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Farming and Agriculture

Only a little – more is deadly

The previous issue highlighted the plight of the soils saturated with phosphate, nitrogen, cadmium and of course the herbicides. There is simply no need to keep heaving all of the above onto the land. The issue is to make available what is already there.
 |  Malcolm Campbell  | 
A beautiful shot of a green field surrounded by high mountains under the cloudy sky

There are high levels of aluminium in most New Zealand soils and aluminium is like a man or woman with loose morals, quite happy to bond with other elements and in this case, very happy to hitch up to phosphate making it unavailable, just locked up in the soil.

In technical terms, the product of phosphorus and aluminium creates a mineral called variscite. The naturally occurring variscite can be used for trinket-type jewellery but has no other apparent value. Interestingly, variscite in Latin terminology is uncountable, which really means the mineral is not easily made available for use. So further applications are as bad an investment as the one before.  Yet the agricultural dogma continues, but science and some practical farmers have realised there are many easier ways to ‘skin a cat’, and the first is to forget what the boffins are telling us as they are a mere extension of the ones trying to sell these products.

This is beginning to look like the people selling drugs. They know very well hallucinatory drugs do you absolute harm, but the pushers are not concerned about your wellbeing.  Those people are only interested in the money. This is where the use of nitrogen fertiliser is so prominent. It is well known that it is at such a level in Canterbury in the ground water, that the water is a danger to human health with elevated levels linked to bowel cancer. The Regional Councils the length and breadth of New Zealand continually cite the discharge of phosphate into our waterways, yet both of these fertilisers are still being promoted.

Another item in a local paper quotes a headline, ‘Save Our Soil’ and a Waikato Regional Council Officer as saying ‘One teaspoonful of soil contains more living organisms than there are people in the world.’

There are zillions of these organisms and visiting US farmers from Missouri, Greg and Jan Judy, recently showed a documentary film of some of these little fellows slaving away as a penetrating grass root went deeper. It was as if these tiny creatures were clearing a path for the root. Then, on a much larger scale, the documentary showed a humble earthworm grasping a grass leaf and hauling it down beneath the surface of the soil. Stunning photography to show us all this activity is in the soil for free, requiring only the correct state of mineral content, to help all of this life to thrive, to make your gardening, farming and horticulture more productive and as I have said, virtually free of charge. The mineral content is vitally important, but at the same time dangerous, as a trace can be crucial and too much.

An example: Years ago, The Department of Agriculture produced a ‘Journal of Agriculture’ from memory, monthly. At one time, investigations were carried out into the role of ‘Molybdenum’ in stimulating clover growth particularly in the Wither Hills near Blenheim. It did stimulate clover growth, but be warned, a little helped the clover.

However, some farmers near to our property were so impressed with the initial response, a little is just a littler, more is deadly  more was applied. Disastrous stock health problems developed, that could only be alleviated by the application of more minerals to nullify the effects of something that was not necessary in the first place.