Bioferts: You Can Have It All - Carbon, Production and Profil


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Bart Davidson of BioNutrient Solutions shares his legendary knowledge of practical biofertiliser usage 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. (4-5 November 2009)

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  • RIGHTO!! Strap in and take a breath – this is a ride thru our world, keep focused and keen! Note – the perspective of all that follows is purely through the perspective of the Farmer – particularly broadacre ones, but as an ecosystem, not a battle field. It is CRITICAL the farmers – as land management decision makers – have a win, before the traders, speculators and business community. This one is different.
  • For us its not about carbon trading in the future – its about viability now
  • Well this was in 2005, when Carbon had no value, energy was cheap and fertiliser too.
  • Because we use a lot of it. Fossil fuels and current agriculture are linked at the hip.
  • This is all before the real whammy of carbon/energy costs hit the market in future, now is based on supply/demand pressures. Methane has 290 times more impact on greenhouse gases than C02 From now on: Carbon has a Cost (C02) & Value ($/T)
  • Energy consumption globally: 1995 to 2004 US = 90 to 100 Quad China = 35 to 59 quad India = 11 to 15 quad Australia = 4.05 to 5.27 quad
  • Fossil fuel as a long term bet is not clever
  • This is the old Model. Driven by technology, population growth and Extraction in a world with limitless horizons and places to dump. Was a bit ‘Agricultural’
  • To change the world, we must remember our sphere of influence. … to change a continent, we must change a catchment, farms and individual plants in the system We can change plants – plants can change soil and catchments. Funnily enough, we need to change People to change plants, to change soils, to change catchments. Can’t start at top.
  • WHY for each one Need less water, fertiliser energy, rotation, stress, buffers salts, has value $ itself in future? affects yield, stress tolerence to dry, nutrient efficiency, overall resilience future GM $ will be lower if energy costs higher farming is a people thing… called agri-culture for a reason All together, delivers productivity and profitability
  • Applies equally to Horti, Pastures, Cropping
  • It is implicit to all following slides and results, that the tools of Liquid inject, compost, foliar and fertigation were used to achieve the Carbon Pump Biology means capture Carbon at depth and recovery of residues on top Must have all 3. we have learnt the hard way… all are needed to make it fire and be profitable
  • This is Carbon loss
  • Biological complexity is required Driven by range in C:N ratio’s Creates the environment and in constant state of flux Biology is the ARMY of foot soldiers The nutrient is the FUEL Catalysts are the Firing Pin or detonator.
  • In the absence of this stuff, the carbon goes back to atmosphere.
  • Achieved same P Better dollars Better soil chemistry
  • Nutrition means a reaction, where we want it from cheap energy inputs so the plants can feed the Biology by pumping sugars into the roots.
  • Double coleoptile on seedling - rare
  • We now have over 2000 sap tests from southern SA thru western victoria, NSW to Northern Downs – which has taught us about impact of salts on nutrition, the changing nutrition requirements of crop thru the season How much leverage we have with strategic inputs – N, Calcium and trace elements
  • 1/6 th of yield, ie 17%, gone right there with lack of Boron during critical stage
  • Bare patches are where manure piled up
  • This is an extreme – what we have found is that salts are impacting yield even when not visual to this extent.
  • Salts can be… nitrate, sulphate, sodium and chloride… all contribute to EC
  • Bare patches are where manure piled up
  • Sodic soil that was abandoned by the Israelis
  • So for mineral replacement – instead of salt based fertilisers or manures, we use compost
  • GOAL – viable farming system into perpetuity Tools – plants… crops and pastures, trees and weeds… our husbandry of them is the how to OUTCOMES more Carbon IN than OUT Profitability from managing Cost of Production Capacity Building… not a culture of dependence
  • The red line is now
  • The fact is energy supply from Oil is going to decline and as it does energy costs for industry that have no alternative will get hurt
  • Bioferts: You Can Have It All - Carbon, Production and Profil

    1. 1. BioFerts Carbon, Productivity & Profit… Have It All
    2. 2. Why all the fuss about Carbon in Farming?
