Big Bushels

Are bushels really king?

That might seem like a provocative question, but increasingly I hear my farm customers expressing some variation on the same sentiment. What these farmers are concluding – correctly in my opinion – is that maximizing production at all costs isn’t always the best strategy for a farm.

For a farm, cost effective bushels are really what’s most important. By raising the most cost-effective bushel of wheat, canola or soybeans, these farmers know they’re making their farm more economically sustainable, and at the same time they’re finding that when they make these choices in their farm management, they’re finding other benefits.

Their crops are more resilient to less-than-ideal conditions and produce better than the neighbours’. They may find they get equal or better production from a more cost-effective nutrient package, that overall weed pressure is lower and that soil-related issues like salinity occur less often. It even pays some nice environmental benefits like less nutrient runoff.

What are they doing differently? In the most simple terms, they’re embracing the complexity of their farms and breaking out of the ‘black box’ that the traditional view of agriculture has placed them in, where they use technology, but don’t really understand it. Rather than blindly relying on macronutrient inputs and treating their soil as a sterile growth medium, they strive to understand that each square inch of ground contains a complicated and productive soil biota, too small for the naked eye to see, but containing the very essence of that soil.

Instead of ignoring that teeming life, they instead endeavor to understand it, to foster it, and to put it to work. They learn what beneficial bacteria, fungus and other organisms can do to make nutrients more readily available to plants, how they transport these nutrients to the roots and exchange them for plant carbon in a symbiotic relationship that is as old as plants themselves. And most crucially, they learn what they can do to foster these relationships and improve them.

Thirty years ago I founded BioAgronics to help farmers in this effort, and in that time I’ve come to appreciate and understand the importance of customized soil solutions. In a one-size-fits all world, the subtle but important nuances of a field, that any farmer knows so well, are lost. It’s only by looking closely at each field, by truly understanding what you have to work with, that you can find a better way of farming.

That’s our promise at BioAgronics – a better way of thinking about agriculture, one that takes you outside your black box and gives you the knowledge you need to make better decisions that support a natural and productive way of farming, founded on sound biology and good management.

Our decades of experience in this field make us the perfect partner for any farm that is looking for a better way.

-Ed Mayer, President