Peter Andrews on Natural Sequence Farming 2009

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Founder of Natural Sequence Farming Peter Andrews was Keynote Speaker at the Third Annual Carbon Farming Conference & Expo 2009 in Orange NSW Australia - the only soil carbon farming conference of its type in the world.

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Peter Andrews on Natural Sequence Farming 2009

  1. 1. How to Manage your Microbes to make Carbon Maarten Stapper BAgSc, AgEng, PhD, FAIAST Carbon Farming Conference Orange, 4 November 2009
  2. 2. Soil the Foundation of Ecosystems <ul><li>Ecosystem – the interactions between community and its non-living environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Humus – active, stable carbon – the bond between living and non-living parts in soil. </li></ul><ul><li>Soil fertility – the capacity to Receive, Store and Transmit energy. </li></ul>Microbial activities
  3. 3. <ul><li>Sun + CO 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Green Plants – solar pumps </li></ul><ul><li>Water </li></ul><ul><li>Soil – engine room </li></ul><ul><li>Soil Organic Carbon </li></ul><ul><li> Microbial bridge </li></ul>Plant Production Systems Living photosynthesis resynthesis exudation humification
  4. 4. Paddock health Precision Farming? Conservation farming?
  5. 5. Problems in high production agriculture <ul><li>Green Revolution is stalling. </li></ul><ul><li>World-wide in modern farming we need more and more fertilisers and chemicals to achieve the same yield ! </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing dependency synthetic inputs while </li></ul><ul><li>decreasing microbial activity </li></ul>
  6. 6. Agricultural Science Supported Solutions <ul><li>Genes vs Management </li></ul><ul><li>Pests & diseases – kill! IPM: still there </li></ul><ul><li>Soil – pH, compaction, erosion </li></ul><ul><li>Technology – machines, VRT, controlled traffic . . . </li></ul><ul><li>Modelling – What is a number? Mechanistic & linear thinking, assumptions . . . Calibrated with current practice & thinking. </li></ul><ul><li>Diminished critical thinking? Where is systems thinking? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Our current problems…… <ul><li>and by </li></ul><ul><li>separating the science of </li></ul><ul><li>production and environment within same ecosystem ! </li></ul>Created by unconnected, individual, single factor solutions in parts of the farming system, that confuse the ecosystem ,
  8. 8. Science and our current problems…… Missing links stifle real solutions, keep needing band-aids on dead soils while working on symptoms !
  9. 9. How to obtain better solutions? <ul><li>No problem will be solved </li></ul><ul><li>with the same level of thinking </li></ul><ul><li>that created it in the first place. </li></ul><ul><li>Albert Einstein </li></ul>We need New Thinking: Holistic Management for New Systems: Biological Agriculture
  10. 10. Biological Farming Systems <ul><li>Ecosystem: Biodiversity – self-organisation </li></ul><ul><li>re-activate microbes </li></ul><ul><li>Hydrologic cycle – water availability </li></ul><ul><li>Mineral cycle – nutrient availability </li></ul><ul><li>Nutrient rich food from Healthy Soils </li></ul><ul><li>Healthy humans, animals & plants </li></ul><ul><li>with management practices </li></ul><ul><li>for profitable farming! </li></ul>
  11. 11. 2 April 2005 7 days after grazing for 3 days by 2600 sheep 10 ha David Marsh “Allendale”, Boorowa, NSW Cell Grazing
  12. 12. Bruce Maynard “Willydah”, Naromine NSW No Kill Cropping
  13. 13. Colin Seis “Winona”, Gulgong NSW Pasture Cropping
  14. 14. Continuous Cropping <ul><li>Maximise stubble digestion </li></ul><ul><li>Stubble-soil contact </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid standing stubble in next crop </li></ul><ul><li>Maximise ground cover </li></ul>
  15. 15. Green or Brown Manure Cover crop
  16. 16. <ul><li>Requires: </li></ul><ul><li>Full ground cover with active growing plants and deep & dense roots, </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon source – plant residues & exudates and microbes + worms , </li></ul><ul><li>N, P & S availability to make humus , </li></ul><ul><li>Minimise use of synthetic fertilisers & chemicals. </li></ul>Regenerative farming – making new soil
  17. 17. Plant Health on Healthy Soil…… Balanced, nutrient rich plants Internal resistance against insects & diseases + external protection Avoiding : leaf & soil borne diseases insect damage Tolerance to environmental stresses
