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The term Biological farming has grown in popularity as more conventional farmers seek enhanced methods to improve production efficiency and cost reduction. As with any up skilling of knowledge and skills. Biological farming needs to be learnt and studied, for there are many traps for beginners especially if sudden changes are made [e.g. the rapid reduction in Nitrogen inputs before the soil biology is enhanced].

The term biological is another "grey" area that is used in modern agriculture, due to it being incorporated and used in many different ways. For example Bio-dynamic farming [Biological meaning living processes - Dynamic farming] and in Australia the B.F.A. stands for the Biological Farmers of Australia who use "organic" and Biodynamic farming methods.

Biological Farming is a collective term which has been developed in American Agriculture and can in part be tracked back to the mathematician Dr Carey Reams who was a friend of another like minded mathematician - Einstein [who in part gave Reams the numbers to work]. Reams took his spiritual beliefs and noted a few facts that align his beliefs with that of modern science. For example he taught "God is the basis of life. Life is the basis of energy. Energy is the basis of matter." [Anderson, 1992].

Reams looked at agriculture not as a farmer but as a scientist and a Christian scientist at that. He suggested that plants feed on the energy [gathered and created] that comes from two sources, the soil and the atmosphere. If we consider that 20% of plants' "mineral energy" comes from the soil and the rest of the plants' energy comes from the atmosphere [80%], both the soil and the atmosphere "feed" the plant. The more efficient the soil "energy" is, the greater the plant extracts mineral energy from the air [Beddoe, 1986].

Biological farming is a particularly attractive to vegetable, fruit and cropping farmers as it can give them the tools to manipulate the flowering, fruit setting and seeding of plants. Biological farmers are taught to especially focus on foliage fertilising crops for finishing off a crop as this is when the crop has its highest "energy" demands and when potentially high yields can be achieved.

CASE STUDY Paramagnetism

Phil Callahan describe paramagnetism as a physical force which is beneficial to plant growth. It is "the alignment of a force field in one direction by a substance in a magnetic field" [Callahan, 1995, p.46]. Callahan has measured the "force" that draws the good soil to a magnet and can now measure it in Centimetres Grams per Second (CGS). He describes it as "how much will go how far in one second" [Hensel, 1991, p.79]. Phil has created a "Callahan Meter" which can give a physical measurement of the paramagnetic force of a soil.

How to test your soil Get a good magnet and put some "good healthy soil" in a plastic bag. If you hold the magnet close to the soil the bag will swing towards the magnet - WHY?

If you repeat the experiment with a poor [sub]soil the bag will hardly move [unless of cause it has iron "bits" in it].

Callahan [1995] suggests that farmers should consider using paramagnetic rock material on their soils. So what rock should we consider - granite and basalt.
We also need to consider the size or fineness of the material to be used.

Remembering that we live in a electromagnetic force field which we take for granted. The idea that some material can influence a nature magnetic "force" is not so complex.

In the soil there are two main opposing magnetic forces:
A]. Paramagnetic= Oxygen, the moon, volcanic material [granite and basalt].
B]. Diamagnetic= All water & plants [plants are 90% water]

C]. Ferromagnetic is the third form of magnetism and is the one which we are most used to -
Ferro being Greek for iron.

Skow [1995] suggests that healthy soils are often paramagnetic and have positive magnetic susceptibility. [Or they are like big magnets and pull or draw in energy - both long and short wave]. He also adds a word of caution in that just because a soil is highly paramagnetic, this does not fully guarantee high productivity, but rather the potential for high productivity.

A healthy soil has a high paramagnetic level in it that is beneficial to soil organisms and plant growth. Phil has a simple formula for healthy plants:

Lots of active organic matter
Good drainage & soil porosity
Lots of soil aeration* = healthy plant = no insects or disease.
[High paramagnetism]

The formula for sick plants reflects modern agriculture:

Low organic matter = lots of ammonia
Compacted soil & soil organisms = pumped scent molecules
Dead soil organisms = attracted insects & diseases
[Low Paramagnetism]
[Callahan, 1995]

* Aerating the soil puts energy into the soil as oxygen is highly paramagnetic.

Specific management practices

To give a pragmatic view showing the practical application of Biological agricultural methods a number of unique management characteristics have been identified. In the following list are some examples of specific management practices.

  • Biological soil sprays
  • Use of refractometers and "Brix" levels
  • Paramagnetic Rock
  • Foliage sprays to influence flowering & fruit set
In summary Biological agriculture is moving to be a middle ground between "standard" farming practices and the restrictions of Certified Organic practices [that for examlpe do not allow the use of artificial nitrogen]. This middle of the road approach for example uses very small amounts of nitrogen at strategic times and has given farmers flexibility and cost reductions. Biological farming is in a world wide growth phase and in the near future a focus on biological processes will replace the focus on the "conventional" NPK, pesticide, and herbicide farming practices.

The information contained in this publication has been formulated in good faith, the contents do not take into account all the factors which need to be considered before putting that information into practice. Accordingly, no person should rely on anything contained herein as a substitute for specific professional advice.
S.O.S. Rev 9.2 All rights reserved. Contact: www.healthyag.com © Gwyn Jones 2001

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