Dead Soil is Dirt

PODCAST Dr. Elaine Ingham talks soil microbiology – Dead soil is Dirt

The permaculture podcast interview Dr. Elaine Ingham, microbiologist and soil researcher.

Click here to listen or download the episode.

During this conversation, Host David Bilbrey and Elaine explore the concepts of soil microbiology, talking about how just below your earth surface the soil is brimming with life — moles, insects, worms and billions of microorganisms all living within the soil. When we think about plants we only see the growth above ground, bursting with leaves, flowers and fruits, however just below the earth’s surface the root growth is just as significant and profound. Dr. Elaine stresses the importance of this life on the health of our plants and agricultural system, how using compost to increase the number of beneficial organisms living within your soil can make a huge difference to your soil quality, and the power of a microscope to bring all these ideas together, right in front of our eyes. The toxic chemicals in large scale agriculture practice is KILLING the insects, and microbes, and this eliminating or drastically reducing or sometimes even adding species to the mix can put the whole food chain out of whack..

Dr. Ingham, stresses the importance of healthy, living soil for human wellbeing. Her theory is that “Conventional” agriculture is all about trying to get people to buy inorganic fertilizers, pesticides and minerals that inadvertently kill of the beneficial life (both flora and fauna) in the soil, so they are never able to do the jobs that nature intended them to do.  Of course, this keeps growers “addicted” to buying more, and more, and more of those chemicals from the big chemical companies.  Excessive use of chemical fertilisers poses a real danger to the soil sucking the water out of the microbes that live within the soil.

To find out more about Dr. Elaine Ingham, and her work on soil microbiology at soilfoodweb.com and on her classes and other work with Environment Celebration Institute at environmentcelebration.com.

Other Resources
Dr. Ingham’s CV
Soil Food Web
Environment Celebration Institute
Dr. Ingham’s Online Classes

 Soil Food Web

 

 

For more information visit dairyaustralia.com.au Making compost on dairy farms

Making compost on Dairy Farms

Making compost on Dairy FarmsDairy Australia Limited has put together a 5-page download titled “Making compost on Dairy Farms”. The Download covers compost production and how the application of compost to land can be used as a method of transforming farm organic residues to positive farm inputs. 

Across the farming sector and Dairy in particular there is increasing need to improve the cost effectiveness. Over the last few years’ compost use has grown on dairy farms, as an alternative or supplement to conventional chemical fertilisers or as a means of recycling nutrients and organic wastes back on the farm.

 

  • The Carbon to nitrogen ratio needed to maximise microbial activity and facilitate optimum composting.
  • The Moisture required for the microbes to achieve the temperature levels to adequately pasteurise and fully compost the starting materials.
  • Effective Aeration, to replenished the Oxygen needed to maintain the microbial activity
  • Site selection & Environmental awareness, when selecting a site consider the potential for runoff, odour, groundwater reserves and movement of windborne particles. Composting is a controlled process and sites should allow for easy access and monitoring.
  • Managing the composting process, covers Calculating the recipe, Making the windrows, Mixing the ingredients, Monitoring the compost, Turning and Maintaining the pile

Of particular importance is the ability to Turn the Compost, regular turning of the compost pile or windrow is vital to replenished the Oxygen needed to maintain the microbial activity and control temperature needed the for pasteurisation of pathogens and weed seeds.  It is important that the turning method allows the re-positioning of outside materials to the inside (core) of the heap mixing of ingredients and breaking down of any lumps that may have been present in the original mixture

Making compost on dairy farms

Acknowledgement: Information in the Dairy Australia fact sheet was adapted from
Western Dairy’s ‘The Power of Compost’ by Matt Evans
For more information visit
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