Making the Transition To Non-toxic / Biological / Sustainable Agriculture
The most comprehensive results are obtained when two distinct types of soil tests are used. The first soil test is the standard Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) which provides information as to how much of each nutrient is present in the soil. This test can be compared to a savings account…. how much total money do I have to work with? The second test is a LaMotte test, a water-soluble (soil solution soluble) test using a modified LaMotte extraction which shows how much of each nutrient is available to the crop. This can be compared to a checking account…. how much money do I have to work with today?
Each of these tests provides distinct and different information about your field. The purpose of these tests is to determine which minerals need adding, activating or suppressing and which ratios need to be changed/balanced. Other specialized tests such as paramagnetism and humus can provide further information as to the state of your soil.
The second step is to begin the process of bringing the LaMotte readings closer to the desired amounts and ratios for optimum crop response. Biological activity is the key to making the nutrients more available. Therefore, all fertilizer/chemical inputs must be evaluated in terms of their impact on microbial systems in your soil or on plant tissue. Usually only one or two non-desirable fertilizers must be removed from your current program and a few new kinds of fertilizers may have to be added as well as biological activators like sugar, molasses, bacteria and enzymes.
The primary change is toward an emphasis on calcium and phosphorus and away from excess nitrogen and potash. Emphasizing nitrogen may provide the dark green color associated with a supposedly good crop, but it may also expose the crop to excess nitrates that can cause lodging, nematode and root rot, disease and insect susceptibility, lowered feed values and shorter shelf life. Excess potassium and reduced calcium may also cause more broad-leaf weed and sour grass pressure. Emphasizing available calcium and phosphate increases plant health and vigor, raises the sugar (brix) levels, and increases shelf life. The cleanliness and energy content of the fertilizers must also be considered. Some conventional dry fertilizers applied at the usual rates of 100 to 400 lbs/acre may provide high levels of energy, but may also contain contaminants that lower the overall effect. Nutrient tie-ups and rapid energy loss may also result. Quality liquid fertilizers applied at 6 to 8 gallons/acre usually have little or no contamination and seem to have higher energy per unit of material. A well-balanced soil with good humus may be able to function with non-standard fertilizers such as natural phosphates, Epsom salt, K-Mag™, natural potassium sulfates, compost, fish hydrolysates, bacteria, enzymes and carbohydrates. Fertility inputs must be matched to the state of recovery of the soil and its type for maximum efficiency.
Nontoxic/Biological/Sustainable/Organic/Quantum are whole new paradigms in agriculture, so you have to adjust your thinking to work with the natural systems in your soil and crops.
The selection of the right inputs will have a tremendous impact on improving beneficial soil and leaf microbes that will begin to control pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and nematodes. The increased brix (dissolved solids, mostly sugars) means additional energy in the plant to strengthen its immune system against frost, insects, and diseases. More energy can then go into increasing crop vigor, feed value, fiber quality, and yield. The transition allows for the reduction or elimination of herbicides, pesticides, or nematicides because they are just not needed.
In order to achieve these kinds of results (they are really just the way nature is supposed to work), the inputs must be as bio-enhancing as possible. From a scientific standpoint, this means that the energy patterns of the inputs must resonate with the energy patterns of your soil and crop. The method used to determine this resonance is called programming with an electronic scanner. CSI uses the scanner and knowledge of biological principles to prescribe what your crop needs. Although it has limitations, we feel it is one of the better systems available.
The ultimate goal is to be as self-sustaining as possible with limited outside inputs. Fertility should be coming from crop extrudates and residues and natural amendments such as lime, gypsum, composts, liquid fish hydrolysates, seaweed, rock minerals, carbohydrates, etc. Once you have reached this stage, it is then very easy to seek organic certification if desired and not have to worry about being overwhelmed by weed, insect and disease problems. CSI is also able to lead you into Bio-Dynamic (Rudolph Steiner) concepts of growing as well as integrating the best of all paradigms into Quantum Agriculture. We will be there to help you no matter which approach you choose.
A grower can and must consistently monitor his fields and crops, because it is impossible to predict changes in weather and it’s economically and environmentally unsound to overdose fertilizers or spray chemicals by the calendar. Monitoring consists of using field meters that give instant readouts, and observations you can check with a knife and shovel such as compaction, roots, node blockages, stem shape and condition, fruit size and number. Portable meters can read Brix (sugar), pH, N, K and ERGS (energy flow or EF) in soils and plants. Your eyes can watch weed vigor decrease, sour grasses not emerge, insects feeding on weeds or not entering your crop from across the fence (where your neighbor has to spray), and good insects (predators) thriving in your fields.
Often, during the first year of a good transitions program, fruit and vegetable growers may see better flavor, less insect problems and better shelf life. Fiber growers may see better quality, and cash croppers may see better soil tilth. Livestock producers may see the benefits of biologically grown feeds that include increased TDN/RFV values and reduced presence of chemical contaminates which translates into decreased sickness, breeding, and birthing problems and increased productivity. (A typical veterinarian cost reduction is 50% or more on a biological program.)
Only “mother nature” can determine when the biological processes will reactivate in your fields to produce the results outlined. It may occur slowly (several years) or quickly (the first season). How much you learn, understand, and then apply is the other factor to your success.
CSI, Inc. offers lab work, recommendations, products and consulting services on an international basis.