Regenerative & (Biological) Agriculture
Regenerative & (Biological) Agriculture can be and needs to be initiated very quickly over the face of all arable land in all the major countries on
earth. This common sense system needs to be championed by all academics, farmers, and environmentalists - then the human society - if we want a future
for our children.
Regeneration of the soil
The regeneration of soil through non chemical fertilisers with the conscious choice of mineral applications using regenerative and biological agricultural
practices, can be and has to commence as soon as possible - it need not be delayed any longer.
What Phil Gregory PhD is saying has already been initiated by pioneers Graeme Sait, Ardern Andersen, Susan Jones and Elaine Ingham. We now have the answers
- what we need now is the education and the will to implement this model of land management - and finally take down this C02 bogey - once and for all.
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Taking down sequestering Co2 and building up soil
This is no longer a problem without a solution - Regenerative and biological agriculture is the solution and formula to global warming including soil loss
and unhealthy animals and food chain.
The time is to start as soon as possible - with Government support across all levels of agriculture - and this needs trumpeting at the highest levels of
government, business, and especially the media.
Pushing back the barriers of unknowingness.
Phil, Gregory was an astronomer who as part of a large scientific team used to study the night skies and during his later years was part of a huge awakening
that there were planets orbiting stars in our galaxy. That in the last 25 or so years astronomers using the latest technological breakthroughs have
found thousands of new planets - which is a gigantic step in breaking out of the isolation of the scientific mindset that did not or could not believe
that there would be other planets circling stars not only throughout our galaxy of a 100 billion stars, but all the other billions of galaxies in existence
as well. He also surmises that in 30 years time we may know if there is life on these planets.
Only 60 years of Farming Left if Soil Degradation Continues
After retiring from his chosen profession of Astronomy, one day whilst browsing through a Scientific American journal he read a piece by the UN Food and
Agricultural Organisation that there is only 60 years of farming left if soil degradation continues ! 60 Years - that’s no time at all, he exclaimed!
So this immediately caught his attention - for having 14 grandchildren he realised that we would be leaving them in a very unstable world and so he committed
to finding a way to taking carbon out of the atmosphere and sequestering it into the soil - that in turn supports the microbes which then assists in
roots growth and plant life prospering.
Global Food Security - what are the issues
This 60 year only timeline lead him to also research all aspects of desertification and animal grazing - that are all imperative issues towards global
Accessing Free use of Global Data
As an ex university professor he had free access to all the global literature on earth - so has been able to cast a wide net that enabled him to work out
what is happening with the soils, the atmosphere including rainfall, erosion etc, etc.
Whereas all the professional agronomists he came across, unless they are affiliated directly with a university - it costs them hugely - up to US$17.00
to read just one paper - whereas to become more knowing you need to read hundreds of papers - so this means that the agronomists are so far behind
in their understanding of nature and in particular soil science and microbial activity.
Professional Agronomists lack knowledge on micro flora and soil
This shocked Phil, because in the process in communicating with them, he found them woefully ignorant about current knowledge. Especially, of how soil
bacteria and fungi actually work with plants, in taking out of the atmosphere carbon and the mechanisms of breaking down soil compounds making them
more available for roots hairs to feed plants the required food for growth, etc
Soil structure and micro-organisms and what they do - (has been a complete eye opener for Phil)
Even if we stop burning fossil fuels today - the gases (including methane escaping the permafrost) are still going to remain in the atmosphere for a long
time. - They are still going to continue warming our planet for hundreds of year into the future - so not are we having to stop putting gases up into
the atmosphere - we have to bring them back and get them out of the atmospheric envelope that surrounds our planet.
There are Natural Solutions that can solve Global Warming.
Once he stumbled into the literature he started making connections and one link lead to another and as he followed these ’natural’ connections he became
very excited - and though he found very little info from the Canadian authorities - he found a large amount of interesting information and material
within the branches of the US Department of Agriculture especially in the natural resources - services section where they had many tutorials on the
soil food web by Doctor Elaine Ingham one of the pioneers.
This video link is of Phil Gregory telling his important story.
He also found on Ted Talks - Allan Savoury from Zimbabwe - it made sense - it is not necessarily animal numbers - it’s the timing of the seasons that is
The US Department of Agriculture - especially in the natural resources - services section made a large contribution in the connection in the dots for Phil.
