REBOOT YOUR SOIL
Bay of Plenty farmers Tony and Chantel Hanham have changed their grazing strategies. Tony Hanham admits “I was the last person anyone would expect, least of all my partner Chantel, to convert to a regenerative system on our dairy farm in inland Bay of Plenty.” But after years of traditional farming principles, he knew change was needed. Tony and Chantel were committed to improving their soil and animal health.
Tony and Chantele realised a diverse multi species seed mix along with nature’s synergy would reboot soil health. They approached Canterbury based seed company Pastoral Improvements Ltd with their research and ideas.
The result of this was the development and trialling of the ‘Reboot’ Seed Mix, a long rotation high diversity grazing mix. Reboot is a high yielding, high performing mix providing strong soil and remedial benefits without compromising profit. It consists of 5 plant groups, all providing a symbiosis of life from edible flowers and plants creating an abundance of beneficial insects along with a rich microbe subsoil, the need of pesticides and herbicides was negated.
Tony enthuses “One year of growing Reboot sequestered 36/t of atmospheric CO2 in a 300mm soil test, equating to about 10/t/ha soil carbon. 1 gram of carbon can hold 8 grams of water; if you want to mitigate farm emissions, this is a great model to introduce.”
Tony realised that he was now able to address historical feed deficits on his summer dry property. When grazing Reboot, he left adequate residual to protect soil moisture, and provided the perfect environment to have the next rotational grazing of 6-8T within 30-60 days. The added bonus was that as the season developed into cooler months, the perennial species were already there so there was no need to redrill grasses. Soil health is the key, Tony explains how diversity is the catalyst; “Nitrogen is freely abundant in the atmosphere; we just need to learn the process of the soil biome and receive it for free.”
Tony gets biological and total nutrient testing done to check he is on the right track. “I never expected such a high yield from the crop so early in the experiment. You could see how a diversity of plants were working together to increase the feed yield,” Tony says. He successfully shifted his excess growth from October / November to early the following year, when growth rates normally plummet during the drier months.
Tony & Chantel have seen a huge increase in soil nitrogen, fungal activity and bacterial activity since using Reboot to regenerate their soil. Tony explains, “The cows are thriving off the change, with an obvious increase in animal health as well as production; milk urea is notably reduced, with protein/fat and litres up.”
Keen to try a multispecies system? Tony advises, “Sow a trial paddock, start small and increase the number of hectares you sow as you start to see results. Seek the right advice, talk to people who have experienced the process, Pastoral Improvements can help with their knowledge and experience. Soil testing will map your progress, using your results, you can monitor your carbon more accurately and the nutrient density in your soil will rise as carbon rises.” Enjoy the ongoing benefits of healthy soil, healthy plants and healthy stock.
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Pastoral Improvements is a proprietary forage seed development and marketing enterprise focused on serving farmers best interests in feed production. Our dedicated team will help you to get the best solution for your farming situation. Connect with us today and we will work with you to work out the best solution for your pasture.