"Soil-life Governs "

It’s a basic statement and a simple fact, but it remains the most difficult concept for many growers to wrap their heads around. Modern agriculture is now three generations into a chemical experiment, which has ignored the critical importance of soil-life. A host of man-made chemicals have replaced many of the proven, time-honoured, soil-feeding practices, which previously had sustained our soils for centuries (Graeme Sait) We are at war with nature, utilising an ever-increasing armoury of chemical weapons to batter our ‘foes’ into submission. However, this is an unwinnable war. It cannot be won, because we do not understand the enemy. We frantically struggle to sanitise and subdue a natural system without understanding how that system works. We have failed to grasp the fact that insect and disease pressure are ‘symptoms’ of other problems.

If we accept that ‘soil-life governs production’, then it becomes blatantly obvious that we must work with nature rather than against her. When we apply minerals in a balanced form in the soil, it is not solely for the sake of the plant. A minerally balanced soil determines the efficiency of the five billion microorganisms, which inhabit every teaspoon of healthy soil. Disease protection, nutrient uptake, available nitrogen supply and mineral stability are all functions of an efficient microbial workforce. Every management decision will have an impact on this precious soil-life. In this context, the critical question, “Does nature approve?”, can become a simple guideline in the evaluation of any proposed action. Biological farming is about sustainability, profitability and new-found enthusiasm, and it is based on working with nature rather than against her. The proactive bio-farmer drives the crop cycle with a confidence based on knowledge and understanding. The master of the growing craft appreciates the holistic essence of crop management. Often complex interrelationships can be better understood within a framework. Key concepts should be identified to develop an umbrella perspective. The key concepts in high-yielding agriculture are not calcium, humus management or soil balance, as we might suspect. The single most important determinants of yield are in fact **chlorophyll **and photosynthesis. These two features of plant biology are only ever given token coverage in crop management discussions, but good management of chlorophyll and photosynthesis will have more impact on your profitability than any other management approach.