein content of the pasture the overall quality of the milk and meat produced is superior resulting in higher farm income, and with improved animal health the money left after paying all costs steadily increases.

One of the keys to the superior performance is the inclusion of a selected range of beneficial fungi and bacteria.  Just as the making of cheese and bread is dependent on the addition of the necessary microbes so too is the building of humus.

Humus development takes place of its own accord provided the amount of air and moisture is adequate; however the addition of the right mix of microbes along with the nutrients that support their activity enhances the process.

Humus is the ‘glue’ in soil and soil rich in humus has the ability to hold more moisture and nutrient and release them to the plant as required.  A humus based system is both more effective and efficient.

Nature always sides with the truth and ongoing testing of nitrate nitrogen from a long term clients property shows that even where annual pasture performance exceeds district average by 30% the loss of nitrates is low and meets the Ministry for the Environments standards.  For more information contact Peter on 0800 843 809.

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