Don Rocoski - no till no Till - Washington Post 11.9.13 by Brad PLUMBER No till farming is on the rise …don rykovsky No turning of soil at all
Don Rykovsky powerpoints
This link - that is a power point is a superb contribution and statement as to what needs to be done http://www.phas.ubc.ca/~gregory/papers/GregoryBowenIslandPresentation24Jan2017sht.pdf
Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Society
Also early on in his research he found that in Saskatchewan up to 60% of the framers were engaged in no till farming - which means no turning over or ploughing
the soil - Now today nearly 100% of them have gone no till.
This was also seen as a possible avenue of obtaining Government subsidies for soil sequestration - even though they were a little way ahead of the govt
at the time. So spent a lot of time in measuring how soils carbon could be requested and they now have good data from 167 farms over a span of 14 years
and these farms are fairly large. What they have deduced is that the farmers can sequester around 1 tonne of carbon per hectare per year. Which translates
to the equivalent of taking 21 million cars off the road.
Thus the Saskatchewan farmers who only had one cash crop every two years were able to then have one cash crop per year and they went from the red into
the black - and making money
This took Phil deeper into his quest for regenerative agriculture - where you not only sequester carbon from the atmosphere but you restore the biology
to the soil, the microflora - and you move away from the chemical paradigm to a biological paradigm, which after all - this is how nature evolved .
Nature has all the microbes in the soil and that hidden universe which as up until very recently has been a hidden universe. These microbes mine all the
nutrients that these plants need - from the rocks and silt and clay - and nitrogen from the atmosphere - you get the works - all for free -without
having to pay money to plough your fields or pay money for the chemicals - if we are conscious enough to learn and copy nature.
The next step is to inoculate the soil with a real good fertiliser and get those microbes back active again.
By only putting NPK - nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium the plant (sort of) thinks that it has some ‘party food’ here, that I do not need to share with
the microbes and any of my root exudates - I can instead hold onto those, because I am addicted to NPK. So that the barter system that existed between
the plants feeding the sugars and the carbon - the energy pills to the microbes starts to fracture - And the microbes in return supplying all the other
trace minerals and all the other elements that the plant needs - that barter system is ‘now broken’ - its interrupted because the plants become addicted
to the easy life - but of course these salts that have been put on - these fertilising salts that have been put on, dissolve in water and 80% of them
wash off into the rivers causing all kinds of problems - algae blooms - nitrates in the water are very dangerous - they reduce the amount of oxygen
that the blood can transfer through the body - that there was a Nobel Prize was won when they realised that this was the basis of cancer - and Phil
goes on to say that we have created mountains of problems basically though ignorance with the use of these chemicals.
Listen to Phil talks about the predators and prey and even predators that prey on the predators - in a very dynamic system at a micro level - which is
natures way - this high diversity of creating stability.
So the bacteria and the fungi they are at the base of this system - they are being fed ‘carbon pellets’ (if you like) - through the sugars from the plants-
who are attracting them to their root system - so the bacteria and fungi they will - if there is any NPK nitrogen , phosphorus and potassium they will
love that - they will just gobble that up and store that in their body together with the4 carbon that they are receiving from the plant - and they
will also take in any dead plant or matter and recycle that - plus they secrete also biotic glues as enzymes and organic acids.
These organic acids in the case of fungal hyphae - these invisible strands that spread outward everywhere as mycelium networks - hold for example is a
myclillium network - whist the individual hyphae are quite invisible - but if you take some common rock like feldspar and slice it - then polish it
and you look at it under the microscope you will find all kinds of tiny microscopic tunnels - these are tunnels that have been made by the fungal hyphae
- they are actually burrowing in to the rock - and mining the elements - the basic elements that that rock is made of - pulling these laments back
into their bodies and they eventually transfer these elements to the plant. Which in Phil’s words is quite magical.
In 2015 Scientific American article states that in its title - the Biggest mining operation in the world is carried out by fungal networks.
So all these fungal networks are pulling in all these resources and in return for the carbon - but you have to keep it mind that those fungi and bacteria
- they like the elements as well and they need them in high concentrations to exist in nature. So they are also not readily wanting to pass on these
or give them up - and this is where the predatory protozoa of bacteria and fungi come along and feast up - and they end up with an excess of nitrogen
- too much is toxic so they excrete it out - poop it out and they happen to be right next to the plant roots - because the plants are attracting and
feeding their prey and all are in extremely close proximity - as they are wanting carbon that the plant extracts from the atmosphere.
