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Overview One of the leading authorities on biological farming, Gary Zimmer is recognized for improving farming by restoring soils. Arguing that an optimally productive soil contains a balance of inorganic minerals, organic materials and living organisms, he relies less on modern improvements than on "the things we've learned by improving fertility in a natural, sustainable way over many years. Technically precise yet written in friendly language, this book is for everyone who wants a future in biological farming. Product Details About the Author. In this time, he has established a close understanding of dairy, soils and successful farming methods, which has led to the development of a robust system of biological farming.
Gary Zimmer is president of Midwestern Bio-Ag, a sustainable agriculture input supplier and biological farming consulting firm established in , where he works with 75 trained consultants and thousands of farms across the U. Gary also manages the Bio-Ag Learning Center, a livestock and crop demonstration farm where he tests products and methods for successful biological farming. Average Review. Write a Review.
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Holistic veterinarian Holistic veterinarian Richard Doc Holiday is here to share the secrets he's learned from more than fifty years of experience in animal nutrition and health. Does it seem to be beneficial for soil life and crop health? In addition to the environmental problems of the N-P-K approach, research shows that yields are no longer responding to applying more nutrients, and in some cases yields are declining Ciampitti and Vyn, Balance is the key, just as it is with livestock and human nutrition.
My introduction to biological farming came from teaching and working as a consultant.
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Then I taught agriculture for five years before finally returning to farming and working with farmers as a soils and nutrition consultant. Over the ensuing years, I have continued to learn from my own farm, from other farms, and from the many farmers I have talked to across the U. Biological farming will improve your farm. It can change and become profitable. Many farmers are doing it right now. There are many books and printed materials that provide useful information.
Visit the farms, read the books, and check it out for yourself. Biological farming is a program, not just adding a single product and hoping for a miracle. It takes time to change things, and there is no one single way to do anything. But there are techniques that make sense. Your soils have a certain ability to dish out minerals, and the microbial bridge is key to making those minerals that are already in the soil available to plants.
But that may not be enough. Be sure to add only quality, low-salt, balanced nutrients. By applying nutrients that are mixed with or bound to carbon, the fertilizer mirrors how things work in the soil.
For liquids, molasses-based fertilizers provide sugars that not only buffer out the fertilizers but that provide readily available food for the soil biology to support the microbial bridge. For dry granulated fertilizers, I like humates and fertilizers made with the digestate from anaerobic digesters on dairy farms. What comes out of the manure digester after the easy energy has been turned into methane is a mix of minerals, fiber and dead bodies of bacteria. We remove the fiber and add other minerals to make fertilizers. Not only are the nutrients in a carbon base, but they also have biological stimulants along with humic acids.
This mirrors what happens in active, healthy biological soils to support microbial activity. Being a biological farmer means switching focus from chemistry to feeding and taking care of soil biology.
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The emphasis is on the microbial bridge, rather than on soluble fertilizers, to get nutrients to plants. When the soil, plants and microbes are in balance, and a fertilizer that includes trace minerals is applied, you should not need to buy all the plant-protective compounds, technologies and chemistry that many farmers today depend on. Build a strong microbial bridge, focusing on biology and soil health, and you will be well on the road to being a successful biological farmer.
Leilani has written extensively about biological farming and runs training courses for farmers and farming consultants on the principles of biological farming at Midwestern BioAg , where she serves as vice president of education initiatives.
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Gary is an organic dairy farmer, an accomplished speaker, a sought-after farm consultant and president of Midwestern BioAg, a biological farming products and services company. It takes place this August , in Davis, California. Gary and Leilani also previously presented at the Acres U. To download audio and video of their presentations, visit Acres U. Corn roots with lots of root exudates and soil sticking to the roots. The corn on the left was grown following a worked-down mature vetch crop, while the corn on the right was grown following a worked-down young clover crop.
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The young clover plants broke down quickly and rapidly released ample nitrogen to support the corn crop. Healthy soil life with a newly incorporated mixed-species cover crop.
Related Advancing Biological Farming: Practicing Mineralized, Balanced Agriculture to Improve Soil & Crops
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