  18. 18. Animal Health on Healthy Soil…… Contented animals needing less time for grazing improved fertility high quality produce productive avoiding : Foot rot Mastitis Bloat Pink eye Johne’s worms, ticks . . . .
  19. 19. Importance of soil management <ul><li>Farming systems </li></ul><ul><li>Industrial Ag: maximize output thru inputs </li></ul><ul><li> humans </li></ul><ul><li>Biological-Organic Ag: maximize soil health </li></ul><ul><li>soil organisms </li></ul><ul><li>feeding & protecting growing plants </li></ul>VRT
  20. 20. Elaine Ingham, SFI
  21. 22. Healthy soil + rhizosphere Not healthy soil – rhizosphere On side-by-side paddocks
  22. 23. Humus compounds formed by: Worms Mycorrhyza Bacteria spp. Actinomycetes worm cast Biological Farming – Carbon Farming 10 cm Soil Carbon: + 0.2-0.5% pa = 3 – 7 tonne C/ha/yr ( half from exudates )
  23. 24. <ul><li>Physical Functions </li></ul><ul><li>improves soil structure, stability </li></ul><ul><li>improves water holding capacity </li></ul><ul><li>improves water retention </li></ul><ul><li>alters soil thermal properties </li></ul><ul><li>Chemical Functions </li></ul><ul><li>contributes to CEC </li></ul><ul><li>buffering changes in pH </li></ul><ul><li>complexes cations </li></ul><ul><li>promotes binding of minerals </li></ul>after Krull et al. 2004 <ul><li>Biological Functions </li></ul><ul><li>home for soil organisms </li></ul><ul><li>source for regeneration </li></ul><ul><li>reservoir of available nutrients </li></ul><ul><li>contributes to resilience of system </li></ul>Functions Organic Matter Life Force
  24. 25. Total Extractable Exchangeable Soluble Biology Roots Bacteria and Fungi Soil Nutrient Pools Soil Foodweb Instute Biology
  25. 26. Biological inputs <ul><li>Biological stimulants : humates, fulvic & humic acids, seaweeds, molasses, fish proteins, BD preparations, exhaust fumes </li></ul><ul><li>Biological inoculants : compost, compost teas, Liquid brews, VAM, worm juice </li></ul><ul><li>Mineral fertilisers : soft rock phosphate, rock minerals, lime, gypsum, exhaust fumes </li></ul><ul><li>Biological fertilisers : worm juice, worm cast, fish proteins, seaweed, compost, compost tea, composted manure, BD preparations. </li></ul><ul><li>NO SILVER BULLITT </li></ul>
  26. 27. Making soils healthy to
  27. 28. Ron & Bev Smith “Orana” Fish Creek, Vic increase rooting depth
  28. 29. Weedy paddock problem succession onion- barley- rye- wheat brome- silver - barley grasses low high order soil carbon low high microbes B high B=F
  29. 30. Weedy paddock problem succession disturbance fire, flood, weather, (over)grazing, cultivation, chemicals onion- barley- rye- wheat brome- silver - barley trees grasses low high order soil carbon low high higher microbes B high B=F F high
  30. 31. Sustainability of Biological Agriculture <ul><li>Shapes & relationships in nature are not in fixed patterns. </li></ul><ul><li>When we insist on controlling nature, we are interfering with nature’s rhythms. </li></ul><ul><li>Embrace the infinite variation </li></ul>
  31. 32. m.c.escher
  32. 33. Change Management Stepping into a new way of thinking A new paradigm . . .
  33. 34. Change Management <ul><li>current paradigm – new paradigm </li></ul><ul><li>known certain – uncertainty – new certain </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t know what we don’t know </li></ul><ul><li>belief – change – new belief </li></ul><ul><li>This involves: </li></ul><ul><li>mind vs heart logic vs feeling reasoning vs intuition </li></ul>
  34. 35. Facts of Human learning . . . . <ul><li>Arthur Schopenhauer - 19 th century philosopher </li></ul><ul><li>“ Every truth passes through three stages before it is accepted: </li></ul><ul><li>in the first , it is ridiculed , </li></ul><ul><li>in the second , it is opposed and </li></ul><ul><li>in the third , it is regarded as self-evident ”. </li></ul>What knowledge? Who’s truth?
  35. 36. Take Home Message Microbes are required to increase the immune system of SOIL & PLANTS with soil carbon the driver and participant!
  36. 37. Manage Your Microbes to Make Carbon With thanks to David Marsh, Christine Jones, Bev & Ron Smith, Adrian Lawrie, Elaine Ingham, Rhonda & Bill Daly, Colin Seis, Brian Walker, Bruce Maynard, Arden Anderson, Amos Ferguson, Peter Andrews, Clive Kirkby, Robert Bull, Jeptha Gates http://BioLogicAgFood.com.au [email_address] Thank You DVD

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