An Overview of the Ecofarm Systems
When it all comes down to it true productivity is the ability to turn the sun’s energy into energy products. Thus, good farmers will always be converters of energy rather than consumers of energy.
When we understand this we can look at our soils in a very different way. It doesn’t all come down to what the soil’s Olsen P is or what the soil pH is. What it does come down to is the knowledge and ability to identify deficiencies, excesses and limitations that impede the turning of the sun’s energy into energy products and cause other issues such as plant disease, ill health in stock and environmental damage.
Our beginning point is to measure what we are starting with by taking two soil tests. The first one is a total soil test which is very similar to a mining assay. This test determines the total amount of nutrients in the soil. The second test is an available nutrient test that determines what portion of the total nutrients are available to the crop or pasture you are growing.
When we compare these two tests and ask a few questions and make some observations we can identify what’s going on in your soils. Factors such as mineral deficiencies, toxicities and biological problems that need to be dealt with are identified. The soil may require mineral amendments or biological inoculants that bring beneficial biology into the soil or products that can improve electrical energy production in the soil that stimulates biological activity and plant nutrient uptake. This process has many benefits that result in increases in production while lowering
Another important starting point is to accurately measure soil organic carbon to determine the soil organic carbon base line data. This data along with the soil nutrient tests and farm runoff water tests provides the information required to complete a comprehensive environmental plan that is specific to your farm.
This information is needed by all farmers because it gives an accurate picture year on year of the soil nutrient status and soil organic carbon stocks. It leaves no room for conjecture and has become necessary in today’s world where farmers are being
accused of harming the environment. This information will show that you are not damaging the environment: You are enhancing it!
This information not only deals with the Governments environmental compliance it also gives the opportunity to trade carbon credits. Our testing and mapping of farms is showing that farmers can sequester more carbon than what has been thought was possible without hindering their daily farming operations. At today’s (January 2020) price of $25 per NZ Unit ton we have measured increases to the value of $1500 a hectare and higher in a calendar year.
To sum up what we do is to test, measure, question and discuss with farmers what they are wishing to achieve, then combine this to formulate a plan for achieving these goals!
That way we can all partake in producing food fit for consumption while looking after the environment and your wallet at the same time!
Plans & Nutrient Budgets
We believe that only data derived from testing samples that are collected from the farm accurately represent that farms negative or positive influence on the environment.
It is critical to know what is really happening on your farm so only the test results from soil and ground water runoff samples collected from your farm should be included in any farm environment document. If issues are identified by testing in this manner, they can be remedied with management changes. We believe that the correct role of any Farm Environmental Plan is to confirm that maximum production is being obtained without causing environmental damage.
The information produced from our testing protocols that can include total held soil nutrients, available soil nutrients, soil organic carbon testing and ground
water runoff testing when incorporated into our farm mapping tool can create cost effective Farm Environment Plans and Nutrient Budgets. These plans meet all the requirements of any regulatory authority farm environment plan and /or nutrient budget, and they are truly farm specific.
We believe that farm environment plans that include data produced by online nutrient budgeting software modelling tools are imprecise and the data is unreliable. Our farm specific testing is showing that healthy soils with good soil organic carbon levels lead to clean water.
Click the link below and connect with us now for your free strategy session and get your plan started today.
Without accurate soil testing farmers have no idea of the quantity and value of the nutrients they have beneath their feet.
The purpose of the Ecofarm Aotearoa soil testing system is, firstly to measure the total amounts of six key macro nutrients, four key trace elements and two structural minerals that are held in the tested profile and, secondly, in a separate test, measure the amount of those twelve nutrients that are mobilised by the test extractant and are “available”.
We encourage farmers to do both of the following soil analyses which can be done from the same soil sample.
1 The Total Nutrient In Soil Test
The total nutrient soil test is similar to a mining assay. A very strong heated acid solution is used to extract all the held minerals from the soil sample. The extracted quantities of the six macro nutrients; i.e. Sulphur, Phosphorus, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, four trace elements; i.e. Boron, Manganese, Copper, and Zinc and two structural minerals; i.e. Iron and Aluminium. The results are reported in parts per million and kilograms per Ha.
2 The Available Nutrients In Soil Test
An available nutrient test uses an extraction solution to mobilise the minerals held on the soil exchange sites and that are bound to other soil minerals. The quantities extracted are reported in parts per million and kilograms per Ha. The extractant used in the “available” nutrient test is designed to mimic the rhizosphere’s ability to extract nutrients from the total nutrient pool.
