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Thread: Evidence-based biological farming

  1. #61
    Kentish_Andy
    Guest

    Re: Evidence-based biological farming

    Quote Originally Posted by Feldspar View Post
    I'm straying slightly from the original topic but to help me (somewhat selfishly) keep all the interesting stuff together I'm posting this here.

    I did quite a bit of reading on banding of fertiliser and am now very enthusiastic. In particular I was looking at the behaviour of fertiliser in alkaline calcareous soils (selfishly again!).

    A few information nuggets that I have to think about:

    • Above certain concentrations of ammonium the denitrification process slows or stops completely.
    • Banding is a good way to imp rove the concentration of ammonium.
    • Slower denitrification means a slower production of NO3
    • The trickle-feed rather than torrential release of NO3 reduces leaching and increases N uptake efficiency.
    • This means that either plants yield more or one can use less artificial N.

    I don't think I've understood this totally correctly yet but the paper that I was reading (which is freely available) is:
    Wetselaar, R., et al (1972), "Consequences of banding nitrogen fertiliser in soil".

    The next thing I wanted to get at was the effect of ammonium sulphate upon the local pH in calcareous soils. I came up with this:
    http://link.springer.com/article/10....011790?LI=true
    Not UK wheat I admit but I think the principles remain the same. Shows the promise of increasing micro-nutrient availability by using an acidifying fertiliser without having to fork out lots of money on extra trace element products. This has been discussed on here before but I am only just beginning to understand the importance of it. Exciting.

    My research then wandered along a bit further until I bumped into this:
    Holloway, R. E., (2001), "Improving fertiliser efficiency on calcareous and alkaline soils with fluid sources of P, N and Zn".
    Again freely available and with very interesting results which I understand to be:

    • Banded liquid MAP is very significantly better than banded granular MAP in terms of evenness of crop growth, dry matter mass and grain yield.
    • Reasoning for the above result is due to a higher mobility of liquid product and hence greater spreading through soil profile.
    • It seems that application of N, P and Zn on these soils is very definitely worthwhile.

    Too much interesting material for one afternoon. Some may not be relevant to me but it's certainly food for thought.
    Next you will be buying a CULTAN rig!

  2. #62
    Feldspar
    Guest

    Re: Evidence-based biological farming

    Quote Originally Posted by Kentish_Andy View Post
    Next you will be buying a CULTAN rig!
    Haven't got anything to put it on yet!

    My question was then going to be whether Cross Slot drills are able to apply both solid and liquid fertiliser at the same time.

    Picture 2 on this page seems to suggest it might:

    http://www.crossslot.com/modules/SP_...llery.php?1&60

  3. #63
    Feldspar
    Guest

    Re: Evidence-based biological farming

    Quote Originally Posted by SimonC View Post
    Thankyou Feldspar, that is a very good description of where I was 10 years ago. The time it takes for a farmer to mine himself onto that hole is directly related to the level of fertility, or organic matter, in his soil when he started. On really good land, some farmers may carry on as they are for another 20 years, but there is no getting away from it, they will all end up at the bottom at some point.

    Nature takes one thousand years to build an inch of top soil and farming can loose it in ten, so you see, it is a very difficult and steep climb to start building fertility back into your soil, but it can be done.

    Sorry I didn't know who you were on Wednesday, it would have been interesting talking to you.
    Sorry Simon, I forgot to reply to this.

    It would have been great to have been able to quiz you in person. I find what you have done, your progress and your thoughts extremely interesting.

    When you found yourself in the hole 10 years ago did you also have a refractory father who was unaware of the hole?!

  4. #64
    Kentish_Andy
    Guest

    Re: Evidence-based biological farming

    Quote Originally Posted by Feldspar View Post
    Haven't got anything to put it on yet!

    My question was then going to be whether Cross Slot drills are able to apply both solid and liquid fertiliser at the same time.

    Picture 2 on this page seems to suggest it might:

    http://www.crossslot.com/modules/SP_...llery.php?1&60
    You pull a CULTAN rig with a tractor. Sounds like you need to speak to York

  5. #65
    Feldspar
    Guest

    Re: Evidence-based biological farming

    Quote Originally Posted by Kentish_Andy View Post
    You pull a CULTAN rig with a tractor. Sounds like you need to speak to York
    Whoops!

  6. #66
    Feldspar
    Guest

    Re: Evidence-based biological farming

    Quote Originally Posted by Kentish_Andy View Post
    Next you will be buying a CULTAN rig!
    Too wet this year for CULTAN I think. Wonder if the accountant will allow a set up like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=42kcYrf3w44

  7. #67
    Feldspar
    Guest

    Re: Evidence-based biological farming

    Just went to a lecture given by chap from a multi-national corporation about their version of glyphosate. The only reason that the talk was interesting was because of what he didn't mention. The picture presented was a simple one: glyphosate is not harmful. I was not very convinced and, prompted by some of Mayo's comments, did some bedtime reading.

    This paper made for interesting reading:

    http://etmd.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/1...ND44260932.pdf

    Includes findings that glyphosate applications are linked with increased populations of Fusarium (with the possible explanation that Fusarium is unusual in its ability to use glyphosate as a P source) and other changes in rhizosphere populations. Nothing massively conclusive but much more interesting and complex than was made out.

  8. #68
    knockie
    Guest

    Re: Evidence-based biological farming

    It's a worry! And the more you look into things the more worrying it gets.
    SD.

  9. #69
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Evidence-based biological farming

    Yeah sure glyphosate will throw up some issues but I think you also can look at the positives.

    It is one of the least toxic herbicides and it is cheap. For me the challenge is not to get too handwringing about its problems but to manage and rotate its use like any other tool and keep building towards a better OM and soil structure because that means more processing units in the soil (microbes etc.) as well.

    Progress could be defined as reducing my dependence and amount of it every year whilst both maintaining its use around the farm (because it has some very good aspects).

  10. #70
    Fran Loake
    Guest

    Re: Evidence-based biological farming

    Quote Originally Posted by Feldspar View Post
    Sure if you are a short term tenant with soils that are in good nick I might take the approach you suggest. Being part of a farm where all the land is owned and with, I hope, nearly 50 years of farming in front of me, I am inclined to take the long term view with the expectation that I will be around to see the rewards of putting those calories back in again.

    Can't help but feel envious

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