Feed the Soil Biology: everything else will become easier

Every farmer wants to grow healthy grass. Healthy grass means healthy animals, and healthy animals produce lots of milk and a better bank balance. Most farmers tend to grow grass by focusing on grass. Makes sense, right? But from a scientific point of view, the key to growing grass is paying close attention to what's going on beneath the layer of green. The biology of the soil is the key to growing healthy grass, healthy animals, and healthy milk production.

Can we supply nutrients to the soil, plants and organisms?
Absolutely, but we tend to be unscientific when it comes to delivering the necessary nutrients. Often we add huge amounts of primary nutrients (UREA) and expect the plants to sort it out. But only when a healthy set of soil organisms is present will those nutrients remain in the soil and be made available to plants at the right rates, in the right places, and in the right forms.
STEP 1: Perform a Proper Soil Test

STEP 1: Perform a Proper Soil Test
Before you can properly feed the soil and the soil organisms, you have to know what's truly going on beneath the grass. What nutrients are lacking? What nutrients are in abundance? To find the answers, you need to perform a SOIL TEST.

Are all Soil Tests Created Equal?
No they're not. In New Zealand, most soil tests focus on NPK with little attention given to the interaction of the 16 different nutrients in the soil and the importance of getting the percentages of these nutrients correct.

At Forward Farming, the company we choose to perform soils tests is the Perry Laboratory in America. Perry Laboratory is a world-renowned and independant testing facility. What we value most about their testing is that they provide an accurate measure of all the major and trace elements needed to grow nutritious feed, without steering the farmer toward a specific fertiliser supplier.
STEP 2: Apply a Customised Fertiliser

STEP 2: Apply a Customised Fertiliser
Why use a customised fertiliser? Because the goal in soil fertility is to supply your soil only with the nutrients it's lacking. It's the lack of specific nutrients that limits the work of the soil organisms.

Think of the panels of a wooden bucket. The bucket's maximum water-holding capacity is determined by the lowest strut. It is pointless adding more length to the struts that are already correct in height. Your soil's grass-growing capacity is the same – limited by the deficiency of the lowest nutrient. When farmers add nutrients that the soil already has plenty of, they are wasting money and forcing the soil to leach the excess.

Most fertilisers are One-Size-Fits-All. They are heavy on NPK and also contain synthetic versions of other nutrients. Do they work? Yes they do, but they also cause problems in the Soil Factory. Using a customised fertiliser that perfectly matches your soil test results will ensure that all 16 nutrient elements are balanced in your soil. Your soil's pH will then automatically sit at 6.3 to 6.4, which allows the bio-activity to flourish in New Zealand soil. That means nutrient-rich grass, healthier animals, better digestion, liquefied ponds, and fuller vats.

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