With this information we can calculate what the plants are able to mobilise from the total plant nutrient resource that is held in the soil the samples were taken from.
Why 2 Soil Tests
The combination of the two tests shows how much nutrient you have in store, and whether the soil is functioning at its potential.
The information gathered can lead to identifying causes that maybe shutting down soil functions such as:
- Aluminium Toxicity.
- Chemical Toxicity.
- Lack of soil biology or the wrong biology.
- Mineral deficiencies.
- Factors impeding nutrient uptake.
- Lack of energy in the soil
It is the information reported from both the tests that guides the strategies for removing impediments that are hindering the nutrient cycle and the accessibility of the total nutrient pool.
Below is an example of the information reported by both the Total test and the available test of the same soil sample. The right-hand column shows the percentages of the minerals reported in the total test that the available test was able to extract:
Ecofarm's Proprietary Product Blends
Probitas Soil Conditioner
Earth has an electrical current that runs magnetically east to west through the soil, in unison with the earth’s magnetic field. Studies into electrical and magnetic energy have shown significant increases in biological activity, plant growth with improved nutrition as these electrical currents and magnetic fields lift. This is naturally expressed as you get closer to the poles where the magnetic and electrical effect rises dramatically to cause huge growth in a very short growing season.
We discovered that the right form of silica combined with paramagnetic rock dust and magnetite can reproduce nature’s natural solar panel in the soil. The way it works is very similar to manufactured solar panels where the UV spectrum of sunlight reacts with the particular form of silica to create electricity, which then flows east to west to increase the earth’s natural electrical flow stimulating the soil biology, plant growth and nutrition.
These electrical currents can be measured with a common multimeter in conjunction with a good compass. The currents vary, rising as you get closer to the poles and diminishing as you get closer to the equator, the time of the year, soil moisture and soil health.
In pastoral farming usual application rates of 150kg per hectare of Probitas Soil Conditioner is an integral part of bringing soils back to their productive capacity when combined with fungal and cyanobacterial inoculum, available silicas and any other limiting minerals identified through soil testing to stimulate the biology and utilise a far greater spectrum of minerals to increase production and carbon levels in the soil.
To get the best results we blend these products together to make a dry mix that can be applied through standard groundspread equipment or for aerial application.
There are basically millions of species of fungi with an incredible array of functions and features. They vary from the digestive capability of radioactivity, digestion of animal and plant wastes to symbiotic relationships with plant and soil.
These species should live in a healthy relationship with each other in the soil, so that whenever these functions are required they are ready and able to do their work. Chemical farming systems have removed many of the essential species from the soil over the last 50years or so.What we have found is many of the beneficial mycorrhizal fungi that have a symbiotic relationship with the plants your growing will not function until many of the digestive fungi come back into the soil profile, digest toxins and wastes which then allow the mycorrhizal fungi to proliferate.
To bring a balance back to the soil we have developed a fungal inoculum based on the accumulation of fungal species over the last 15years. They range in species from psilocybin, cordyceps and mycorrhizal species. Some are commercially available others we obtained directly from farms and other sources, some we have not been able to identify the species, yet see the beneficial effects.
We brew these fungi naturally and add several products such as fish emulsion, soft rock phosphate, fish meal, molasses and diatomaceous earth which then dries and stabilises.
Typically we use 5kg a hectare which has remarkable results given the small quantities required when mixed with Probitas Soil Conditioner, Cyanobacteria inoculum, available silicas and other minerals that are deficient identified through soil testing.
The products are combined to make a dry mix which can be spread through standard ground spread equipment or by aerial application.
Sea Based Gypsum
These are the most prolific photosynthesizers, carbon sequesters and oxygenators on the planet. Mostly known to live in the ocean, yet when soils are in a state in which these guys can go to work we are recording carbon sequestration of over 15tons per hectare per year in the top 300mm of farmers soils.
Cyanobacteria are very susceptible to agrochemicals and aluminium toxicity. They usually need inoculating into the soil when changing farming systems and several other factors have also to be dealt with at the same time, such as available silica.
We utilise natural sea based products harvested from the sea which is naturally high in gypsum which is also a very good form of sulphur as this does not leach and is not acidic. The product is in a powdered form where the cyanobacteria naturally hibernate until given the right conditions to proliferate.
We usually recommend applications of 50kg to 100kg per hectare combined with the fungal inoculum, Probitas soil conditioner, available silicas and any other minerals that are known to be deficient from soil testing.
