What an April it has been! I hope that everyone reading this is staying safe and healthy! We will get through this together as a community.
First and foremost, I want to thank all of our farmers for growing our food! I appreciate you so very much.
It is in times like this I am reminded, again, of the importance of our farmers. Life simply cannot go on without you and I tip my hat to you. It is also during these times I am reminded about how important the nutrients in our food truly are, and by extension, how important the nutrients in our soils and plants are. Not only is it important that farmers grow our food, it is vital that they grow healthy and nutritious food… food that strengthens immunity and can boost healing. My good friend Graeme Sait of NTS Australia has recently released an excellent 3-part article on this specific topic.
“…food that strengthens immunity and can boost healing.”
We are seeing every day that there is a big trend of farms moving towards regenerative, organic, creative and sustainable agriculture. Now more than ever, growers are utilizing more-natural practices such as cover cropping, minimal tillage, companion cropping and fertilizing with organic inputs. Let’s remember to focus on the nutrients as well!
All Nutrients Matter
Plants need essential nutrients to function and a balance of these in proper ratios is important. Just like a recipe, each ingredient is important, the same applies to feeding a plant the nutrients it needs in available forms it can use. Don’t just concentrate on the “big 3” macronutrients (N-P-K)”, but also focus on the micronutrients as they all have an important role to play.
In order to grow nutritious food, the plants need to be fed the proper nutrients during the growth cycle. This care and attention that a farmer can give will help bring us much needed ‘real food’ back to the table.
How can your farm start looking at nutrition differently?
Take a Step Back
Take a step back and recognize just how important you are. You are the future of our world, our society and our planet. For this, you are truly, very important. “With great power comes great responsibility”. Holding the power to feed many people, growers also have a great responsibility to ensure that their foods are healthy and nutritious. Studies around the world are now showing that we don’t get enough nutrients from the food we eat. This can all be brought back to the soil and plants through the inputs we choose to apply. We are learning every day that people in North America and around the world are lacking the necessary nutrients to be healthy. Much of this is caused by nutrient deficiencies in the crops we harvest! Take a step back and recognize how important you are. You have the power to change the health of a generation.
“With great power, comes great responsibility.”
Realign your Focus
These are the days where focusing on N-P-K alone is just too narrowly focused. There are a plethora of other micronutrients our plants need to be healthy and we as humans also need to ingest. Health in a plant stems from the soil and the ingredients we supply. In my previous newsletter I spoke about pre-planning. Investing into the future and looking 5 years ahead, which ties directly into this. As you begin to plan for the coming years, realign your focus. Focus on the final outcome, the nutrients that our society needs to survive. We are here to help you and teach you what is important for the soil, plant and human health.
Soil Sampling and Tissue Analysis
This is the easiest way to start on the journey of looking at nutrition differently. I always tell my customers that I can never give them a great program until I have seen at least a soil sample. The soil is literally why there is a saying “From the ground up”, this is the first and most important thing to focus on at the start. Let’s look at the nutrients and biology in your soil and then when the time is right, look at tissue analysis and see what your plant absorbing from the soil. More importantly, is seeing what your plant is missing from the soil.
Sometimes soil may look rich in a certain nutrient, but due to its molecular structure it can be “locked up” and not available for plant absorption, a tissue analysis will reveal nutrients like this. Then you can foliar spray the exact nutrient formula to help the plant achieve its full nutritional value.
When a plant is at its full nutritional value you will see a better yield, less disease and pest pressure, a longer shelf life and a more satisfied customer. Ultimately you will see a healthier world.
Farmers, you have a chance to change the world and I believe that you have the power.
As a company, Agriculture Solutions Inc. is entering its 10th year in business and we have decided to start sharing more of our thoughts, experiences and knowledge with you each month. I am sure that most of you know who I am, but for those who I have never personally been in contact with, my name is Dave de Vries and I am the President of Agriculture Solutions Inc. I have been a professional agronomist since 2003 and I would like to continue sharing some of the things I have learned and experienced throughout years in the field. Many of you have become great friends and I truly appreciate that. This will be an excellent way for me to share ideas with you on a more regular basis.
March is often known as the Season of Planning amongst farmers and rightfully so! The time of reflecting on past seasons is over and it’s now time to look forward. I fully understand the gravity and sometimes fear of looking ahead, it's not always easy to plan for unknowns, but you are not alone. I am always a phone call or an email away, and I have an extensive team of sales reps and distributors who can help you plan out the season of growing that is now around the corner.
Why is planning so important?
You wouldn't go camping without the supplies or go on a road trip without a map, and you shouldn't let your livelihood move forward without direction. A good friend of mine said that if he doesn’t already know what he is going to plant in his fields five years from now, he’s already behind. Think of it this way: when you have a baby, you feed it nutritious food from the beginning, knowing it will grow to be strong and healthy. You give its body nutrients so that in five years from now they will be able to run and jump and fall down without breaking bones. If you started feeding your child nutritious food at 5 years old, it would already be way behind, which would have consequences of its own. Planning ahead makes things easier in the long-run, sets you and your farm up for success, and makes adjustments later just that much easier.
How can you plan today?
The easiest thing to do is to think ahead. Not just for this season, but for the seasons going forward as well. Start planning to take soil and tissue samples which enable you to find deficiencies in your fields. Start planning for cover cropping and feeding back into your fields. Plan ahead for nutrient-rich fertility programs so you can grow great food. Get in touch with one of our agronomists. Our team has extensive knowledge that can help you look more holistically at your business, and find ways to make improvements. Our distributors have been trained and know the answers. Anything we don't know, we will find out, that’s our commitment to growing naturally with you. We can sit down with you and your team and start planning for a more successful, profitable and self-sustaining farm with something as simple as a five-year plan.
In my upcoming emails I will aim to bring relevant topics and ideas to you all along with my knowledge and insight from years of experience.