The Future of Farming
I have recently seen 2 separate but logically linked theories about the future of farming. One is Australian Soil Carbon Accreditation Scheme by Dr Christine Jones and the other is Natural Sequence Farming by Peter Andrews.
Australian Soil Carbon Accreditation Scheme (ASCAS)
Dr Jones postulates that by having ground cover 100% of the year, as opposed to laying the land bare between crops(that effectively depletes the soil of carbon), that the ground cover converts 60% of the carbon the plants take up is put back into the soil. This helps with making the soil more microbe rich and fertile. It also aids the soil with water retention.
Traditional logic has meant farmers grow a single crop, but Dr Jones theory is to pasture crop. This is where a crop is planted in the ground cover. Traditional logic has always thought that the soil would not have enough water content to support both crop and pasture, but initial trials have shown that crop growth has been non raifall dependent. This is because the ground cover will absorb mouisture overnight and release it into the soil. The methods Dr Jones suggest require the adoption of regenerative farming and grazing methods that result in the active formation of new topsoil. This involves pasture management like not letting cattle graze the ground cover to low. Dr Jones theories are being studied now and I have no doubt, they will be validated, as to my mind it just makes sense.
Natural Sequence Farming
Peter Andrews theory is a little more complex to explain but basically involves controlling and using the natural flood plains, and ground cover and trees, as well as slowing the water flow, emulating the billabongs and estuaries that existed before european farming methods were introduced. Often described as holistic approach, Peter’s methods have been criticized by many but now having support from Gerry Harvey (of Harvey Norman retail empire) and the former governor general of Australia, and some of the CSIRO’s scientists, their is clearly a lot of support from some of the more enlightened minds in the country.
Peters methods are focused on reducing salinity and avoiding the consequences of drought conditions. As with Dr Jones, Peters theories will no doubt be validated in time as proper research is completed but Peters methods clearly work as seen on his and also Gerry Harveys properties and other places where his methods have been adopted.
2 Worlds Collide
Although there are similarities betweeen these 2 theories, they both have one thing in common and that is they both involve a lot of commonsense. If we look after the soil, we end up with more fertile and productive land, and everyone wins when this happens. The sooner our governments get on board and support these great Australians, the better off our nation and the Planet will be.
If you, like me have been impressed by what these 2 great Australians are doing then don’t hesitate to leave a comment or if you have any question, please feel free to ask