    3. 3. <ul><li>Summarise the big picture for BNS… we use Carbon to make carbon, carbon is an outcome. </li></ul><ul><li>We make more money for our growers by reducing cost of production & keeping yield up… do this by leveraging Carbon / energy and nutrition </li></ul><ul><li>Increase production by overcoming the impediments to it… high N, high salt, low carbon </li></ul>
    4. 4. Farming as a Global Enterprise … Profit YIELD - 3% increase/yr $/ha Time Cost of Production - 8% increase/yr
    5. 5. Global Fertiliser Consumption Source: KG Soh, International Fertiliser Industry Assoc. Paris 1930 1975 1999 2008 Nitrogen (N) 1.3 43.9 85.0 100.1 Phosphate (P2O5) 2.8 25.8 33.4 40.0 Potash (K2O) 1.4 21.4 22.1 28.4 Total (M.t) Nutrient 5.5 91.1 140.4 168.6 Avg Yield Cereals t/ha 1.1 2.0 3.3 ?
    6. 6. Global Fertiliser Use
    8. 8. Nutrient Pathways 2008… <ul><li>8 Million Tonne of compostable organic (nutrient) waste sent to landfill </li></ul><ul><li>Cost > $250M to local Councils </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nutrient Replacement Value > $1Billion </li></ul></ul>Designing Fertiliser…Building Value
    9. 9. <ul><li>Cost of Carbon emissions are </li></ul><ul><li>presently ignored in fertiliser: </li></ul>10,000m 3 Methane CH4 Per Tonne Anhydrous
    10. 10. In 1940… Source: Giampatro & Pimental 1994 ENERGY to Feed a Man 1040 calories 2500 calories IN OUT Paddock to Plate
    11. 11. Source: Giampatro & Pimental 1994 2500 calories IN OUT Paddock to Plate Today 25,000 calories ENERGY to Feed a Man
    12. 12. 10 in… 1 out = an energy deficit yet there is a food surplus? ENERGY The difference comes from the Consumption of Capital
    13. 13. <ul><li>Land area required to support average global consumption… 2.2 Ha /person </li></ul><ul><li>Available land area = 1.5 Ha /person </li></ul><ul><li>This is reducing to 1.0 Ha by 2040 under business as usual </li></ul>Sources: Venetoulis & Talberth, 2006; Meadows, 1996; WA State of Environment Report, 2007 Global Footprint
    14. 14. Biologically productive land AVAILABLE per person
    15. 16. Painted ourselves into a corner? It’s a bit ‘Agricultural’ really Profit YIELD - 3% increase/yr $/ha Time Cost of Production - 8% increase/yr
    16. 17. Can we agree things need to change?
    17. 18. The New Model… <ul><li>“ If you eat… You’re involved!” </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculturalists are Valued! </li></ul><ul><li>Lets invert the supply chain of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intellectual Property </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Risk … create an obligation to care from suppliers to consumers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nutrient supply via decentralisation </li></ul></ul>
    18. 19. Macro to Micro
    19. 20. A Carbon Farming System requires & delivers … <ul><li>More Carbon IN than OUT </li></ul><ul><li>SALT tolerance in the farm system </li></ul><ul><li>Decreasing ENERGY footprint </li></ul><ul><li>PEOPLE with capacity to implement </li></ul><ul><li>Productivity & $$ </li></ul>
    20. 21. A Carbon Farming System needs… <ul><li>Plants as the </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Carbon Pump’… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Which in turn change Soils… </li></ul><ul><li>Farms… </li></ul><ul><li> Catchments </li></ul>
    21. 22. All Plants Created Equal?? The ‘ Carbon Pump’
    22. 24. The Carbon Pump requires <ul><li>Biological </li></ul><ul><li>Complexity </li></ul><ul><li>Using… </li></ul><ul><li>Liquid Injection & Compost </li></ul><ul><li>Foliar & Fertigation </li></ul><ul><li>Agronomic acumen </li></ul>+ + Nutrient Package Catalysts
    23. 25. This ain’t it Slow Burn
    24. 26. Fast Burn
    25. 27. Phwoah – BUT THIS IS!