So that at any given time in an agricultural field - 99% of the elements that the plants need are locked up in the bacteria and fungi - and only at the
rate that which the plants need it (as the plants are orchestrating all this) do the predators come along and covert by eating right amount of bacteria
and fungi - create the correct amount of poop with is then taken up by the root hairs and feed the plant.
So this is one of the mysteries that the chemical world has not appreciated (Big Pharma) because they do not really want to know the biological understanding
of how to unlock the secrets of the soil. They just want sales of nitrogen and chemicals to drive these into the plants - so that they can up production
- and eventually get their money back - with zero respect of the land, soil and the microflora in the soil. Which degrades the soils that eventually
either erode in floods or is blown away by the wind.
Bacteria and fungi help open up the ground so that both air and water can percolate deeper allowing for roots to penetrate down to greater depths into
the soil - thus able to withstand drought and flooding
Listen this is fascinating stuff that every farmer and gardener needs to get their head around if they wish to become far more self reliant and resilient
in the face of rapidly changing climate change and weather fluctuations.
Covering how microflora create soil structure - to get oxygen and water deep down into the ground - because plant roots will only grow deep if they have
access to wattle and oxygen. Plant roots can grow well over a metre deep - thus can resist long periods of drought as there will be both food, oxygen
and moisture down there. So the imperative is for NZ farmers to study and research this and not be talked into continuing the old paradigm of more
chemicals being added to their farmland.
When North America was being opened up in the pioneering days of colonial expansion the farmers dug down following certain grass roots to over 30 feet
Dr Rlaine Ingham - the soil food web inc -
Listen how trees can have 150 foot deep roots and that a tree fed on the surface can transport this liquid matter down to its roots 150 feet down in a
matter of 10 minutes!
Plough causing a compaction layers just below the depth of the plough and this hardens the soil. At the same time when ploughing you ares slicing and dicing
the fungi networks destroying all the magnificence of soil structure - what the bacteria and microflora have magically put in place.
These are like underground cities and as Phil cals them buildings and networks that the microbes have created - were annihilated and the soils loses its
integrity as all the fungi and biotic glues from the bacteria just dry up - so that it is free to be both blown and washed away!
It's only in the last 30 years have we realised the damage that we have been doing … added to this it is only via microscopic instruments have we
been able to study also what these microbes are doing - what is theirtr role in nature.
This was in 1985 when Elaine Ingham and her husband in 1985 exposed this knowledge to the world.- And that paper was not received immediately very well.
Many did not beleive that nature had this ‘bartering system’ that was going on. It was not dod eat dog and survival od the fittest - but a more cooperative
notion that old ideology refused to acknowledge.
Then in 1991 others rediscovered their work and it has expanded vastly since then.
Phil did a university search on root exudate or plant exudate which is a key part of she discovery - now 2016 over 2000 papers on this coming to light.-
focussed on the bartering system
Dr Teage and 14 other authors - sequester carbon in the soil
Soil erosion resulting form agriculture is actually a large contributor to greenhouse gases = 28% of the problem of greenhouse gasses
Agriculture is producing 14 - 15% of greenhouse gases - but soil erosion
but what about the rest - 72% - thats fossil fuel burning?
Yet regenerative agriculture in all its aspects - animals and crops - not mono culture but diversified crops - including cover crops so that there is always
green material with roots in the ground - plus old farms had orchards, gardens pigs goats cows, sheep and horses - very diversified - resulting in
the regenerative management of animals
if we did regenerative agriculture planet round we would instantly remove that 28% - but you would ake down 120% of the greenhouse gasses from all sources
that are being released - back into the ground so under modest assumptions over the entire earth - we would be requesting 150% of the GHG we are currently
putting up now!
To the degree that water a time we would have to slow this down so as to not have our planet cool too much - a delightful dilemma to be in
Listen to Phil spell out the maths and the assumptions that include all forms of GHG from transportation - energy lighting - you name it - deforestation
and methane expelling.
Based on 3 tones of carbon sequester for every hectare - every year
*Gabe Brown - browns ranch.us
*Dr David Johnson in Arizona - rapid sequestration up to 24 tonnes per hectare - with the US Department of Ag doing the measurements for carbon - maybe
only 20% of the arable land needed to pull this carbon out of the atmosphere.
Singing Frogs Farm - California.
Listen - the French scientists are very switched on a bout regenerative agriculture
Why are academics sleeping this one out? They are a collection of specialists - Suzanne Simard fungi network
The Magic of Soil - by Phil Gregory