Biology Supersedes Chemistry
August 22, 2022
One of the most asked questions I get from customers is how can they improve their soils. Today, I want to share some facts, principles, and actions you can use to improve your soil health.
My first point is you can have mineral nutrition perfectly balanced on a soil analysis and yet will not grow healthy plants on that soil as long as you have poor biology. Chemistry alone - without biology - does not grow healthy plants.
Are you skeptical? Then consider that there is no chemical fertilizer applied to old growth forest or virgin Great Plains yet these native ecosystems have adequate or abundant levels of nutrients to grow healthy plants. Observations on my farm suggest the yield is better with biology than chemical as well.
Dr. Elaine Ingham in her more than 40 years of research found that soil with a 1:1 ration of bacteria to fungi was optimal.
Last December my soil test confirmed that my soils had abundant nutrients to grow plants - however, my soil biology is 9:1 Bacteria to Fungi. Several points about weeds. First, weeds are alerting you there is an in-balance in your soils. Guess what, those weeds are there to help solve your soil problem. When the problem improves then the weeds will go away and a higher plant succession will take over.
The high bacteria ratio suggest in some cases our soils are more anaerobic (at least some compaction that has removed air pockets) vs. aerobic soils (with oxygen) that are required for fungi to survive. Some pastures we have high NO3 levels especially where the hens mobile tractor has been. Again, weeds are helping to solve the problem by digesting and lowering these levels.
Actions we are taking to improve our soils are:
1) Create the right physical environment for soil biology. This includes no-till planting only (we do not turn the soil in our pastures at all). We keep our soils covered with plants. If you want to see a powerful testimonial of how tillage destroys soil health then click this link to see a video of Ray Archuletta demonstrating a rainfall simulator on various soil types at the 2016 Grassfed Exchange Conference in Perry, GA. His demonstration starts at about 14:30 in his presentation.
2) Add biology that has been lost. We researched and chose the Johnson Su bioreactor that will make high fungal compost. We then extract the biology from the compost and spray onto our pastures.
3) Constantly feed the biology with mulch or cover crops. We unroll our hay onto the soil to feed the cows during the period between December - January. Additionally, we are planting diverse cover crop mixes that not only feed the cows, but feeds the soil biology as well.
Each of these actions are designed to improve soil aggregates (make the soil more aerobic - with oxygen), improve the balance of soil biology, and grow and maintain soil biological life.
You can do the same for your landscape whether it be your garden, raised beds, etc. The best time to start for a successful Spring garden is this fall. Buy and plant a deer food plot mix of diverse seeds. Build a Johnson Su bioreactor for compost. Here is a YouTube link to learn more from Dr. David Johnson.
A book we picked up on gardening this Spring is "Skills For Growing" by Charles Dowding. I would encourage you to become as self sufficient as possible for your families vegetable needs. The time to start is now.
Allow me to share a final thought written by Mary Ann Lieser- Edward Faulkner's Plowman's Folly was first published in 1943, on the heels of the Dust Bowl. During the 1930's, the southern Great Plains had seen millions of tons of topsoil lost, thousands of families uprooted and impoverished and hundreds of deaths from dust pneumonia. Faulkner's no-till message introduced another way to plant field crops that, had it been widely adopted a few decades earlier would have largely prevented the catastrophe that was the Dust Bowl.
The regenerative practices & benefits we are doing on our farm today have been known for decades. Unfortunately, the problem is not many farmers will adopt the practices.
Maybe you have been looking for premium ALL NATURAL GOODNESS of beef, pork, chicken, and eggs raised on pasture as God intended - with emphasis on Regenerative Principles and NOT conventionally raised animals (with growth hormones, drugs, chemicals, and antibiotics) - and where animals are treated humanely - then you have come to the right farm. Our delivery schedule and product availability is listed below along with order buttons that will take you to our website where you can browse over 90 product choices and place your order from the convenience of your home. It's that simple!
Lastly, Beth & I thank you for trusting us with your food dollars.
** Product Availability Update **
Chicken -Restocked Thursday, August 11th. Next harvest date is August 24th with restock the following day
Eggs - Eggs are still tight but better. Thanks for your patience and remember to check our website each Wednesday just before YOUR delivery.
Beef - Restocked FRIDAY July 22nd. Next restock will be August 22nd.
Pork - Fully Stocked except
bacon. Next harvest date is Monday, August 15th.
Lamb - Next harvest date is later this fall.