Take care of soil: US agronomist

NEW ZEALAND - Arden Andersen says farmers are ignoring their most important livestock - the microbiological life that exists in the soil.
calendar icon 6 March 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
The American agronomist, who spoke at eCogent's annual conference at the Kingsgate Hotel in Hamilton last week, believes over-use of conventional chemicals like nitrogen and potassium is damaging the soil, leading to poor plant growth, poor animal health and poor human consumer health.

The answer, according to Dr Andersen, who is also a GP and doctor in the US Air Force, is reducing the inputs of conventional chemicals and nurturing the microbiology of the soil.

Dr Andersen, who was raised on a dairy farm in Michigan, said farmers needed to inoculate the soil with the biological agents it was missing.

"They have poor food, are missing and, in some cases, they never were there."

For Dr Andersen, inoculating the soil with microbiological organisms is comparable to taking a pro-biotic to prevent irritable bowel syndrome after swallowing an antibiotic.

"It's simple," Dr Andersen said. "Turning the system around so that we produce greater dry matter and milksolids per hectare.

"What is in the soil pretty much takes care of the crop and takes care of the cow. If you take care of the soil it will produce a better forage and that will take better care of the cow. All of these things go back to the problem of the diet."

Source: Waikato Times
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