What things get transferred?
Organisms get transferred - both beneficial and disease-causing
pH levels get transferred - whether it's helpful or detrimental
What is the Bio-Circle?
Every farm is a BIO-CIRCLE. That simply means that every key area flows into and out of other key areas. What's in the soil goes into the grass. What's in the grass goes into the cow. What's in the cow goes into the effluent pond. What's in the effluent pond goes into the soil.
There are 3 things to grasp about this transfer of biology:
- The transfer is unavoidable: living organisms and nutrients and pH levels move from one area to another. From soil to grass to gut to milk to pond to soil. It is inevitable.
- The transfer can work for you or against you: If good biology and the right nutrients are in your soil, the benefits will be experienced in your grass, animals, milk, and effluent pond. But if harmful organisms and chemicals are in the soil, their negative impact will also bring down the grass, animals, milk and effluent pond.
- Every farmer chooses the state of his farm's Bio-Circle: Because you choose what goes into the soil, you have the power to help or hurt the biological entities within that soil. Having the right influence starts with understanding what's really going on beneath the grass.
- They periodically test their soil to understand its composition – which nutrients are high requiring no additions, and which nutrients are low and in need of a boost. This scientific approach enables them to keep their soil balanced.
- They seek to feed the soil biology, not just grass. Their fertiliser of choice is typically closer to pH neutral. This results in a soil environment that enables the biological inhabitants to function properly.
The BIO CIRCLE can work FOR you or AGAINST you
Into The SOIL >>
- They convert nutrients into the right forms
- They transport nutrients to the plant roots
- They suppress disease-causing organisms
- They build better soil structures
- They degrade toxic materials
- They produce plant-growth hormones
- They build extensive and correct root architecture
Into The GRASS >>
- Grass supplied with the right nutrients in the right forms are more nutrient rich.
- Nutrient rich grass also tastes sweeter to grazing animals which encourages better feeding.
- The neutral pH level of the healthy soil is transferred into the grass. With this healthy pH now in the feed, good microbes are able to remain active and beneficial in the grass.
- The higher pH in the grass also hampers the pathogens that infect plants with disease.
Into The COWS
- A pH-balanced soil and grass encourages good bacteria to reproduce while stunting pathogenic reproduction. This results in less disease and sickness in cows. The flow-on effect is that farmers use less chemical rescue techniques (i.e. penicillin for mastitis).
- Nutrient-rich grass has a higher efficiency rate compared to feed concentrates. 80% of good grass is utilised by the animal. The effect is twofold – the greater nutrient uptake enables animals to maintain good conditioning while having plenty of excess nutrient to devote to milk production.
- Because the higher pH of the grass is now transferred into the gut of the animals, the conditions in the gut are better for beneficial bacteria. These microbes multiply and create the enzymes that are necessary for the efficient break down and digestion of feed in the cow's gut.
- More efficient digestion = greater milk production.
Into The POND >>
- Because good microbes produce better digestion in the gut, less undigested food is left to go into the pond. Undigested feed is the basis for the formation of the crust.
- If the grass that cows digest contains a higher ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria, that same positive ratio will be present in the effluent. That has a dramatic effect on the condition of the effluent pond since good bacteria eat pond crust while bad bacteria produce the crust.
- The neutral pH level in the animal's gut is transferred into the effluent. This gives the pond itself a higher pH level, which in turn enables good bacteria to multiply and carry out their work of digesting solids in the ponds
When the Bio-Circle Works AGAINST You
Into The SOIL >>
- Pathogens prefer lower pH conditions since it helps them reproduce. A soil that has a lower pH will therefore be dominated by these disease-causing microbes.
- Good microbes function best in neutral pH conditions. An increased soil acidity slows down the reproduction levels of good bacteria and can even kill some organisms. The result?Many of the good functions of healthy organisms are compromised in a soil with a lower pH.
Into The GRASS >>
- This low pH condition also suits weeds. Because weeds are unpalatable to cows, farmers seek to eliminate them by spraying their pastures with herbicides. These chemicals can negatively impact some beneficial organisms. Weeds also attract bugs that are detrimental to quality crop growth.
- Increased soil acidity renders clover less effective at performing its task of fixing nitrogen for the plants. When clover are suppressed, grass has less access to organic nitrogen which it needs to grow. Grass growth is hampered.
Into The COW
- Mastitis – caused by bad bacteria
- Facial eczema – caused by bad spores
- Foot Rot – caused by pathogens
- Poor digestion – a lower conversion efficiency of food into milk due to an insufficient number of beneficial bacteria in the cow's gut.
Into The POND
- Pathogenic bacteria are anaerobic in nature which means they thrive in environments which are dark and devoid of oxygen. To create these conditions, anaerobic bacteria will separate the fibre in the effluent and send it to the surface to form the crust and to the bottom to form sludge.
- A pond that is dominated by these bacteria will invariably suffer from thick crusting and sludge build up.