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Healthy soil & successful farming link supported

Environment Commissioner supports link between healthy soil and successful farming

New Zealand’s independent environmental watchdog, the Parliamentary Environment Commissioner Dr J Morgan Williams is recommending a “redesign” of existing farm practices to be environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

Dr Williams released a landmark report, Growing for Good, which supports Hawke’s Bay company Hatuma Lime’s philosophy of linking healthy soil with successful farming.

Dr Williams believes that there should be a focus on putting water, energy and nutrient efficiency, while working within the engine room of soil systems, at the heart of farming and business models.

He acknowledged Hatuma for its recent series awareness campaign. He says it is excellent to see the focus it puts on the importance of earthworms, carbon levels and soil life as the core to the health and productivity of the whole farm system.

Hatuma Lime Marketing Manager Aaron Topp says the company’s awareness campaign that was launched in October was in support of Dr Williams’s vision.

“It is aimed at educating farmers on how simple soil husbandry can cut down fertiliser use, and promote sustainable and profitable farming.

"It is vital to realise how important the promotion of a healthy soil is to the ongoing quality of pasture, productivity of the farm and the environment.

“Despite the controversy it caused within certain sectors, we wanted to show Dr. Williams that redesigning farming wasn’t a big ask; there are already thousands of pioneering farmers who have been farming this ideal for decades, many who are now into their third generation. This presents an enormous opportunity for the rest of New Zealand’s farmers to go down the same redesigned path.

“That is, farming a low cost, high production system without the need for extra inputs that could potentially jeopardise the environment and their soil,” Mr Topp said.

Hatuma’s North Island wide awareness campaign including the release of a booklet will highlight the six main benefits achieved from applying a product that encourages the soil biology, yet are mostly ignored by the fertiliser industry.

It is based on what has been learnt from over seventy years in the lime and fertiliser industry, and forty years of dicalcic phosphate manufacture.

“The campaign will tap into the wonderful intuition farmers have regarding what is truly best for their soil and stock, an attribute that has been suppressed with the advent of modern farming practices.

Topics include earthworms, palatability, soil carbon, clover stimulation, phosphate efficiency, and digestibility.

“Every topic is crucial to a productive and sustainable operation. It is how our clients manage to achieve full satisfaction from their farming enterprises.”

Information within the booklet is covered by a mixture of experience, proven science, groundbreaking science, and anecdotal evidence and includes trial and field work undertaken by internationally respected soil scientist Graham Shepherd over the last three years with Hatuma clients.

“His findings are proving to be fascinating and show that there is no need for reliance on high rates of phosphate fertiliser once adequate soil biology is established,” Mr Topp said.

The booklet also explains how certain beneficial bacteria in the soil form a crucial partnership with the clover plant to utilise the “free” nitrogen from the atmosphere, without the need for synthetic sources that cost the economy and environment.

“The book is our gift to any farmer who wishes to be proactive about redesigning their farming operation for sustainability and profit.”

Dr. Williams has officially congratulated Hatuma by giving them a bouquet in the September PCE Newsletter. Copies of “Better Results Forever – The Hatuma Story” are available by contacting Hatuma lime Company Ltd.

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