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Healthy Farming Healthy Soils Plant Nutrition Animal Nutrition Agricultural Nutrition Sustainable Agriculture Alternative Agriculture

Throughout history humanity has constantly fought a war with the elements of wind and rain in trying to conserve the small amount of topsoil that is the living skin of the earth. In many countries like Australia we have largely lost that war and are also facing other related problems of land degradation in the form of salinity and tree decline. The challenge before us is to look beyond the problem and seek commercial ways to regenerate or to literally 'grow' increasing volumes of topsoil in order to achieve sustainable plant production. This is no small challenge and [yet] many great names in agriculture have spoken of this need. The wording they use often involves a three part saying. For example there is a need to re-generate the soil, to re-build the soil, re-new the soil or re-construct the soil.

The concept of soil regeneration involves the creation of new topsoil and to achieve this two main goals have to be achieved simultaneously: to increase both soil fertility and the granular structure of the soil. Soil regeneration is about building or making topsoil. For example where one inch of top soil is now on your farm the aim is to have twice as much in under three to five years.

In order to regenerate or rebuild your topsoil it is essential to have an understanding of the main natural principals that allow a soil to literally regenerate itself. Nature constantly uses these principles in order to build topsoil. For example consider how nature rebuilds a biological worn out paddock with nature's own mineral gatherers which we call "weeds." The plants collect minerals from the subsoil and bring them to the surface in addition to their root systems aerating the soil.

It is also essential for you to interpret and assess your own soil's current state of regeneration, as by doing this you can identify its potential limitation with a view to determine what form of long and short term cost effective soil regenerative strategy can be taken. These soil regenerative strategies can be described as "triggering mechanisms" that change the soil environment and so enable the further progression and development of a greater quality and volume of top soil within a given soil type. Triggering mechanisms may including soil aeration, appropriate fertiliser applications i.e Lime if it is needed and grazing.

Soil regeneration greatly relies on soil forming plant life and active beneficial soil organisms. Many soils are biologically dead and part of our aim is to create the right environment so the "life" in the soil can continue to recycle nutrients and thus increase the sustainability of the property. The end result of nutrient recycling is a farmer's most valuable asset - humus. The on going formation of humus in the form of Polysaccharides is the natural outcome of a biologically healthy and productive soil.

In summary we will be focusing on exploring different management strategies in the form of triggering mechanisms that can be used to enhance your soil's own natural self perpetuating regenerative process. Learning to farm with nature!

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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Copyright Healthyag.com 2001