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Biological agriculture course

If you're following my facebook page, you might have noticed that I recently spent a week in Yandina doing a "Biological Agriculture" course with Nutri-Tech Solutions.  The course was exactly what I needed.  We have been trying to figure out how to grow forage and hay crops organically, trying to understand whether we should be tilling the soil and generally confused about our soil test results.  I won't say that the course answered all my questions, but it did give me some key information that I've been able to research in more detail to help us come up with a plan.



Biological farming is about farming with nature's cycles.  It doesn't necessarily mean using organic methods, but if chemicals are to be used, they are used at the most sensible times and using methods that minimise any adverse effects on the overall system.  The idea is to use natural methods to our advantage to increase production and reduce input costs.  For farmers and/or farms that are addicted to chemicals, this is a good way to transition from chemical methods to organic methods, without too much disruption/stress/loss of production.  We saw this year that going "cold turkey" resulted in a poor crop of forage oats, and its just lucky that its not our entire livelihood that depends on the result of that crop.  For full-time farmers this is a real risk.

On the first day we learnt about soil minerals, the second day was microbes, day three plant nutrition, the forth day was pest management and the final day was putting it all together.  Throughout the course we learnt about human health as well.  Most of it was the kind of thing I am already excited about from reading Nourishing Traditions, but we also had a hair analysis test done, and I was ok in all elements except iodine and selenium, so I need to eat more seaweed!  (and I got some supplements from the chemist to give me a headstart).  They recommended doing hair tests through Interclinical, but there are plenty of other ones around too.

I'm going to write a post to summarise the important points from each day of the course.  If you are thinking about organic farming or just sick of using so much fertiliser and want to reduce input costs, you should learn more about biological farming methods.  This course is an excellent place to start, with people attending from all states of Australia, and on my course there was even a candidate from the USA and one from NZ.

Comments

  1. Watching with interest! I'd love to hear what you learnt.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like a worthwhile course.

    I'm interested in the hair analysis....Our backyard is lead contaminated and I'm pretty certain were not being exposed since we stopped growing or own veggies and eating our chicken eggs - but it would be nice to check our hair to be certain. Thanks for the link.

    ReplyDelete
  3. yeah I thought the hair analysis was a really good idea, its less than $200/sample, there are a few labs around, so see if you can find a good one. I'd be interested to hear how you go with it. I'm going to send one in a few months to see if the selenium and iodine is making a difference.

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