Biological Farming Explained
It is important to understand that biological farming is not new. Generations of farmers have successfully followed this farming method. They knew how to work the land and understood the process of harnessing nature. Biological farming today is a system that uses nature and science to build the quality of the soil with the understanding that healthy soil will be able to support healthy crops and livestock. It takes advantage of natural processes, which promote good soil, healthy crops, and healthy animals.
These natural processes include: crop rotations; best tillage methods; growing green manures; proper livestock manure use; reducing toxins; promoting soil life, and balancing the soil's minerals. These terms mean using natural systems to improve soil structure; control weeds, pests, and diseases, and improve crop quality.
Soil that is healthy contains a balance between the organic particles that serve as plant food and the living micro-organisms like bacteria, fungi, algae and the larger ones like earthworms. These organisms process and decompose the inert mineral and organic materials, thereby feeding the plants. An optimally productive soil contains a perfect balance of inorganic minerals, organic (carbon-based) materials, and living organisms, all contained within a physical structure that absorbs and holds water to facilitate natural chemical reactions that feed plants perfectly.
Excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides can upset this balance in the soil, the exact opposite of what is required.
Skilled biological farmers learn how to grow and make a lot of their own fertilizers, using animal and green manures. They learn what fertilizers work best for their farm and which are environmentally-safe. They use farming practices that encourage beneficial organisms living in the soil. In some cases, chemical inputs are used but some fertilizers promote life, others don’t. Beneficial fertilizers are naturally derived are applied to restore balance to the soil chemistry.
Biological farming also makes economic sense. The input costs of fertilizers are reduced and the use of pesticides is greatly reduced (or eliminated) as the healthier plants are more disease and pest resistant.
The biological approach to farming yields soil that is healthy and able to support healthy crops. These crops are nutrient dense – meaning that they contain higher concentrations of plant sugars, minerals and amino acids and therefore have a higher nutritional value. They also exhibit other beneficial traits such as a longer shelf life.
Biological farming is by no means the easiest method of farming but the results are worth it and following a biological approach means that Nature will always be there to lend a hand.