Applying Living Soils back into the fields.
Chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides appeared to be wonderful in the beginning. Crops were bountiful, reliable and valuable. Then the yields began to drop over time, there began to be more crop failures, all the while the costs for these chemicals was climbing.
Ever wondered why?
Essentially the soil health has been decayed to such a point that the only thing that will work to get any form of commercial output from the fields is chemicals. Except that even these now have become untenable commercially. The costs of chemicals and the reduced capability of the soil to hold water, compaction, and the dropping nutrient delivery to the crops makes for weaker crops, poorer nutrition and more crop failures and pestilence and infestations.
In commercial terms, the farm as a going concern is literally failing. The soil is the primary production tool for the farm. If it is not in optimum condition, then it will not perform.
By applying Soil Organic Matter (SOM) into the soils, the soil will reduce compaction and hold more water. If we ensure the SOM is optimized to grow commercial crops, then we may have a plan to rebuild all farmers soils.
This is very good news for Carbon Capture. Soils are arguably the best and biggest carbon capture facility on the planet. Deep fixed carbon is actually SOM from forests and soils. We just dug it up and burned it as fossil fuels.
We also lost a huge amount of carbon from our top soils. Healthy soils, commercially productive soils, have somewhere in the region of 14% carbon and 20% SOM. Carbon? Yes Carbon. Carbon is the food source for microbes that convert this to plant soluble proteins. This is the building block nutrition for crops and trees. When the tree or crop drops a leaf, branch or itself, it is converted back into soil carbons to go around again. This is the carbon cycle.
How much Carbon did we lose from our top soils? Average Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) is below 5% in most modern arable farms. Some sources quote as low as 2%.
This reduces both water holding in the top soil and percolation into the deep ground aquifers. The water cycle has been restricted or closed off across millions of hectares of farm land. Case in point is California. Water security relies on these soils becoming porous again. Crop security relies on these soils being able to hold water especially because of climate change. Water holding capability in top soils relates to SOC. Water volume is calculated as as much as six times the volume of carbon in the soils.
How much carbon is in the soils? A median value is around 22 tonnes of carbon per 1% of Carbon in the soil by analysis metrics. So a healthy soil will have somewhere around 300 tonnes of carbon and 1800 tonnes of water. Current arable fields have 5% carbon so around 660 tonnes of water holding capability assuming the water can get into the soils and they are not too compacted and run off taking the top soils with it.....
Are you a farmer? Do you begin to see how much risk you are introducing into your farming? Your growing reliance on ever more expensive chemicals and your reducing soil capability to grow your crops due to reducing water and compaction just escalates the cultivation risks beyond acceptable. This inflection point of risk to return has been reached by many farmers. Many more cannot afford fertilizers and soon many more will face the same difficult decisions.
The good news is that there may be a way for every farmer to replace chemicals with organic soils.
Basic Living Soils formula.
Before we explain how this can work, lets be clear that Organic Living Soils are not a simple recipe of carbon and nitrates blended together. Their is process, controls, heat, rebuilding and optimizing and knowledge of the microbes and biome specific to the crops and ground that have to be created like a cake mix. This is best done by the experts. So a super soil center where farmers can go and get the living soils makes a lot of sense.
Lets also consider what living soils are made of. Most of the base soil mix is carbon and nitrate sources so wood as carbon and leaves or grass (green biomass) as nitrates. There are many other sources that can be included such as food waste, ash from biomass fired power stations, civic waste all of which could also be brought to the soil center and repurposed into Organic Living Soils. This would still not be enough volume. The majority of the volume required to make this work would be from the farms themselves.
Think about it, farmers grow biomass (crops and trees) for a living. Convert some of that into their organic fertilizers . Brilliant, simple and reliable. Actually this should drop the costs of inputs for growing crops from a current 15-20% of crop value for chemicals to a 2-3% for organic fertilizers. That is a huge change in farming costs. What about the crops? The quality will increase very quickly. Quantity will follow as the soil health increases which relates to the volume of soil organic carbon. The best way to transition is to optimize one field at a time, not by partial applications over time.
It should be noted that a transition from Chemical based farming to organic will take three years for the chemicals to reduce to an organic level. None the less the produce will be far better than chemical grown.
Picture Organic Rice grown with aerobic root - so not flooded fields. 500% bigger than Chemical Rice in the adjoining field.
Organic on the left, chemical on the right. Something like 500% bigger commercial yields from Organic than Chemical. Imagine that with Sugar Cane, Sorghum, Cassava, Forestry, Rubber, Mango, Oranges. Do the maths. Farming becomes much more commercially attractive.
So the arguments for the farmer to rebuild the soils are logical from a 'going concern' or business perspective. A farm with healthy soils is a valuable farm.
Are you a farmer? Do you want help to put this scheme in place? Contact us through Facebook Wealthyfarmer_net or go to www.WealthyFarmers.net and join us so we can help you put these plans in place.
Why should Governments support this program?
There are a number of reasons.
1. Carbon Capture. Soils are the optimum low tech and immediate Carbon Capture technology you need to realize your COP26 obligations. The farmers will put the carbon in the soils for you...empower them!
2. Economic Growth. Imagine every single farm being commercially productive and growing value to support food, energy and construction needs domestically and perhaps even tied to exports? Grown value means GROWTH in the economy.
3. National Security. Imagine being able to secure your own food and water security for your people and businesses from your own domestic production. You can of course. Want to know more about the numbers? Make sure and catch the next and other articles.
More on why Governments, local and national, should adopt this Organic Living Soils Program on Wednesday 21st July 2022.
Like what you read? Agree or not agree with what you we have to say? Comment, forward and join. Together we can only get closer to the answers we need to begin to reverse climate change, water scarcity and make farming better for farmers and consumers alike.
Efficiency Professor Copyright July 2022