Your Soils Will Never Be sustainable With Synthetics

Yep. Okay. We have, through that PLFA test* I talked about. They will test for mycorrhizal fungi. Now, I go back to when any soil microbiologist comes to my place and we talk about it, I go back to, there’s several that I highly respect, Dr. Christine Jones, Dr. Chris Nichols, Dr. Jill Clapperton, and they will all tell you, they know less than 1% of what happens in the soil, and the species that are in the soil. If they know less than 1%, I’ll tell you, Gabe Brown knows zero. So who am I to say what species needed or not.

I have never added anything. I just think that, in a healthy environment, it’s there. Most cropland fields have some native area attached, fairly close by it. It’s gonna spread throughout, and that’s all we’ve relied on, but we have tested for mycorrhizal fungi in general, but not species-specific.

Yep. I’m not smart enough to think about that. Colin, are you? Need a few beers before we get that smart, yeah?

Gabe, you mentioned before not waiting to put out fertilisers immediately. If you were going to wait up, would you use a more rock phosphate fertiliser, or just a chemical fertiliser?

Yeah, that’s a great question. Obviously, in my mind, I’d rather use a more natural fertiliser source, if possible and available and affordable. Maybe the first few years. Realise, the quicker you do it, the quicker you’re gonna get closer to your end goal, but it’s up to each individual what he can afford and what he or she has access to.

Now, what got me to zero fertiliser, besides the four crop failures, that got me to zero in a hurry, but then I started using synthetics again. Then, in 2003, Dr. Chris Nichols came to the ARS (Agricultural Research) station located near me and she came out to my place. She told me, Gabe, your soils will never be sustainable as long as you use synthetics, so for the next four years, I did split trials, and I highly recommend, people, to do this on their own land. We took half of a paddock, would fertilise according to soil tests, half the paddock nothing, zero. Now, I’d recommend, maybe, some increments. All four years, the non-fertilized was equal or greater in yield, and I was doing this over multiple paddocks. Well, that told me, boy. ’07 was the last year, we quit.

* phospholipid fatty acid analysis


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