Organic matter is the building block of sustainable and profitable crop production.

Organic matter is the building block of sustainable and profitable crop production.

By JOHN RYAN AM
It is clearly evident the Federal Government wants soil carbon back on its agenda.
Recent comments by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that he wants to initiate a soil carbon capture scheme involving the agricultural industry are encouraging.
And it follows on from Ausplow’s efforts, relating to our BioFurrow™ hypothesis.
Farmers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of soil organic matter – otherwise known as soil carbon, which is essential for crop production.
And the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has also weighed in, citing that the world’s soils have become degraded, particularly as a result of chemical-heavy farming techniques, deforestation, etc.
So it is up to us to develop farming systems that nurture the soil and its components, including organic matter and microbial communities that drive soil health and function, and plant growth.
Ausplow’s R&D work is exploring how the BioFurrow™ (which is aligned with the DBS system of crop establishment) can be used to sequester carbon.
I can only assume many scientists are unaware of what agriculture has achieved over the past 25 years as witnessed by the stories of DBS owners, two of which are partly re-printed in this edition.
If scientists want ways to improve carbon sequestration, come and have a look at what DBS owners are achieving in Australia.
It was always my intention in designing the DBS to enable accurate seed placement while building the right soil environment for seedling growth and beneficial soil biota.
Soil biota is broadly defined as a group of microscopic life forms that include bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic creatures which are critical for plant health.
And I have always maintained that using the DBS provides you with a tool to make money while building the soil.
That has been the experience with DBS owners.
First adoptees used to comment on the fact that they couldn’t fill dams because rain stayed where it fell, similar to Keyline Farming, invented by my uncle PA Yeomans in New South Wales.
Within five years owners were telling us the ground was softer and more friable and easier to work. This is what happens when organic matter levels build up in soil.
And it didn’t take long for owners to discover that the DBS was perfect for dry sowing and breaking hardpans to allow subsoil moisture to rise to the seedbed.
All of this remains true today but the evolution of the DBS has seen it as the perfect vehicle for BioFurrow™ farming, turning my ‘pot plant’ description into a ‘furrow for life’.
As DBS owners recognise - and hopefully scientists will start to understand - such a system will stop soil degradation and start soil recovery.
As this slowly occurs side benefits become readily apparent as some DBS owners already have experienced - elevated organic carbon levels, more normal soil pH, increased organic carbon and nitrogen levels, and healthier crops, pastures and livestock.
I am sure this would be music to the ears of scientists pleading for the adoption of “new approaches” to build and conserve our soils. I would encourage them to visit DBS owners and see what is already being accomplished.
For DBS owners I see the BioFurrow™ as the pathway to greater profits while maintaining soils that can sequester carbon.
DBS owners and NSW farmer Greg Chappell summed it up best: “Wouldn’t it be great if every farmer in Australia had a goal to lift organic carbon levels on their farms by one percent.”

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Sunday, May 16, 2021