We all have different belief systems which are formed within our family and reinforced by our education, our communities and the media as we grow up.
As we develop we learn to trust in authority and people who are older and seem wiser and more experienced. We are trained to think logically and to look for “scientific” proof to explain the benefits or the dangers of all sorts of things in our lives. Things such as foods, medicines, mobile phones, microwaves and so the list goes on.
However this type of thinking can be a handicap especially when it comes to farming.
Take for example Pasture Cropping which by definition is sowing mainly cereals into existing pastures for grain fodder and extra farm income. Many farmers cannot get their head around this type of farming as it defies logic. Yet the farmers practicing it will never revert to conventional cropping systems because of the profitable and satisfying results that they are getting.
These farmers are allowing native pastures to return which traditionally have been regarded as a poor substitute for introduced species due to their lower protein levels. They allow “weeds” to remain over summer which help maintain ground cover. They sow the new crop straight into the existing pasture without spraying a total knock down spray. All fertilisers are used at a bare minimum.
Conventional farmers spray out their weeds so that they don’t take valuable moisture out of the soil or create a seed bank. Common catch cries are: “Spray out post emergence weeds as they compete with your crops”. “Protect your crops with chemicals to prevent attack by insects and fungal diseases”
Pasture croppers do not need to adhere to these catch cries. Their pastures are kept going indefinitely, they have stock feed straight after harvest, their soils are building up carbon and thus retaining more moisture and with reduced chemical use the damage to soil life is minimal. The improved conditions means increased stock holdings, better weight gains, less reliance on rainfall and ultimately more time and more enjoyment for their farming. It seems that there is also more excitement as more and more native grasses reappear and diversity of bird life and insect and other beneficial predators are observed.
Pasture Cropping is part of the new “science” – the science of observing what it takes to build good healthy soils and crops and allowing nature to reestablish the balance. So instead of force feeding the soil and what grows in it, many farmers can save in time, money and emotional stress, and enjoy the obvious benefits that come from farming in tune with nature.