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Reducing P inputs

By P.W. Burton At the meeting on regenerative pastoral farming held recently in Gore, the topic of appropriate Olsen P levels was raised.   A farmer participant was a little disturbed that a featured, recently- developed and highly productive grazing block close to...

Why science always wins

By P.W. Burton Science, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, is systematic and formulated knowledge.  Primarily it’s about measures, and when it comes to fertiliser it’s about performance measured over time. Soil fertility programmes here were developed...

The benefits of fewer cows

By P.W. Burton If the chat amongst farmers is correct, and it almost always is, regulation is about to be imposed on dairy farmers, and a cornerstone of it will be a requirement for cow numbers to be reduced. The thinking is that cows are the primary producers of the...

Finding solutions by joining the dots

P.W. Burton When farming I had a sneaking suspicion that much of the information received via main stream media, printed material only then, was an overly simplified version of reality. Since becoming immersed in the fertiliser industry and having access to research...

Prospering without capital gain

P.W. Burton Property markets react differently from region to region, however in our patch the rural real estate market is flat, with nothing much moving. Dairy farms are particularly slow to sell.  Buyers are reluctant to reduce prices, potential purchasers are...

Tinkering won’t fix the Nitrate issue

P.W.Burton   The reason for excess Nitrate entering waterways and aquifers is that too much ‘bag N’ is being applied to pastures. The total amount being applied varies depending on the source with a figure of 750,000 tonne regularly appearing. Nitrogen is sold as...

Is science killing pastoral farming?

P.W.Burton One well-known farm consultant derides any alternative to the superphosphate, muriate of potash, and urea driven soil fertility system as “flying in the face of sixty years of science”, with performance data being rejected as anecdotal. The value of soil...

What will it take to change course?

P.W. Burton   That New Zealand will shift from its present short-term focussed, carbon-depleting mainstream soil fertility model to a genuine sustainable carbon positive one, is a given.  It will happen, the only questions are when, and what event will trigger...

Synthetic nitrogen destroys soil carbon, undermines soil health

By Tom Philpott Download this article as a PDF Just precisely what does all of that nitrogen fertilizer do to the soil? “Fertilizer is good for the father and bad for the sons.” –Dutch saying For all of its ecological baggage, synthetic nitrogen does one good deed for...

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