    26. 28. Collymongle Station – Collarenebri, NSW
    27. 29. Minnell Nth – Toobeah, Qld
    28. 31. Shannonvale – Glen Innes
    29. 32. Shannonvale – Glen Innes
    30. 34. Nutrition for a Carbon Pump… <ul><li>Engineer a Reaction between </li></ul><ul><li>Biology + Nutrient + Catalyst </li></ul>
    31. 35. Tycannah – Gurley, NSW Double coleoptile
    32. 36. Broadacre Planting Rig
    33. 37. Liquid nutrient + biology + catalyst
    34. 38. Seed Box
    35. 39. Little old Combines too
    36. 40. Agronomic Acumen
    37. 41. Crop Physiology <ul><li>Components of yield </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tillers = Heads per hectare </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grains per head </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Weight per grain </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Root volume – achieved from appropriate Starter </li></ul><ul><li>Water Use Efficiency (WUE) – shoot:root ratio </li></ul>
    38. 42. Incomplete Pod Fill - Lupins
    39. 43. Calcium to Boron relationship for all cereal sap samples 2008
    40. 44. Overcoming Salts Tallawanta – Garah, NSW
    41. 45. Same conventional $$ here … as here
    42. 46. My head hurts
    43. 47. We use Calcium carboxylate No Treatment 15L/ha CalPac Treatment
    44. 48. ‘ Bengalla Station’ Lateral Barley - 2008 Carbon
    45. 49. Guano only Liquid Inject + Guano ‘ Bengalla Station’ Barley - 2007 And Biology
    46. 50. We call it CalPac <ul><li>Calcium – soluble form 6% </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon – soluble 25% </li></ul><ul><li>Biology – from compost </li></ul>
    47. 51. Sorted by ratio of Sodium to Calcium A very strong relationship – the higher Calcium the lower the Sodium Sap Calcium Plant Sodium Sap Test Data – 2008 – All Cereals Na ppm Ca ppm
    48. 52. SolidStart Compost – ‘Tallawanta’
    49. 53. Fertiliser Factory Cropping area
    50. 58. The Results Soil Calcium up Soil Sodium down
    51. 59. Soil pH down Soil Organic Matter up 0.12%
    52. 60. 2009 - first Solid Stems
    53. 61. Yield
    54. 62. Economics <ul><li>$ 990/ha more gross margin than conventional </li></ul><ul><li>$5.50 return per $1 spent </li></ul><ul><li>Increase in Yield of 26% across farm in 3 rd year </li></ul><ul><li>Increased cuts per year x 1 </li></ul>
    55. 63. TSI Ag - 5 Year Trend The Goal = 12.5 bale/ha for under $2000/ha
    56. 64. What He Said… <ul><li>Productive viable agricultural landscapes </li></ul><ul><li>Manage Crops/pasture as a Carbon Pump </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon – more In than Out </li></ul><ul><li>Profitability = yield – cost of production </li></ul><ul><li>Building Capacity not dependence </li></ul>     For more info… Sheet in your Bag !
    57. 65. Protozoan Nitrogen Supply
    58. 66. World Oil Production
    59. 67. So, The Diagnosis… <ul><li>You can’t fix a salt problem with more salt! </li></ul><ul><li>Too much unconverted Nitrate in the system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>opportunity cost to yield & more insects </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Soil Mineral imbalance… Magnesium, Sodium </li></ul><ul><ul><li>creates inefficiency </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Standard fertiliser programs often make it WORSE </li></ul>
    60. 69. <ul><li>Dr. Ian Mulleins, a member of the United States Agricultural Research team, plans an initiative to examine the long-term effects of chemically manufactured Nitrogen fertilizers. Recently he noted that the U.S. is producing so much artificially fixed Nitrogen for agriculture that nearly one-third of all Nitrogen content in the human body comes from artificial sources! </li></ul>
    61. 71. 12L CerealRS 35kg MAP Adjacent Fields, Same Soil
    62. 72. Nutrient Sequence <ul><li>Calcium, assisted by Molybdenum, is the basis of Nitrogen fixation and amino acid chemistry. </li></ul><ul><li>Nitrogen, allied with Calcium in the form of amino acids, reacts with every other nutrient element, the most important being Magnesium, which is the basis for chlorophyll and photosynthesis. </li></ul><ul><li>Chlorophyll traps energy and shunts it via Phosphorous into Carbon structures, which go where Potassium, the main electrolyte, carries them. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus the biochemical sequence for plants is… </li></ul><ul><li>B, Si, Ca, N, Mg, P, C, K. </li></ul><ul><li>Source - Hugh Lovell </li></ul>
    63. 73. Disease Susceptibility In the plant, pectin is the material that joins the plant cells together. When fungus enzymes break down the pectin in leaves, they allow entry.
    64. 75. Earthworms under Cotton .