Are you farming solely to produce food and make a profit somehow or are you farming to produce food and make a profit and to create and be part of a healthy, sustainable future?
Once again this time of the year rural publications bring to the farmer’s attention the problem of rust in cereal crops. Usually a well qualified senior person from the DPI or from a leading teaching institute has their say in the papers advising farmers of the latest product to use to counter rust. And once again many farmers rush to the local store to get their fungicide spray and put it out at the recommended rates. Yes, it is understandable that farmers respect people in authority and who are well qualified; its human nature to do so.
But why don’t the publications bring to their readers other options? There are countless stories of farmers who do not spray their crops with toxic chemicals but rather have controlled it by applying natural nutrients.
Why use a toxic fungicide that is likely to be detrimental to the all important beneficial fungi in the soil and could be dangerous and toxic to the person spraying and could lead to premature ill health to the person spraying? The good news is that there are alternatives.
How do you identify the rust? By rubbing a white tissue over the suspected leaf surface, if affected a yellow stain will show if rust is present and farmers are advised to stop the rust before it gets out of hand. Unfortunately this often means more than one application of fungicide spray throughout the season. Each spray causes much unseen damage to soil life and often leading to further problems such as compaction and the locking up of nutrients.
So what is the answer? Over the years Farming Secrets have had reports back from farmers who have prevented rust and even arrested the spread of rust by using natural, biologically friendly plant nutrients. More than seven different natural nutrients have been successfully used.
Why do these natural nutrients work? The nutrients assist the proliferation of beneficial bacteria on the leaf surface so that the fungal spores landing on the leaf get rendered harmless or impotent. The natural nutrients are also beneficial in other ways. They not only render the rust harmless, they are a foliar feed that can assist the plant against frost, give better finish and are beneficial to soil life providing food for the soil microbes which in turn release the nutrients to the plant from the soil.
Further benefits! Observe your stock. If stock are feeding off the stubble after harvest, they show a preference to stubble sprayed with natural products to the stubble sprayed with toxic fungicides. Once again, animals know instinctively what is best for them.
So what do you do? The key is to know your options. Track proven results from fellow farmers. Align yourself with the new breed of experts who appreciate how nature can heal itself with a bit of assistance from a natural product, rather than trying to kill the stripe rust with a fungicide year after year after year.