Miscellaneous ideas

Chicken soup for the soil – a soil amendment I recently applied

One of the best things about my job is I get to see my mentors relatively regularly as the regenerative agricultural world is rather small. One of the pioneers of the movement in this country is Dick Isted. They farm near Lady Grey in the Eastern Cape. They have been building fertility there for many years. Click here to get some insight into their farm.

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Dick and his wife Margot came to the farm in October last year and after some hen massage we went looking in the soil. Dick was very clear that my plants needed help and the only way was through a soil amendment that Jerry Brunetti designed. He called it chicken soup for the soil. For the recipe and the suppliers of the various products click here chicken soup for the soil, oct 2016 Note that in Jerry’s recipe he used molasses. I have chosen not to use it as I have no interest in Glyphosate being on my farm. I am working on a blog on this carcinogen/descaling agent.

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Luckily for me I have neighbours who have the right, big spray equipment. The mixing tank on the right and the boom sprayer on the left and below.

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The boom sprayer in action

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To ensure that the mix is made up properly requires someone with brains. Fortunately Matt has plenty of that. He worked on the farm for 2 months after university, prior to going to the US. He has a podcast that goes by the name of In The Know. He interviewed me for his 6th episode.

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Was spending all that money worth it? Absolutely. First, as per the picture above there is good nodulation on the lucerne which was not there in October. Dick is pointing to one of the nodules on the plant roots that is the home of the bacteria that fix Nitrogen from the sky into the plants and the soil. Second, the farm has never looked as good as it did up to three weeks ago. This was after a very hot and long summer following a winter with half the normal rain. 95% of my irrigation water was cut 3 weeks ago. Here is the story.

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After seeing the impact of the chicken soup for the soil, the Isteds and I had a celebratory lunch. I had our rump. The our being the Isteds and I as I had bought the weaner oxen from them almost 2 years ago.

Angus

31 March 2017.

Our farming philosophies explained

I was put in touch with these guys recently and if you click on those highlighted words (especially scroll down to the photos with their subtitles) you will get an erudite explanation of what the philosophical underpinning is to our grazing methodology.

To understand what underlies how we farm in harmony with nature in the genuine sense of holism then you need to click on these words by Nicolas Joly and these by Monty Waldin. They are the most eloquent proselytisers for the BioDynamic movement.

Blogs to follow soon on eggs, pigs and the poison/carcinogen/descaler Glyphosate.

Angus

6 September 2016

This plant is the answer to many of our problems

There is a plant can be harnessed to address many of the problems we face in this country. Nutrition, employment and environmental damage for starters. It can be used to make rope, clothes, food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulation, building materials and biofuel.

This plant is called hemp and it is banned from being grown in this country. Our Ministry of Health decided that because it is in the cannabis family, it will make you hallucinate or have psychoactivity. This is despite the fact that you can smoke hemp all day long without the slightest bit of hallucination. Great discomfort by 5pm, but no hallucinations. This lack of hallucinations is because the active ingredient in hemp, CBD, suppresses the active ingredient in cannabis, THC. THC is what causes the hallucinations.

We are a malnourished country. Obesity, starvation and infertility are all forms of malnutrition. We are the third most obese nation on earth. Malnutrition starts in the soil. In a previous column I have elaborated on how our government ensures that we are a malnourished nation, by allowing the farm poison Glyphosate, which chelates our soils and bodies of micronutrients, to be used in the production of all our staple foods. Glyphosate was patented in 1964 as a descaling agent so our soils and bodies are being descaled of micronutrients.

Hemp, unlike wheat, maize, soya and cotton, is not grown with Glyphosate. That automatically means that it is more nutritious than any of the aforementioned plants. The most nutritious part of the plant is the seed. I could fill this whole column with the health benefits of hemp seeds so for brevity they a) have the correct balance of fatty acids, b) contain all 9 known essential amino acids, c) are 25% protein and d) go and buy some and feel for yourself what they do to your body whilst you eat them.

As the world industrialises and urbanises, to the cheerleading of reductionist academia and media, so most rural people move from livelihoods to deadlihoods. Employment in producing food that nourishes gives dignity to these people who have become marginalised by this so called progressive system, also known as capitalism. Hemp offers an opportunity for redemption. It is the one crop that can be grown without using pesticides and herbicides because it is not eaten by any pests and it grows so quickly that it crowds out all competition hence no need for herbicides. It does need to be fed as it is not a legume, a plant that sequesters it’s own Nitrogen, but for organic farmers making compost is easy. Hemp would be the ideal plant to grow, both for all small scale and large scale farmers who, as a rule, are under severe pressure from all sides. Imagine the industries that could be spawned from a plant that can be used for rope, clothes, food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulation and biofuel.

The Chinese army, the biggest in the world, now uses hemp exclusively for their socks, underwear and t-shirts. Because it yields 4 times the yield of cotton from the same piece of land and the clothing has antibacterial properties. Cotton is a big problem. 4% of the world’s agricultural land is used to produce cotton but it uses 24% of the world’s agricultural chemicals. Pesticides, herbicides etc. All of these ‘cides are not on the side of the farmer or the consumer. They are on the side of the agricultural chemical companies.

Continued petitions to the Minister of Health to unlock the potential of this wonder plant is the best course of action for us.

Angus

27 July 2016

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