These products combined can be spread through standard ground spread equipment or through aerial application.
Ocean Elements Mineral Solutions
There are twelve essential cell salts which are the main constituents of blood. It is these twelve salts that make up the fabric of the body, from the structural bones to the soft tissue. Their presence ensures correct cell function.
It is accepted that human blood and sea water are very similar in chemical composition. Our
testing process found that by removing the majority (80‐90%) of sodium chloride we end up
with two products, that when combined offer the twelve essential cell salts thereby reinstating
the bodies ability to heal itself.
Everything that lives on this planet is a conglomeration of cells. To be in a state of natural function all cells need to have the unimpeded ability to absorb energy into themselves; expel waste from themselves and be able to reproduce. German Born Dr Wilhelm Heinrich Schuessler discovered that the major Salts (tissue salts) that the human body is constructed from are also in a specific order in the blood. He found that each tissue salt is specific to a particular major function in the body and its presence is required to facilitate the natural function and reproduction of each and every cell. Without these specific cell salts regeneration cannot take place and the body’s natural ability to repair itself is impeded.
As farmers struggle to survive economically management practices have become focused on income rather than nutrient value and fitness for purpose. Processes are implemented that force production. This causes the quality of the food they produce to deteriorate, to a point where it does not offer all that the consumer needs to maintain a state of physical wellbeing. There are far too few food growers that are utilising the information available today to supply the nutrient dense food that the body requires to function at the standard that it has been designed for. Farmers are beginning to look for the information that will allow them to fulfil their obligation of delivering nutritious, safe food and are adjusting their processes to enable delivery of such food to fill the gaping hole in our nutrition.
Vitus Animal Mineral Supplement
Most farmers supplement their animals with various major and trace elements through many mechanisms. These supplements are designed to take the place of elements that are lacking in pasture to aid in getting the best animal health and growth rates when the animals are in a state of mineral deficit. Identifying the deficits is achieved by blood testing, liver biopsy and herbage analysis. All these tests have value, but the herbage test probably has the most in the sense that the animal is the result of whatever it is eating. Mineral deficits in the feed result in mineral deficits in the animal.
All farmers understand the cause of some of the common metabolic disorders. Grass staggers for instance is due to lack of magnesium. Not all farmers are aware of the fact that excess plant available potassium makes these problems worse. You will see most maize silage crops are supplemented with additives such as fine lime and salt to make up for the mineral deficits in the silage.
To combat these problems an understanding of mineral ratios and their effect on animal nutrition is very important. Common practice in countries that house their animals for winter is to test all the feeds, calculate any deficit and add the missing ingredients. Here in New Zealand this is a little different because to test each paddock before we put the stock in and calculate the deficiency and make up a mineral supplement is near on impossible and very costly.
There are predictable similarities in seasonal pasture mineral content on most farms in New Zealand. The winter periods are the time when it is most important to get the mineral balance correct for optimum health for the upcoming new born lambs or calves. Usually, because of our grass dominated pasture swards we have a deficit of calcium, magnesium, sodium and an excess of potassium. Other factors that have not been taken into account are the benefits of minerals such as silica which is essential in nerve and bone construction and the necessity of all the minor trace minerals and rare earth minerals that are present in the ocean for physical and genetic well being. These are the building blocks of our ongoing production and reproduction and our animals need the best mineral nutrition to realise their genetic potential.
Supplying such a wide variety of minerals in one hit is like taking a sawn off shotgun and hoping for the best, yet experience tells us that there are general trends in pasture composition and mineral availability over the winter and early spring period with predictable results. Any substance that is created in the ocean holds minerals and trace minerals in natures intended balance so mineral antagonisms are avoided.
Ecofarm Aotearoa has formulated Vitus Animal lick which is a combination of Dolomite (23% Calcium and 11% Magnesium) Ocean Elements that contain all essential cell mineral salts and over 70 other elements, Amorphous Silica, salt and Kelp meal. This certainly cannot be taken as the be all and end all of mineral supplements because there will still be problems such as copper deficiency which will have to be looked at on a farm by farm basis and amended, in the interim, with a mineral programme whilst addressing pasture species diversity.
The main purpose of Vitus is to cover as many bases as possible in one easy to use mix. Farmers put the product in a container in the paddock with the stock. They will take what they require under their own steam in order to self-medicate. Certainly when it is first introduced it is quite common for animals to gorge themselves, as they strive to balance their systems then they tend to ease to lower levels as they do. In this way the animals get to regulate their own requirements, which vary throughout the season.