How do I improve soil health on my farm?
You can build soil health on your farm by a adopting a biological farming system.
“Biological farming” is an integration of soil nutrient balancing, correct crop nutrition and a strong focus on soil biology management – it is a system. These benefits will start to be realized on your farm within two growing seasons, depending on the level of implementation intensity. No two fields are the same, so the system must be adapted to the suit each specific situation.
Our focus is to offer our customers a complete range of professional soil and crop nutrient management services which will enable you to make this highly profitable transition a success.
Professional soil testing services
We offer you expert soil analytical services which cover the complete range of the most important soil fertility parameters and nutrients including soil pH, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulphur, iron, manganese, zinc, copper and boron. We determine the level for each parameter, quickly identifying deficiencies and toxicities in your soils. This must be the first step in the whole program, as without this essential soil chemistry information, there is no basis for developing your soil management program.
Recommendations on how to re-mineralize your farm soils
Using our lab results from each field samples you send us, we calculate and give you the recommendations on the exact amounts of each products that is needed to re-balance your soils which will include rates of lime, phosphate and gypsum for example, which are all very effective soil fertility correction inputs. Calcium and phosphorus are critical components of the soil balancing process. These applications rates can be spread over several years, according to your budget.
We develop a balanced crop fertilizer program
Using your crop yield target and your soil test results, we will recommend a balanced fertilizer and foliar feed program which will supply the nutrients required for maximum yields. These program work best on soils that are well balanced and biologically active, as there is no lock up the nutrients. We also use leaf analysis to inform of us the crop nutrition status, and this also gives us allot of information about how well the soil biology and crop feeding program is working (i.e. root health and nutrient availability).
We design the optimum Foliar Feeding Program for your crops
For higher input systems we advise on the use of special foliar feeds for boosting leaf production of sugars and supplying nutrients directly to the crop. In a well mineralized crop, up to 30% of sugars produced through photosynthesis are moved to the roots and feed the root surface dwelling microbes, boosting soil nutrient supply to the crop (especially important for free living nitrogen fixing bacteria, which can supply all your nitrogen needs). This part of the system only works effectively when soils are already balanced with calcium and when the crop is adequate in boron – boron allows for sugar translocation to feed these root dwelling microbes.
Advice on how to build your soil humus levels and diversify your soil biology
Our advisory services will show you how to build a soil with high levels humus and diverse biology. We promote reduced tillage, cover crops, green manure crops, nitrogen fixing rotation crops, composts and microbial inoculants. Like all organisms, soil microbes are sensitive to environmental conditions. In order to build and allow your soil microbes to thrive you need to focus on managing your soil oxygen levels, soil moisture, food availability (nutrition) and general comfort (soil structure, tillage etc ) – this is key in the biological farming approach. You will find that putting microbial inoculants (“silver bullets”) into a poorly balanced soil will not show results, as the environment will not allow them to survive - this is a waste of your money. You need to look at the basics of soil balancing first.
Advice on how to feed & activate your soil biology
We will advise you on how to activate your soil biology - this is what turns your soil “on”. A well balanced soil with a fully operating microbial population is the ultimate goal. Microbes are dependent on calcium and therefore optimum soil calcium levels are critical component of this system. Microbes require carbon as their primary food source so building humus (organic carbon) through good stubble and residue management is critical. Soluble carbon sources can also be applied to soils as an immediate source of food for the microbes. Low organic matter soils cannot sustain adequate levels of biology, which reduces nutrient uptake and fertilizer efficiency.
Currently, our farming systems relay heavily on chemical inputs of fertilizers and pesticides for high yielding crops. As the prices of these inputs continue to rise with increasing oil prices, many are asking how they will continue to farm profitably in the future.
Building healthy soils, through adopting our biological farming systems approach, based on re-mineralizing and improving the biology of our soils, will reduce your reliance on these increasingly expensive inputs, and will result in a highly sustainable and profitable farming operation.
For more information please contact us through:
Crop Nutrition Laboratory Services Ltd.
Off Limuru Road, Limuru, Kenya
Telephone +254 (0) 711094444, + 254 (0) 720 839 933